Archive Date 2015-04-06


DARK DAYS AHEAD

Storm clouds are gathering over The
Weather Channel.

The network is facing a major
threat to its core business…the fees it collects from pay-TV
providers that carry its channel. As more consumers "cut the
cord," or drop their pay-TV subscriptions, cable, and
satellite providers are increasingly looking for ways to reduce
their hefty programming expenses?either by paying less for
channels or dropping those that they feel their viewers can live
without.

Media companies with bundles
anchored by powerful channels?Walt Disney Co. with
ESPN
and Time Warner Inc. with TNT, for example?can
negotiate in a way Weather Channel cannot.

Verizon Communications Inc.
dropped the Weather Channel last month from its FiOS
TV service, which reaches 5.6 million households, citing
customers growing use of online sources and apps to look up
weather information.

Meanwhile, another battle is
looming with satellite provider Dish Network Corp. The Dish
carriage contract expires in coming months and the Weather
Channels
backers are preparing for the possibility of being
dropped by Dish, which has about 14 million subscribers, reports
The Wall Street Journal
.

AccuWeather TV, which
replaced TWC on FiOS cable, markets itself as
"all weather, all the time," a direct jab at The
Weather Channels
much-criticized use of reality programming.
A full 47% of TWCs schedule is filled with "original
programming." And ratings have sagged.
Prime-time viewership fell 22% between 2011 and 2014 to
225,000, according to Nielsen.

As a result, the financial
outlook for parent company Weather Co. is deteriorating. Moodys
Investors Service
on Friday
downgraded the company?s
debt, saying it isnt perceived by cable and satellite companies
as a "must have" channel, and could therefore be dropped
by more providers or face cuts in carriage fees.

All of this is raining on the
ability of the companys owners?a consortium that includes
private-equity firms Bain Capital LLC and Blackstone
Group LP,
and Comcast Corp.?s NBCUniversal?to exit
the roughly $3.5 billion investment they made when they purchased Weather
Co
. in 2008.

<<<>>>

David Zaslav, the CEO of Discovery
Communications (Discovery Channel, American Heroes Channel, TLC,
Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery, Velocity)
, received $156.1
million in compensation last year
. And you wonder why your
cable bill is so high.

<<<>>>

WEATHER CONCIERGE

When last we heard from John
Bolaris
, the former chief meteorologist at Fox-owned WTXF-29
in Philadelphia (Market #4) was vigorously denying court testimony
that he had crapped his drawers while being fleeced by two Eastern
European hotties in Miami. No, wait. That was nearly
three years ago. When LAST
we heard from Bolaris
, he had gotten zapped with a stun
gun after he argued with a taxi driver in Montauk, NY.

No matter. The indefatigable
weatherman is now offering a new "weather concierge"
service. For the low, low price of $500 a month (or $1,500 for the
"entire summer"), Bolaris will contact you via "phone, email and text" seven days
a week at a time you designate.

There are only 20 spots available
for this offer, so act fast. You
can sign up on his Weather Savior website
.

<<<>>>

ESCORTED OUT

Rich Thomas, a
meteorologist for nearly 34 years at Raycoms hometown WSFA-12-NBC
in Montgomery (Market #121), was fired Friday for what colleagues
described as "continuing drug and alcohol problems."

By Friday afternoon, his online
bio, Facebook, and Twitter accounts had been
deleted, and the
station posted a notice
, saying, "We want to thank Rich
for his 33 years of service to WSFA and our viewers. We
wish Rich the very best in his future endeavors."

Thomas joined the station in 1981
as the weekend weather guesser and was promoted to chief
meteorologist two years later.

<<<>>>

Andrew Lack starts
his new job today
as chairman of NBC News…although
hes been a regular presence at 30 Rock for weeks. Theres plenty
of speculation about his first order of business, but we suspect
it will have more to do with straightening out MSNBC than
bringing Brian Williams back to "Nightly
News."

<<<>>>

Within hours after merging with
the Journal Broadcast Group, the E.W. Scripps Company
changed
general managers
at WXYZ-7-ABC in Detroit (Market #11),
WTVF-5-CBS in Nashville (Market #29), and WPTV-5-NBC in
Palm Beach (Market #38).

