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Florida Judge Dismisses George Zimmerman’s Libel Suit Against NBC

By | Monday June 30, 2014 @ 8:02am PDT

Florida Judge Dismisses George Zimmerman’s Libel Suit Against NBCA  Florida judge has dismissed George Zimmerman‘s defamation lawsuit against NBCUniversal. Judge Debra Nelson said Zimmerman’s camp failed to prove NBC News acted with malice when it aired an edited version of his 911 call after shooting Trayvon Martin, according to press reports.

NBCUniversal LogoZimmerman filed the suit in December 2012, after NBC editors cut out portions of audio recordings of his 911 call, which made it sound as if he had volunteered the race of shooting victim Martin unsolicited; in the call, Zimmerman said “he looks black” in response to a question from the 911 dispatcher, asking, of Martin, “Is he black, white or Hispanic?”

“NBC News is gratified by the court’s dismissal of this lawsuit, which we have always believed to be without merit,” the network said this morning in a statement.

NBC News fired three producers over the incident, apologized, but insisted there was no intent to portray Zimmerman “unfairly.” Attorneys for NBC had argued the reports in question aired about a month after the shooting, by which time Zimmerman was a public figure; the judge agreed and said “actual malice” had to be proven, and was not.
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Dick Cheney’s TV News Tour On Iraq Is “Unseemly,” Bill Clinton Tells NBC’s ‘Meet The Press’: Video

Dick Cheney’s TV News Tour On Iraq Is “Unseemly,” Bill Clinton Tells NBC’s ‘Meet The Press’: VideoDick Cheney‘s been much in the news of late, as he continues his Obama Botched Iraq Tour on TV (and in print).  Megyn Kelly made headlines when Cheney tried out his “Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many” line on her FNC show, to which she responded: “Now, with almost a trillion dollars spent there, with 4,500 American lives lost there, what do you say to those who say you were wrong about so much at the expense of so many?” — throwing in a, “Time and time again, history has proven that you got it wrong in Iraq as well, sir” for good measure.

NBC News‘s Meet The Press hopes to pour a little more lighter fluid on the situation — and gin up ratings — with an interview airing Sunday, in which former President Bill Clinton dismisses the former VPOTUS’s comments about President Obama’s foreign policy as “unseemly.” More where that came from — watch here:

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As NBC News’ Matt Lauer & Chelsea Clinton Compete For Headlines, Clinton’s Ahead With Possible Return To First Daughter Status

By | Friday June 13, 2014 @ 4:11pm PDT

MattLauer__130326235800-e1364342305297-200x272LisaDeMoraesColumnThe same day NBC News announced it had re-upped Today show host Matt Lauer for another couple years, the news kinda got pushed aside by another report about NBC News — that it had paid Chelsea Clinton $600,000 a year as “special correspondent.”

As special correspondent since 2011, Clinton has: admired the vegetarianism of Stella and Linda McCartney, reflected on Judy Blume’s impact on her childhood, profiled a woman from Pine Bluff, AR who runs a program for some of that city’s poorest children, spoken to Paul McCartney about how cool it is to be Stella’s dad, and learned that elephants are very human.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled with Matt’s decision NBC News president Deborah Turness said in a statement about Lauer’s re-up. “As I’ve said many times before, he’s the best in the business, and there is nobody I would rather have in the Today anchor chair than Matt.” Added Lauer in his own statement: “I consider this the best job in broadcasting. I love people I work with every day and I have such respect and gratitude for the people I work for. I couldn’t be happier to be staying.”
Chelsea Clinton Jewish Muslim documentarySpeaking of couldn’t-be-happier, Lauer’s last contract reportedly paid him about $20 million-$25 million a year; his contract before that came with a reported paycheck of $17 mil per. NBC News, in its announcement via NYT, declined to discuss finances. Clinton, meanwhile, has been busted down to a month-to-month player,  in case her mom runs for POTUS and she again becomes First Daughter, reported Politico in its Clinton salary post.
Back in November of ’11, NBC News announced it had hired Clinton, joining a proud tradition of political children hired by NBC News, reaching way back to the days of JFK/RFK/Ted Kennedy niece Maria Shriver. At the time of Clinton’s hire, that roster included George W. Bush’s daughter Jenna Bush Hager, hired as a correspondent for Today, and Sen. John McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain, who back then was a contributor at MSNBC. Daughters of former presidents and presidential hopefuls continue to be the Drew Barrymores of New York TV network news divisions — the Willow Smiths of Washington, though, more recently, NBC News has branched out, hiring the son of actress Mia Farrow and either Woody Allen nbc-newsor Frank Sinatra — Mia’s not saying which. Read More »

