Thursday, July 17, 2008

Media Notebook (July 17, 2008)

Collected and Edited by Rick Kaempfer

Highlights and links to the big stories in the news this week about the media. This column appears twice a week at MEDIA NOTEBOOK

Departing Tribune Editor: "It's a Complicated Time"
(Editor & Publisher) Joe Strupp writes: "Chicago Tribune Editor Ann Marie Lipinski says her decision to leave the job she has had for seven years -- and the paper where she has worked for 30 -- 'had been building' for at least several months. She told E&P last night that the latest round of planned layoffs (expected to cut 80 newsroom positions) and a decision to reduce news pages did not directly trigger her decision announced Monday. 'There is no one moment, no one day,' she said. 'It has been a growing desire to do something different.' Lipinski, 52, says she made the decision last Wednesday, then informing Tribune Publishing Executive Vice President Bob Gremillion that she would depart. Asked how much of her decision had been forced by Tribune officials, she declared: 'zero pushing, quite the contrary. They had hoped this would turn out differently. I have never had anything but support and admiration and a desire for me to stay.'"
The Beachwood Reporter had the very best coverage of her departure with lots of inside scoops.

Larry King signs deal to write autobiography

(Variety) Sam Thielman writes: "Larry King will tell all, again: Weinstein Books will publish the oft-chronicled 74-year-old interviewer's autobiography 'What Am I Doing Here?' on Father's Day 2009. The book, which will distributed by Hachette, will be written with assistance from Esquire writer Cal Fussman. King spoke highly of the pub and said that his "life story could not be in better hands."
Everyone in the business has a Larry King story, including me

SNL's Poehler lined up for "Office" spinoff
(TV Week) Joseph Adalian writes: "'Saturday Night Live' regular Amy Poehler is in advance negotiations with NBC to star in the network's upcoming spinoff of 'The Office,' according to network and talent agency sources. Creator Greg Daniels has been keeping details of his new series under wraps. So far, he and NBC have only confirmed the casting of Aziz Ansari in what's believed to a relatively minor role on the show. If Ms. Poehler finalizes a deal for the show, she will join SNL alum Tina Fey on NBC's Thursday night lineup. Ms. Fey, who stars in NBC's '30 Rock,' teamed with Ms. Poehler for the spring feature hit 'Baby Mama.' 'The Office' spinoff is scheduled to join NBC's Thursday roster in February, following a post-Super Bowl premiere. Ms. Poehler's departure from Saturday Night Live has been the subject of industry speculation for several months now. In addition to co-anchoring "Update," Ms. Poehler's best known character on SNL in recent months has been that of Hillary Rodham Clinton."


Media Moguls are meeting in Idaho again

(Reuters) One of the comments I get from readers of my novel "$everance" is: "It's a little unbelievable that these fiercely competitive media moguls that hate each other's guts would gather to discuss their business every year." But it's not a figment of my imagination. This actually happens every single year, and the topics discussed behind closed doors used to be stricly off the record. The last few years, however, as the new media companies gained power, and the old media companies declined, they have been talking to the reporters who gather outside the meetings. The link above is from Reuters. This year one of the topics of discussion appears to be--who will be the next President. The moguls' choice according to this article? Barack Obama.

High Wattage at Sun Valley, But No Deals
(NY Times) David Carr is there this week, and he writes: "There are a few givens at Allen & Company’s rarefied annual summit for media moguls in Sun Valley, Idaho. Titans arrive in a conga line of private jets, attend some gold-plated panels followed by cocktails, and occasionally head out to the paths of the Sun Valley Resort for a little speed-dating. The guest list is always incandescent — hey, there’s Bill Gates! Tony Blair! Rupert Murdoch! — and the air is thick with rumors of deals."


Mike Huckabee in talks for own Fox show
(Politico) Kenneth P. Vogel writes: "Less than one month after signing on as a Fox News commentator, Mike Huckabee is working aggressively to expand his media presence. This week, Huckabee is meeting with Fox officials about plans to host his own show on the network. Plus, he’s subbing for Paul Harvey on ABC Radio Network and appearing on a number of existing Fox shows. A former Arkansas governor who upended the Republican presidential race with his upset victory in the Iowa caucuses, Huckabee continued campaigning for the nomination after it became mathematically impossible for him to catch John McCain in the delegate race. That prompted speculation that Huckabee was more interested in boosting his profile than in a future in politics, though his name is still bandied about as a possible running mate for McCain. Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister, worked in local radio as a teenager. And, on the campaign trail, he won raves for his quick wit and folksy delivery."

