Saturday, October 21, 2006

From the NewsRoom

Oh Happy Day!

If Tucker Carlson has been fired, he doesn't know it yet. The error-prone insult bloggers over at Jossip reported today that the formerly bow-tied and currently open-collared conservative pundit with a struggling weeknight shoutfest on MSNBC has been shitcanned as of today (FTLive, meanwhile, reported that Carlson's husky-voiced colleague Rita Cosby is also being axed). Eat the Press poured some cold water on the story by e-mailing MSNBC general manager Dan Abrams, who gave a not-entirely-confidence-inspiring reply: "We have made no decisions about any possible programming changes."

Carlson, reached by Radar just as he was reading the Jossip item, attempted to douse the thing: "It's bullshit. It's total bullshit. I talked to Abrams last night. I've got another year on my contract. That's my comment: Bullshit." Carlson said there were no plans to change the show or his role at MSNBC, and hinted at a big get he has coming up. The news, or non-news, depending on who's right, comes on the heels of yesterday's announcement of massive layoffs at NBC News. NBC plans to eliminate roughly 220 news positions, and MSNBC is expected to be hit hard. (Radar)

Paula Zahn: Change in the Air?

While NBC staffers are still reeling from the hatchet job issued by Jeff Zucker yesterday, we're told it's not all crystal chyrons and teleprompter rainbows at CNN — Time Warner doesn't want to be left out of the hit parade.

Sources tell us that the Atlanta-based cable news network is laying the groundwork to remove .. wait for it, wait for it .. Paula Zahn. The Paula Zahn Now anchor, who has been with the network since 2001 (originally heading American Morning), is barely holding her own against MSNBC's Keith Olbermann in recent weeks. At least that's the excuse CNN will likely hint at if these rumors come to fruition.

Don't get too excited: Zahn isn't departing yet. We're told she's got just under a year left on her contract. But one insider tells us CNN is using its election coverage to quietly phase Zahn out. One source points us to the gameplan put in place to phase Paula out:

Paula is giving up her 8-9pm broadcast next week for a week-long Broken Government series. When that wraps, she still won't have her own show: She'll be moving in with Wolf Blitzer to co-anchor a two-hour primetime version of The Situation Room, airing 7-9pm from Oct. 30 to Nov. 3. And when CNN shifts to "all elections, all the time" for the three days leading up to the Nov. 7 vote, Zahn will be all but invisible, merely "joining" Blitzer, Lou Dobbs, and Anderson Cooper while they man anchor duties.

CNN, meanwhile, has dutifully rebuffed these rumors. Spokeswoman Christa Robinson insists these rumors are "ridiculous," adding: "Paula is a co-anchor on election night and there are no changes to her role after that." So she's not leaving her primetime show? "No."

Though, is that a "no" like the "no" given by MSNBC when asked if Tucker Carlson and Rita Cosby are leaving? We'll surely find out, sometime between now and after Karl Rove's mid-term election surrise. (Jossip)

Ratings Continue to be Inconsistent

Here is a smattering of ratings from the last week and a half. The John Mark Karr story garnered high ratings for both Larry King and Anderson Cooper. The ratings for the 18th and 19th, when the show broadcast Michael Ware's report, saw a significant decline in ratings. Those who blogged that CNN broadcast the tape all in an effort to spike ratings are out of their mind. CNN lost money airing that tape. Viewers decline, advertising prices fall and CNN has to ask less for a commercial spot during the show.

What Will Anderson Do? No More Seamenship for him or us...

TOKYO, Oct. 20 (AP) — The popular video-sharing site YouTube deleted nearly 30,000 files after a Japanese entertainment group complained of copyright infringement.

An official with the group — the Japan Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers — said Friday that the organization had found 29,549 video clips like television shows, music videos and movies posted on YouTube’s site without permission.

The official, Fumiyuki Asakura, said YouTube quickly complied with the request to remove the copyright materials, made on behalf of 23 Japanese TV stations and entertainment companies.

Most videos posted on YouTube are homemade, but the site also features copyright material posted by individuals. YouTube’s policy is to remove such clips after it receives complaints, though some have suggested that the start-up could eventually be sued, especially with Google about to buy it for $1.65 billion in stock.

Mr. Asakura said the entertainment industry group might ask YouTube to introduce a preliminary screening process to prevent copyright clips from being posted.

YouTube has been negotiating with leading copyright holders and has reached agreement with several letting the Web site post copyright music videos and other content in exchange for sharing ad revenue.

The company agreed to deploy an audio-signature technology that can spot a low-quality copy of a licensed clip. YouTube would have to substitute an approved version or remove the material.

YouTube has licensing deals with the CBS Corporation and three major recording companies — the Warner Music Group, Vivendi’s Universal Music Group and Sony BMG Music Entertainment, which is a joint venture between Sony and Bertelsmann.

Since YouTube started in February 2005, the company has blossomed, now showing more than 100 million video clips a day. Its worldwide audience was 72.1 million by August, up 2.8 million from a year earlier, according to comScore Media Metrix.

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Don't think for me. Don't assume what I want to hear or read. Give me facts. Give me reasons. But not yours. Bring me debate. Enlighten me. Today, accountability is masked behind anonymity; bylines are hidden by zeros and ones. Everyone publishes; everyone is "in the know." Ethics are non-existent. Speculation is king. The truth is masked and a hostage. Empowered by our minds, WE ARE THE FREAKSPEAKERS!


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