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ABC News Wins Murrow Awards For Overall Excellence

By | Wednesday June 11, 2014 @ 9:26am PDT

Murrow AwardsThis is the first time in six years that ABC News has won the top network TV honor in the RTNDA’s National Edward R. Murrow Awards. In addition to the prize for the TV division, ABC News took awards for Continuing Coverage and Hard News. ABC News Radio also won the Overall Excellence award in its category. But CBS News walked away with the most awards, five in TV and three radio. They include Best Newscast for CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley, and two for 60 Minutes — Best Video Investigative Reporting and Best Video News Series. NBC News won two awards, one for its coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings and another, to Dateline, for Use of Video. Univision Network News was honored for having the best network television website, and ESPN took the prize for News Documentary and Sports Reporting. Read More »

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UPDATE: NBC News Keeps Clipping Edward Snowden In Advance Of Tonight’s Exclusive Interview (Video)

By | Wednesday May 28, 2014 @ 8:20am PDT

UPDATED: NBC News, nbc-newswhich is battling ABC News for the ratings top spot in various dayparts, continues to tease tonight’s exclusive primetime interview with Edward Snowden.  This morning on Today NBC News aired a clip in which Snowden explained he’s in Russia because the United States stranded him there, and Secretary of State John Kerry called Snowden “pretty dumb,” adding that a “patriot” would return to the U.S. and “trust in the American system of justice.”

abcnewsABC News responded with a video clip of its exclusive look inside the training program designed to keep U.S. diplomats safe overseas and how it was expanded “After Benghazi” — and a tweet from outgoing ABC News president/incoming Disney/ABC Television Group co-president Ben Sherwood about ABC World News’s May sweep win, reports of which you may have seen last week  (final few days of that derby came in this morning, making it super-official):

Watch Today‘s Snowden interview clip here: Read More »

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NBC News Releases Clip From Brian Williams’ Interview With Edward Snowden: Video

By | Tuesday May 27, 2014 @ 5:40pm PDT

NBC News has released a clip from tomorrow’s highly hyped Brian Williams interview with  Edward Snowden — the former NSA contractor’s first American interview since revealing NSA information to the press. The hourlong interview will air as a primetime special at 10 PM ET. Williams’ rare in-person conversation with Snowden was conducted over the course of several hours; the network says it was “shrouded in secrecy due to Snowden’s life in exile since leaking classified documents about U.S. surveillance programs a year ago.” For the special, Williams also interviewed Snowden and Glenn Greenwald jointly about how they came to work together and the global debate sparked by their revelations. In the clip, Williams pushes Snowden’s buttons in re the “low-level” and “hacker” descriptions of him initially used by various government types:

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Steve Capus Named Exec Producer ‘CBS Evening News’, Exec Editor CBS News

Steve Capus NBC NewsCapus will report directly to CBS News President David Rhodes and his appointment is effective July 7.

Previously, Capus was President of NBC News for eight years and Executive Producer of NBC Nightly News for four years.  During his career, he had oversight of MSNBC, digital and mobile properties, and NBC News radio.   He was responsible for broadcast, digital, cable production and distribution, as well as talent, newsgathering and international partnerships.
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NBC News’ Chris Jansing Named Senior White House Correspondent, Peter Alexander Named National Correspondent

By | Friday May 2, 2014 @ 2:03pm PDT

nbcnews logoNBC News today named Chris Jansing as Senior White House Correspondent. Peter Alexander was named National Correspondent. Jansing will report primarily for NBC Nightly News,  providing day-to-day coverage of the Obama administration and White House politics. Alexander will report not only on the White House but also on national affairs beyond Washington DC.  Jansing will return to NBC News full time next month, relocating from New York to join Todd, Alexander, and Kristen Welker in the unit. MSNBC said it will announce Jansing’s replacement in the coming weeks.
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Discovery Channel’s Mount Everest Jump Date In Question After Avalanche Kills 13: Video

EverestNBC News, whose Peacock Productions is producing Discovery’s Mount Everest live jump, said this morning “the future of the production will be assessed at the appropriate time” after the deadliest disaster ever recorded at the peak killed 13 Sherpa guides last night. The guides were carrying equipment and supplies to camps for climbers getting ready for peak trekking season — including those preparing to participate in Discovery Channel‘s Everest Jump Live, produced by the NBC News division.

Related: ‘Everest’ Movie Crew OK After Tragic Avalanche

Discovery, which had just announced Monday the live two-hour event would air May 11, said this morning its star Joby Ogwyn was at base came at the time of the avalanche, which struck a group of about 50 — mostly Nepalese sherpas — at more than 20,000 feet. Four people remain missing, according to Nepal’s Tourism Ministry. Discovery said it has has not had conversations as to how the disaster might impact its plans. ”The avalanche last night on Mt. Everest is a terrible tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers are with those who are lost and with their families. The immediate priority for Joby and the team is to assist the search and rescue efforts in anyway possible.”