<<<>>>

MEMORIAL STIFF-ARM

Lois Colagrossi, the
mother of veteran New York reporter Lisa Colagrossi, had an
emotional showdown with WABC News Director Camille
Edwards
at Lisas memorial on March 23. Colagrossi
died of a brain aneurism while on assignment Friday, March 20.

In
the world according to Page Six
, Edwards
approached Lois to offer her condolences, but the elder Colagrossi
refused her embrace, saying, "You are the reason I am
standing in this church."

According to multiple sources at
the memorial, Edwards responded by describing what a hard
worker Lisa was, and how everyone at the station was proud
of her work ethic. But Lisas mother added, "I am
talking about how you worked my daughter to death." Edwards
was discreetly ushered away.

The Post describes Edwards
(left) as "a bully" who "will target people she doesnt
like, most often women." Colleagues said Edwards put Colagrossi
under a "tremendous amount" of pressure. She worked the
overnight shift, commuting to work at 2 a.m. and staying through
the afternoon to work on stories.

The Colagrossi family
disputed the Post account. "We are extremely
thankful and blessed by all the support from Camille and
the entire ABC family. Lisa always chose to work the
overnight shift because it allowed her to spend the most time with
her family."

WABC added, "Camille
is a tireless and compassionate champion for everyone who works
here. Under her watch, we?re fortunate to have more women in
leadership positions than ever before."

Edwards was hired in July
2012 from NBC-owned WRC-4 in DC (Market #8). Before
that, she was news director at NBC-owned WMAQ-5 in
Chicago (Market #3) from 2003-2008.

<<<>>>

Peter Neumann, the
longtime news director at Granite/Malaras "Indiana
News Center"
duopoly WISE-33-NBC and
WPTA-21-ABC
in Ft. Wayne (Market #111), will retire at the end
of May, just about the time the stations are scheduled to be
handed over to new owner Quincy Newspapers.

<<<>>>

Julie Weindel, the
assistant news director for the past six months at Bonten
Medias KECI-13-NBC, KTVM-6-NBC,
and KCFW-9-NBC (known
collectively as "NBC Montana") in Missoula, MT
(Market #165), has been promoted to news director. 

She replaces Chris
Grogan
, who left to become assistant ND at Sinclairs
WSYX-6-ABC
and WTTE-28-Fox in Columbus (Market #32).

<<<>>>

Charles Bosworth, a former
reporter and anchor in Columbus, New Orleans, and Pittsburgh, died
April 2
at his home in New Orleans. He was 73.

<<<>>>

Tom Sinkovitz, a former
anchor at KRON-4-MyTV in San Francisco and KNTV-11-NBC
in San Jose (Market #6), has been quietly
fighting stage 4 lung cancer
.

<<<>>>

John Brown, who anchors
mornings at Fox-owned WOFL-35 in Orlando (Market
#18), blacked out (during a commercial break) Thursday because of
a "toxic drug interaction" between his pain meds and
cold/allergy medication, coupled with dehydration and an empty
stomach.

"I was 5 seconds away from
the worst news blooper of all time!!!"
he explained on Facebook
.

<<<>>>

Mike Lyons, a reporter,
photographer, sports producer, sports anchor, and assignment
editor for nearly 40 years at Gannetts First Coast duopoly
WTLV-12-NBC
and WJXX-25-ABC in Jacksonville (Market
#48), retired
on Friday
.

<<<>>>

Wisconsins upset of
previously undefeated Kentucky on Saturday was the highest-rated
college basketball game in cable TV history
, averaging 22.6
million viewers on TBS.

In fact, there were three
versions of Saturdays coverage
. A fair and balanced one on TBS…and
one each for Wisconsin and Kentucky homers on TNT
and TruTV.

Kentucky lost all three
versions.

<<<>>>

OPTIMISTIC PROPOSAL

A Michigan State
basketball fan interrupted CBS Sports reporter Allie
LaForce
on Saturday to propose marriage. LaForce, who
is already married, declined the offer.

<<<>>>

Brad
Steinke
, an "Emmy award-winning"
anchor/host at Fox Sports Arizona, starts today as a sports
reporter at Sinclairs WKRC-12-CBS in Cincinnati (Market
#35).

<<<>>>

A broken water line
disrupted newscasts
Friday at Gannetts
WGRZ-2-NBC
in Buffalo (Market #52).

<<<>>>

Dont get your Surly Editor? started
on all
the PC hooey surrounding
Chris Wallaces
"offensive comment" about singer Kelly Clarksons
weight.

