Archive Date 2015-01-14


GOLDEN PARACHUTE

Two
and a half years after being run off the reservation at NBCs
"Today"
show, Ann Curry has finally
negotiated her exit from NBC News, where she was being paid
$12 million a year to do practically nothing.

NBCUniversal has agreed
to fund Currys new independent production company
,
which will create scripted and non-scripted "content of
national and global importance." She will no longer have an
office at NBC News.

"This is about reaching for
the edge of the future in journalism, which we know is undergoing
an irrevocable transition," we are led to believe Curry
actually said in a statement
(probably written by NBC).
"I am excited about working to become a valuable link between
traditional media and what is to come." Stop laughing.

Curry
worked at NBC News for about 25 years and was a "Today"
show regular for about 15 years. In the middle of ratings
turmoil and internal drama, she left in June 2012. Since then, Curry
has been virtually invisible as an anchor-at-large for NBC.

"We?re proud to support Ann
in her new venture, and we look forward to more of her exceptional
storytelling," Patricia Fili-Krushel, chairwoman of NBCUniversal
News Group
, said
in a statement
.

Curry has held
"exploratory" meetings with Jeff Zucker about a
possible role at CNN, reports
Mediaite
.

<<<>>>

MASTER OF DARK ARTS

With
the possible exception of Fox News, no other media
organizations wages as aggressive a PR campaign, touts its
accomplishments as loudly, or takes as much pleasure in twisting
the knife into the competition as does ABC News

"In the petty, back-biting
world of television, that is, of course, a compliment," says
Politicos Dylan Byers
.

Ben
Sherwood
, president of the Disney/ABC Television Group,
is profiled
in New York Magazine as the man who engineered the media
blowback
against Matt Lauer, and painted him as the bad
guy in the 2012 replacement of Ann Curry on
"Today."

"In order to win the
morning, Sherwood was convinced that using the press to
pummel the competition?especially Matt Lauer, the
perceived heavy in the ouster of Ann Curry?was nearly as
important to ABC?s path to the championship as anything
it was putting on its own airwaves," writes
New Yorks Andrew Goldman
.

"In the summer of 2012,
according to a high-ranking ABC employee present in a
postshow meeting in the GMA production office, Sherwood
stood in front of the entire staff and told them what to expect as
the battle heated up. NBC will be coming at us in the
press with everything they have, Sherwood announced. But
dont worry. We are masters of the dark arts."

The article quotes a former ABC
executive describing Sherwoods regime as "management
at its worst, just ineptitude."

<<<>>>

WE ARE/NOT CHARLIE

The
French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on Tuesday unveiled
its new cover
(which quickly sold out), showing the bearded
prophet Muhammad shedding a tear and holding up a sign
saying, "I am Charlie." Above the cartoon on a
green background is the headline "All is forgiven."

While surviving staff members, at
an emotional news conference, described their choice of cover as a
show of forgiveness, most Muslims consider any depiction of their
prophet to be blasphemous. 

In the US, major
news outlets were split
on whether to show the cover. CNN,
NBC News,
and The New York Times did NOT
show it.

CBS News, Fox News, and
The Washington Post DID
show it. ABC only covers
news you can use.

<<<>>>

Ted Wayman, the veteran
former news anchor at CBS-owned WBZ-4 in Boston
(Market #7), was among
those called for possible jury duty
in the federal trial of Boston
Marathon
bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. (Wayman
was not selected.)

<<<>>>

Defending
himself in his fraud trial Tuesday, former Philly sports anchor Don
Tollefson
offered a new
layer to his legal strategy
: blaming other people.

He named seven people who bought
travel packages for a 2013 Super Bowl trip, claiming they
contributed to his financial undoing
by demanding to pick
their own hotels and flights to New Orleans. The trial is expected
to continue until at least Friday.

<<<>>>

BURYING THE N-WORD

Tom
Burlington
, a former reporter and weekend anchor at Fox-owned
WTXF-29 in Philadelphia (Market #4), is still waiting for
his day in court, nearly eight years after he was fired for using
the word "nigger" in a morning editorial meeting.