Related: Discovery Channel Preps For Big Leap With Five Nights Of ‘Everest: Live From Base Camp’

NBC News said its crews were on Mt. Everest preparing for Discovery’s special — in which Ogwyn is scheduled to climb Everest and leap from the summit wearing only a winged suit equipped with cameras – when the avalanche struck.

“The biggest tragedy of this is that it’s the very beginning of the [climbing] season and to lose this number of people at the very beginning of the season may be the end of the season here,”  cameraman Ed Wardle told NBC’s Today show co-host Savannah Guthrie.

“I think a lot of people are wondering whether it’s appropriate to go on, given the scale of this tragedy,” Guthrie quickly jumped in when Wardle’s “biggest tragedy” talk took that cold turn.  (Video after the jump)

NBC News issued a statement this morning saying, “We are grateful and relieved that the seven NBC News staffers on site are all accounted for and unharmed. Tragically, 13 Nepalese sherpas from a number of expedition companies who prepare the mountain each year for climbing season lost their lives, and the rescue mission continues. We are working closely with the team on the ground to assist however we can, and our thoughts and prayers are with the affected families.”

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ABC’s ‘World News Tonight’ Beats ‘NBC Nightly News’ In News Demo, With ‘Mad Men’ Pitching In

dianesawyerabcABC World News With Diane Sawyer ranked as the No. 1 evening newscast in the news demo for the week of April 7 — its first weekly demo win this season. Sawyer beat NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams by 12,000 Adults 25-54 (1.882 million vs. 1.870 million).  It was ABC evening newscasts first demo win since the week of July 22, 2013. Last July — one year after ABC’s Good Morning America snapped NBC’s Today show weekly winning streak, ABC’s evening newscast outstripped NBC’s in the news demo by 38,000 demo viewers, ending NBC’s  newscast’s ratings winning streak of nearly five years. During the week of April 7, Sawyer’s newscast covered breaking news –  high school stabbings in Pennsylvania, California bus crash, Terry Moran in Central African Republic with UN Ambassador Samantha Power covering refugees and violence — but the newscast also featured a broadcast exclusive with Mad Men stars and creator as they debuted the AMC series’ final season.  The week of April 7 also marked the newscast hitting 1 million likes on Facebook, which some have correlated to the weekly demo win. ABC’s was the only broadcast up in the demo from one year ago during the comparable week (1%) – NBC’s newscast tumbled by 18% and CBS’s Scott Pelley-anchored newscast dropped 10% in the demo.
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NBC News Unveils New Guest Booking Unit

By | Friday April 4, 2014 @ 12:50pm PDT

Deborah Turness NBC News chief Deborah Turness today officially announced that streamlined booking has come to the division. NBC has been working for months to streamline guest booking across its various programs — news and entertainment. Here’s Turness’ memo about the new unit: Read More »

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UPDATE: ‘Nightline’ Names JuJu Chang Co-Anchor Replacing NBC News-Bound Cynthia McFadden

By | Thursday March 27, 2014 @ 1:00pm PDT

UPDATE, 1 PM: That didn’t take long. ABC News has promoted special JujuChangcorrespondent and substitute anchor Juju Chang to co-anchor of Nightline joining fellow anchors Dan Harris and Dan Abrams. News division president Ben Sherwood sent a memo to staff announcing the changes today, bidding a fond farewell to McFadden. Check out the full memo below the original story.

PREVIOUS, 12:31 PM: ABC‘s Nightline co-anchor Cynthia McFadden has CynthiaMcFaddendeparted for NBC News, where she will become senior legal and investigative correspondent. McFadden spent the past 20 years at ABC News as an anchor and correspondent before being named a correspondent for the network’s late-night news broadcast. She has served as Nightline’s co-anchor for the past nine years. Based in New York, McFadden will join the NBC News investigative unit and she will contribute across all broadcasts and platforms of NBC News. “Cynthia McFadden is a rare talent — passionate about journalism, compassionate in her view of the world, truly gifted in the art of storytelling,” NBC News chief Deborah Turness  said in today’s announcement. Said McFadden: “While it is not easy leaving the Nightline anchor chair, the opportunity NBC offered to make a deep dive into the kind of reporting I am most passionate about — legal and investigative — was just too appealing to resist,” McFadden said. Read More »

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NBC News Spotlights Children Of Syria Over Two Days