Fox News defends hiring Karl Rove as analyst
(Broadcasting & Cable) Marissa Guthrie writes: "The messy debate about media bias that has permeated coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign was given a thorough -- and, at times, combative -- airing at a Television Critics Association Q&A with Fox News Channel personalities Monday. Appearing with Karl Rove and Howard Wolfson -- former advisor to Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and the network’s newest liberal voice -- Fox News host Chris Wallace took critics to task for repeatedly questioning Karl Rove’s credibility for refusing a subpoena by a House Committee investigating Rove’s role in the conviction of former Alabama governor Don Siegelman on bribery, conspiracy and mail fraud. 'I’m struck by what I think is a double standard in the questions that particularly Karl is being asked here,' Wallace said. 'I don’t understand why it is that if Congress and the White House are having a fight over executive power, that should any way constrain an independent news organization’s decision about whom to have on its payroll. I question whether if it were a conservative Congress that had subpoenaed James Carville, let's say, whether you’d be asking CNN why they’re [employing] James Carville.'"

Brit Hume to step down after election
(NY Times) Brian Stelter writes: "Brit Hume, the pre-eminent political anchor on the Fox News Channel, intends to step down from his nightly newscast after the presidential election, three people close to him said this week. Mr. Hume, 65, has expressed an interest in 'reducing his role' but will likely remain with Fox News as a panelist on 'Fox News Sunday,' two of the people said. The people requested anonymity due to the sensitive nature of his contract negotiations, which are ongoing. Mr. Hume’s departure from 'Special Report' would represent one of the most dramatic changes to Fox’s powerhouse schedule since the channel’s inception nearly 12 years ago."


Tony Snow dies at 53
(Washington Post) Howard Kurtz writes: "Snow, who died Saturday at 53, had the knack of making people like him, even those he would slap around as a commentator, television host or presidential press secretary. He once told CNN's Ed Henry to 'zip it' during a tense exchange over the war, but would later flash that smile and let you know he could separate the personal from the political. CBS's Jim Axelrod had a phrase for it, saying Snow knew how to play the "affability card."

Obama slams New Yorker portrayal
(Politico) Mike Allen writes: "The Obama campaign is condemning as 'tasteless and offensive' a New Yorker magazine cover that depicts Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in a turban, fist-bumping his gun-slinging wife. An American flag burns in their fireplace. The New Yorker says it's satire. It certainly will be candy for cable news.”

How Joe Scarborough transformed himself into liberals favorite talk show host
(New York Magazine) Despite his complaints about the hours, Scarborough lobbied hard for this job, which opened up in April 2007 when Don Imus made his ill-advised foray into color commentary of women’s college basketball. 'Not to dance on anyone’s grave,' says Scarborough, 'but the second I heard about Imus, I told my wife, ‘Honey, it’s gonna be a busy weekend.’  For the previous four years, he had been unmemorably hosting Scarborough Country, an evening show on MSNBC in which he came off as a B-team O’Reilly impersonator. But he’d always been convinced the format was the problem. 'All of my executive producers had always told me the same thing: ‘We’ve got to get you off the prompter more—you’re best when you’re just talking off the top of your head,’  he says. Imus’s morning slot seemed like the perfect opportunity."


Is Paul Harvey’s show just quietly fading away?
( Tom Taylor writes: "It’s been nearly 2-1/2 months since the death of his beloved wife and professional colleague Angel. I believe Paul was just recovering from his own medical situation and preparing to come back to the mic when that sad event hit him on May 3. Since then – the Harvey clan’s been very quiet. While Ron Chapman seems happy as a clam, doing the fill-ins for old friend Farid Suleman at Citadel and ABC Radio Networks. Some affiliates suspect things are just going to go on and on…toward the horizon. That depends on Paul’s own health, state of mind – and, from listening to recent recorded commercials for Bose and others – the condition of his peerless vocal instrument. You can find theories of all kinds on the News/Talk board of, including the prediction from talk consultant Holland Cooke that Harvey will return for one last goodbye. From my own chats with folks at ABC over the years, they know there’s not a “next Paul Harvey”

WLS changing lanes
(Chicago Sun Times) Robert Feder writes: "In what's being billed as a momentous alliance among Chicago radio stations, Clear Channel Radio's traffic division has signed up two local outlets owned by Citadel Broadcasting. Starting Oct. 1, Total Traffic Network will provide traffic to Citadel's news/talk WLS-AM (890) and oldies WLS-FM (94.7). The two stations have been clients of Metro Networks/ Shadow Broadcast Services for three decades. 'It's a great deal and a great partnership for both of us,' said Mike Fowler, president and general manager of WLS, who made the agreement with Earl Jones, president and market manager of Clear Channel Radio Chicago. In addition to serving Clear Channel's stations here, Total Traffic Network also reports for Univision Radio Chicago and Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32."

Chicago Radio Spotlight interview with Cisco Cotto
(Chicago Radio Spotlight) Last weekend I spoke with Cisco Cotto, who along with Big John Howell, co-hosts the morning show at WIND-AM 560. We talked about his reporting days, conservative vs. liberal talk radio, and the origin of his nickname "The Reverend." Coming this weekend; an interview with WERV Production Director Jimmy "Mac" McInerney.