Burlington sued Fox
and its parent company, News Corp., in 2008, claiming
station management discriminated against him for using the N-word.

The dispute began in July 2007
when reporter Robin Taylor (who is white) used the "N-word"
phrase
while discussing a story about the NAACPs
Philadelphia Youth Council
symbolically burying the word
"nigger." She noted that participants at the burial said
the full word "at least a hundred times or more."

"Does
this mean we can finally say the word nigger?" Burlington
asked colleagues.

Nicole Wolfe (right),
a producer and one of three black staffers at the meeting,
exclaimed: "I cant believe you just said that!" Burlington
was suspended. Eight months later, he was dismissed at the end of
his contract.

His case has been bouncing around
the court system for years, and a federal
judge has ruled that the matter is finally ripe for trial
…or
maybe not. Fox immediately filed yet another appeal. 

Burlington now
sells real estate
. Wolfe executive
produces the weekend morning newscast
at WTXF.

<<<>>>

Chicago
traffic reporter Kelli Walker, whose contentious
relationship with WLS-890-AM morning radio host Bruce
Wolf
exploded in an on-air confrontation about race eight
weeks ago, has been forced out of the Cumulus Media
news/talk station, reports
Robert Feder
.

"Honestly, Ive never worked
in a more hostile environment in my life," said Walker.

<<<>>>

Radar
Online
has "eight unbelievable photos" of Steve
Krofts
"sleazy affair."

The eight pictures are virtually
identical
and show Kroft, wearing a trench coat and
carrying a heavy briefcase, standing about three feet away from
Manhattan attorney Lisan Goines, who is wearing a long
overcoat and carrying a large purse. 

What makes them unbelievable,
we do not know.

<<<>>>

ESPNs multi-million
dollar gamble on college football appears to have paid off. Its
coverage of Mondays inaugural College Football Playoff
National Championship
game between Ohio State and
Oregon
averaged 33,395,000 viewers and an 18.2 US household
rating, the largest audience and highest
rating in cable television history
.

<<<>>>

Babe
Laufenberg
, who played eight seasons in the NFL before
landing a sports anchor job at CBS-owned KTVT-11 in
Dallas (Market #5), will
sign off tonight at 10
, ending 17 years with the station. The
two sides could not agree on a new contract, which expired Jan. 1.

"There is a changing climate
and changing atmosphere in local television news," said Laufenberg.
He will continue as an analyst on Dallas Cowboys radio
broadcasts.

<<<>>>

NOLA SPORTS SWAP?

Fred
Hickman
, the former ESPN and CNN sports anchor
who has worked the past 3? years at Raycoms WVUE-8-Fox in
New Orleans (Market #51), will anchor his final show at the
station Thursday night. 

"I guess it was kind of a
mutual accord," he said. "With me, its just time to
kind of move on
. You will see me again. Im not at liberty to
say where."

Across
the street, Juan Kincaid, a young sports reporter and
weekend anchor, is leaving Gannetts (formerly Belos)
WWL-4-CBS. Some
believe the two departures are related
…that Hickman
is being replaced by the younger Kincaid.

"Ive had calls and text
messages over the last week and a half congratulating me," Kincaid
said. "And Im like, Congratulating me for what? I havent
done anything. Nothings been signed. Nothings been agreed upon.
Nobodys been meeting."

"It was time to move on
and figure out what to do next," he insisted. "I felt
like I had run my course here."

<<<>>>

Dennis
Bowman
, the longtime morning and noon meteorologist at CBS-owned
KDKA-2
in Pittsburgh (Market #21), will
officially retire April 17
, ending a 43-year career in TV. He
joined KDKA in 2005 after 16 years across the street at WPXI-11-NBC.

Bowman will turn 65 the
week of his retirement.

<<<>>>

Warner/Chappell Music
Production
, the company that owns news music companies 615
Music, Non-Stop Music,
and Groove Worx (formerly Groove
Addicts
) has acquired the music assets of Nashville-based Gari
Media Group
. With
the acquisition
, Warner/Chappell becomes the largest
provider of news music for local television in the U.S.