By | Monday March 10, 2014 @ 7:17am PDT

nbcnews logoNBC News will present a two-day cross-platform event, Forgotten? Syria’s Children Of War: A Live Documentary, on Tuesday and Wednesday.  More than 5 million Syrian children have had their lives scarred by conflict, the news division says, including children displaced inside the country, another million living under seige and a million who are now refugees. The project will span Today, NBC Nightly News, and social media, creating what the division is calling a “live documentary” — aka a continuous stream of reports from inside and outside Syria’s borders. From the announcement: Read More »

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NBC News Adds Ambassador To Russia To Analyst Lineup

By | Tuesday March 4, 2014 @ 3:56pm PST

Clinton Swears In Ambassador-Designate To Russia Mike McFaulAs Secretary of State John Kerry lent support to Ukraine’s fledging government today and took another verbal shot at Russia, NBC News said this afternoon it has added former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael A. McFaul as an analyst. McFaul will contribute across the NBCUniversal News Group — including NBC News, MSNBC, and CNBC — contributing his perspective and expertise to coverage of foreign affairs and national security.  McFaul’s post in Russia ended last week. He already appeared Monday night on NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams and this morning on Today and MSNBC’s Morning Joe to discuss the situation unfolding in Ukraine. Read More »

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R.I.P. TV Newsman Garrick Utley

By | Friday February 21, 2014 @ 8:23am PST

Garrick_UtleyVeteran TV journalist Garrick Utley has died following a long battle with cancer, NBC News said today. He was 74. Utley began his career at NBC News in 1963, reporting for the next 30 years for the network. In the early years he reported on Vietnam and later went on to moderate Meet The Press. He also anchored Weekend Today and Sunday Nightly News. He eventually left NBC to become the chief foreign correspondent for ABC News and later reported for CNN from 1997-2002. Here’s a clip from the Today show, which announced Utley’s death this morning.

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BBC Three Orders Amanda Knox Docu From NBC News’ Peacock Productions

By | Wednesday February 12, 2014 @ 6:59am PST

BBC Three has ordered a docu onamandaKnox4-300x194 the Amanda Knox case update from NBC News’ Peacock Productions — Peacock Prods’ first UK commission out of its new London office. bbcthreePeacock predicts its one-hour special, Is Amanda Knox Guilty? will be the first TV docu on the case since an Italian judge announced the second guilty verdict on January 30 — it’s scheduled to air on BBC Three on Monday, February 17. Read More »

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NBCU News Group Taps Mark Kornblau To Be Communications SVP

By | Wednesday February 5, 2014 @ 5:39am PST

NBCUniversal News Group logoNEW YORK – February 5, 2014 – NBCUniversal named Mark Kornblau Senior Vice President, Communications for the NBCUniversal News Group. He will report to Pat Fili-Krushel, Chairman, NBCUniversal News Group. Kornblau succeeds Kathy Kelly-Brown who recently was tapped to lead the newly created Global Talent Booking division for NBCUniversal.  He will begin February 17.

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ABC News Adds Schiavocampo, Kristol

By | Monday February 3, 2014 @ 6:34am PST

abc-news110915165209ABC News president Ben Sherwood made it official this morning, announcing Mara Schiavocampo has joined ABC News as a New York-based correspondent. Schiavocampo, who’d been with NBC since 2007, becoming Early Today anchor in ’10 and also anchoring MSNBC’s First Look, left that network in December. At ABC News she will be a New York-based correspondent reporting on all platforms.

One day earlier, George Stephanopoulos announced on This Week that Bill Kristol, the editor and publisher of The Weekly Standard, had joined ABC News as a contributor. Kristol’s decade-long contributor relationship with Fox News ended last summer — owing to a cooling of his relationship with Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, or rather because FNC made a lot of changes and no longer needed his services and there was no cooling at all, depending on your source.
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NBC Newscast Widens Overall Audience Lead But Loses Ground In News Demo

By | Wednesday January 22, 2014 @ 8:27am PST

NBC Nightly News widened its total viewer advantage over ABC World News by 50% last week, compared to the same week last year. Brian nbc-news-logo__120406030256Williams’ newscast finished last week 936,000 viewers ahead of ABC. But in the news demo, NBC’s lead over ABC shrank 38%, from 249,000 viewers same week a year ago, to 154,000 last week.

CBS also was up in overall audience – 4%, to 7.485 million viewers – but down in the demo, by 13%. ABC fell in overall audience by 1% and was down the least of the three, percentage-wise, in the news demo – 3%.

For the week, NBC’s newscast logged 9.404 million viewers, ABC’s 8.468 million and CBS’s 7.485 million. Collectively that’s about 25.4 million people getting their evening news from broadcast TV.

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