<<<>>>

NBCs "Saturday Night
Live"
did a skit about CNNs silly animated news
"re-enactments."

<<<>>>

Jim Boulden, a
London-based business correspondent for CNN, has
left the network
.

<<<>>>

Cameron Mathison, a former
actor on the ABC soap "All My Children"
in the recurring role of Ryan Lavery, has been hired as a correspondent
and weekend anchor
of CBSs "Entertainment
Tonight."
He will also fill-in anchor on weeknights.

<<<>>>

A seven-year-old boy beat
news anchor David Kumbroch
at chess, and WHNT-19-CBS
in Huntsville (Market #79) covered it as BREAKING NEWS.

<<<>>>

BIGGER THAN LIFE

Like the cockroach, the TV news
anchorman has "outlasted countless changes in the ecosystem
around him. 

And he has done so despite being a ridiculous, if
ingenious, American invention since his birth," says
Frank Rich in a lengthy New York Magazine article

that deconstructs the institution and the people behind it.

"The network anchors roots
are not in journalism but in the native cultural tradition
apotheosized" in the Wizard of Oz. "Anchors have
often been fronts for those pulling the strings behind the
curtain: governments and sponsors, not to mention those who
actually do the work of reporting the news."

"With their larger-than-life
heads looming into our living rooms, the anchors have been
brilliant at selling the conceit that a resonant voice, an
avuncular temperament, a glitzy, thronelike set, and the illusion
of omniscience could augment the audiences brains, hearts, and
courage (at one point, a Dan Rather sign-off) as it tries
to navigate a treacherous world. Just dont look behind the
curtain."

Walter Cronkite and
Brian Williams
were college dropouts; Peter Jennings
didnt finish high school. It was good looks that helped propel Jennings
to the anchor chair at ABC at the preposterous age of 26 in
1965.

Rich points to Roone
Arledges
decision in 1976 to lure Barbara Walters away
from NBC with a million-dollar salary to serve as the first
female (co-)anchor of the evening news while continuing as a
celebrity interviewer. "Suddenly anchors became stars of
show-business magnitude, as measured by their ballooning
seven-figure salaries and the flashiness of their personal
publicity. The gap in compensation between the anchor and
correspondents in the field soon widened so much at all three
networks that anchoring was incentivized over reporting the
news." 

Richard Salant, the
president of CBS News, condemned Arledges addition
of Walters to the evening news as a "minstrel
show." But the blending of news and entertainment was nothing
new. Only the scale had been ramped up.

And then theres David Muir,
nicknamed "Ken Dahl" by comedian Bill Maher.
"Appointed at age 40, he is the youngest evening-news anchor
in half a century. But both his elevation and the Twitter-feed-paced
broadcast he is anchoring are ABCs open acknowledgments,
if any were needed, that the anchorman as weve known him since
the Cronkite era is done."

Muirs "No World News
Tonight"
takes the network anchors role back full circle
to its origins ? a smooth newscaster hopscotching the world for
headlines"…and interesting cat videos.

<<<>>>

MRS.
Bs GRAMMAR YAMMER


"A PBS mind in a Twitter world."

One of our Minnesota newsies asks
Mrs. B how to form the possessive case of names that end in
"s."

Add an apostrophe plus an
"s." Take the name James, for example.

~Jamess brother Jim is our
nightside assignment editor.

~Mike Jamess website is called
NewsBlues.com.

Its that simple. Just make sure
you pronounce both (or all) of the syllables. Jamess is
pronounced JAMES-is.

When a singular name ends in a
silent "s," you still add an apostrophe plus an
"s."

~Arkansass governor (pronounced
"Arkansaws" governor)

~Illinoiss universities
(pronounced "Illi-NOISE" universities, even though
Illinois is pronounced "Illi-NOY")

Now lets look at plural names
that ends in "s." Walters is Mrs. Bs maiden name.
Thats the singular version. All seven of her family members would
be described as the Walterses. Thats the plural version of
Walters.

Heres the rule to make a plural
name that ends in "s" possessive: add ONLY an
apostrophe. So…

~The Walterses home at Bethany
College was a condemned sorority house.

And Mrs. B loved that, since
there was a mens dorm in the front yard.

 

 

More News from Monday, April 6, 2015