<<<>>>

MOTORBOATING 101

We
can thank the Urban Dictionary for helping us better
understand Allison Williams Sunday scene in HBOs
"Girls."

Motorboating
– "The placement of ones face, specifically the mouth, into
the area between a well-endowed womans breasts, followed by a
rapid shaking of the face in a side-to-side motion accompanied by
yelling. The resulting sound that is created sounds similar to an
outboard boat motor."

Sometimes your Surly Editor?
feels so very old.

<<<>>>

HLN debuted
a heavily modified version of "Morning Express"

yesterday by having host Robin Meade enter the empty old
studio before setting off on a quest to find her new home at CNN
Center
. Cue the "Mission Impossible" theme
music and silly acting.

<<<>>>

NO ACTING ALLOWED

While
network morning news shows, particularly ABCs "Good
Morning America,"
skew toward frothy news-you-can-use,
the shows lead anchor, George Stephanopoulos, resists the
frivolity.

"He did not want the
job," said one former ABC colleague. "I think it
was because hes a very serious guy. He covered politics. GMA
wasnt his style."

"I dont have to do anything
Im not comfortable with," Stephanopoulos
tells the Los Angeles Times
. "I
dont act. Im going to be myself. I have a role on that show, and
it doesnt serve me or the viewers to try to put me in a role that
doesnt fit."

He admits "managing the
emotional shifts" necessary during a typical "Good
Morning America"
show were a challenge for him at first.

"To learn how to let go and be
natural in an unnatural environment
takes practice," he
said. "Youre dealing with breaking news thats sometimes
tragic. Sometimes its news thats going to make people angry. And
then youre moving to stories that people laugh about or to
consumer stories."

How did he learn to master the
balancing act the job demands?

"Its simply to try to be
human," he said. "Not to act. Not to read. Not to
project any specific idea but to react to the stories in front of
you."

<<<>>>

BECOMING ZOEY

Los
Angeles Magazine

goes longform in profiling Bob Tur
, the legendary Los
Angeles helicopter pilot-reporter who famously covered the El Lay
riots and the O.J. Simpson slow-speed freeway chase.

Tur, now known as Zoey,
says he/she was born with a female brain and a male body. The
piece opens with Tur arriving at LAX from Thailand
last summer and confronting passport control with the dual
realities of her new identity and his old name.

"The
older white guy waved Zoey forward and opened her
well-thumbed passport to the page with the photo. It showed a
middle-aged man who looked a little like the agent himself?lean,
with thinning hair, a well-creased forehead, and a tight smile. To
the right of the two-by-two-inch image was the passport holder?s
name: Robert Tur."

"What have we been up to in
Thailand?" he asked with a smile.

"I had a sex change," Zoey
said.

How long had she been gone? Three
weeks, Zoey said.

"Can you do everything in
three weeks?" he asked, genuinely impressed.

"I did," said Zoey,
seeing no need to factor in the 16 months of physical and
emotional turmoil that had preceded the surgeries.

"Wow!" the agent said,
waving Zoey through. "Welcome home, miss."

<<<>>>

MRS.
Bs GRAMMAR YAMMER


"A PBS mind in a Twitter world."

Accept is a verb that means
to receive.

~The producer said she wouldnt accept the late package.

Except is usually a preposition meaning excluding.

~We got all the sound bites we need except for one from the
mayor.

Now for some other words that you might confuse.

Adapt means to adjust to or to become accustomed to.

~He has learned to adapt to the way our assignment desk
works.

Adopt means to take into ones family or to take as ones
own.

~The story on the family who adopted an Afghan orphan ran
long.

Adverse means unfavorable.

~In spite of adverse conditions, the live shot was close to
perfect.

Averse means opposed.

~The news director is averse to our each getting a
newspaper.

Advice (with a "c") is the noun that means
suggestions or counsel.

~Mrs. B offers advice to help you write and speak more
professionally.

Advise (with an "s") is the verb.

She advises you to spend some time reading newswriting
coach Merv Blocks columns at
http://www.mervinblock.com/.

 

 

More News from Wednesday, January 14, 2015