UPDATE, 2:33 PM: Al Jazeera says it has been facing the wrath of Egypt’s military government since President Mohammed Morsi was ousted last month. Now it’s fighting back — in the courts. The Qatar-based TV network says it is making legal moves in international courts against the Egyptian government for jailing its journalists, jamming its signals and shutting down its offices. An Egyptian court this month ordered Al Jazeera’s Cairo office to stop broadcasting, claiming it was jeopardizing national security by, among other things, airing Muslim Brotherhood protests. The network said in a statement that Egypt’s new regime is out to silence Al Jazeera and urged the UN to “ensure that freedom of expression and freedom of the press do not die in Egypt.”
PREVIOUS UPDATE, 3:58 PM: An Al Jazeera staffer told Reuters that at least five of his colleagues at the Mubasher Misr channel were arrested at the studio. The station was prevented from broadcasting from a pro-Mursi rally, and its crew there also was detained, Karim El-Assiuti said.
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‘Copper’ Will Make UK Debut Streaming On LoveFilm
LoveFilm has acquired UK rights to Cineflix series Copper. The series follows Vikings as the second to debut in the UK exclusively via the streaming service, bypassing traditional broadcasters. Netflix competitor LoveFilm will make the show available for streaming starting Friday. Tom Weston-Jones, Kyle Schmid and Anastasia Griffith star in the period police drama co-created by Tom Fontana and Will Rokos. Copper airs on BBC America in the U.S. Read More »
Al Jazeera America today announced its first four news anchors, including Richelle Carey, former weekday anchor for CNN’s HLN. Carey will join Jonathan Betz, Morgan Fogarty and Del Walters presenting live news throughout the day from Al Jazeera America’s studio in New York City. Betz is a former field… Read More »
It’s the possible beginning of the end for a media consultant’s lawsuit against Al Gore and Current TV. John Terenzio wants $5M from his suit alleging that he was instrumental in … Read More »
Al Jazeera America confirmed this morning it had signed a deal with former CNN star Soledad O’Brien to contribute to the network as “special correspondent.” O’Brien’s production company, Starfish Media Group will produce hourlong documentary specials for the cable network. “I look forward to beginning a relationship with Al Jazeera America, which has made a commitment to producing quality programming and pursuing underreported stories,” O’Brien said in the announcement, confirming speculation that started last week. As a correspondent, O’Brien will contribute short-form segments to the primetime current affairs mag America Tonight on the new network, which is funded by the government of Qatar.
O’Brien stepped down from CNN in March when network chief Jeff Zucker scrubbed her program Starting Point; he gave the time slot to Chris Cuomo’s New Day. At the time she left CNN, she formed Starfish Media, which, in addition to the production deal with Al Jazeera America, now also has a production deal with CNN, and development deals at HBO and National Geographic Channel. Read More »
Things got a little too warm when Al Gore took to the stage at the SXSW Interactive festival Saturday to talk about The Future — that is, his new book subtitled Six Drivers Of Global Change as well as … Read More »
John Short Joins Epic Pictures Group As VP Foreign Sales
John Short has been named VP international sales for Patrick Ewald and Shaked Berenson’s Epic Pictures Group. Ewald and Berenson will focus on focus on the company’s original productions, while Short will oversee day-to-day operations for foreign sales. Short is introducing Epic’s slate at the upcoming Filmart in Hong Kong March 18-21 and will attend the Cannes Market May 16-25. Epic’s Big Ass Spider! premieres March 11 at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas. Ewald and Berenson financed and produced the pic directed by Mike Mendez and starring Greg Grunberg. Read More »
Despite leaving Fox News last month, Sarah Palin is not joining Al Jazeera America as a talking head. She is, however ,certainly mocking a Washington Post report today incorrectly claiming she was. “Hey @washingtonpost, I’m having coffee with Elvis this week. He works at the Mocha Moose in Wasilla. #suziparkerscoops #idiotmedia,” the former GOP VP candidate wrote on Twitter today. Earlier in the day, the Post ran a seemingly unbelievable story by blogger Suzy Parker on its website saying Palin was heading to the new U.S. version of the Qatar-based network. Parker’s story cited a February 4 report on the Daily Currant as its source for Palin’s new gig. The story quoted the conservative former Alaska Governor as saying Al Jazeera “told me they reach millions of devoutly religious people who don’t watch CBS or CNN. That tells me they don’t have a liberal bias.” However, what the Post didn’t realize was the Currant is a news parody website and the original story was meant to be funny and not at all factual. Read More »
Al Gore defended his sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera in an appearance this morning on Today, saying he was forced to sell because of tough competition from conglomerates. He also denied any hypocrisy in the $500 million sale to Qatar-based Al Jazeera, which is … Read More »
Here’s episode 17 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman. This week, Deadline Executive Editor Lieberman and host David Bloom discuss the impacts of an important tax provision for Hollywood passed as part of this week’s fiscal cliff bill; what happens with Al Jazeera’s purchase of Current TV, especially after Time-Warner Cable dropped the channel; and a look at some of the big trends at next week’s Consumer Electronics Show, which Lieberman will be covering and for which he’ll host a panel on streaming TV.
Deadline Big Media Episode 17 (MP3 format)
Deadline Big Media Episode 17 (MP4A format) Read More »
Current TV was sold to Al Jazeera for about $500 million, two people with knowledge of the deal told Bloomberg. Gore and partners paid about $71 million in 2004 for the channel that became Current … Read More »
All eyes will be on the No. 2 cable company’s response to the channel that Al Jazeera plans to create from what’s left of Current TV: It could determine whether the Qatar-based news company’s surprising deal yesterday … Read More »
UPDATE, 4 PM: Current TV CEO Joel Hyatt just confirmed the sale in a memo to staffers. “Getting this transaction done was very difficult,” he writes. (Read the network’s official statement after the original break of the story.) Since Time Warner Cable would not consent to the sale “Current will no longer be carried on TWC. This is unfortunate, but I am confident that Al Jazeera America will earn significant additional carriage in the months and years ahead.” Time Warner Cable says that it is “removing the service as quickly as possible.” The loss of the No. 2 cable operator will hurt: Time Warner Cable has 12.2M video subscribers and Current reaches about 59M homes. Others also could follow Time Warner Cable’s lead as they look to prune their often bloated channel lineups. Al Jazeera has fought an uphill battle to win carriage on U.S. cable systems. Operators say it’s too expensive, and that there’s too little interest in the subjects it covers. Fans of the channel say it’s due to unreasonable fears that Al Jazeera’s content will be too controversial and possibly propagandistic. Al Jazeera fought back, and further infuriated cable execs, by live-streaming its English-language programming. Read More »