SPECIAL EDITION: Bill Shine out; Fox shocked; new Fox Biz boss; WGA strike watch; Tomi settles; Showtime and Stone; Seacrest in!

By Brian Stelter and the CNNMoney Media team. View this email in your browser!
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Good evening from Philly… scroll down for details about why I’m here…
April 1 — May 1: A 30-day nightmare for Fox News

That’s how it feels to folks inside Fox — a nightmare. On Monday Fox News co-president Bill Shine, one of the architects of Fox who ran the network right alongside Roger Ailes for 20 years, resigned.

Rupert Murdoch announced the news on Monday afternoon… and despite the confident tone of his memo… it was a further blow to morale. While Shine will be sticking around for a few weeks to help smooth the transition, the new leadership structure takes effect right away…

 — Reality check: It was very difficult, maybe impossible, for Shine to keep doing his job amid the lawsuits, etc…

What will Hannity say?

Quoting Variety’s Brian Steinberg:Sean Hannity is in some ways the last man standing. The network would no doubt like to keep it that way."

Last week Hannity tweeted that Shine’s departure would be the “end of FNC as we know it" and added the hashtag #IStandWithShine. So what now? Hannity didn’t directly address the subject on air… When The Daily Beast reported that he’s “looking to leave Fox," he denied it, and so did the network… And when I called him for comment, he hung up… On Monday night’s “Hannity," he said “all the lies you’ve heard about me are not true…"

Consider the past month…

Tom Kludt emails: I was just putting the finishing touches on my story about the latest lawsuit to hit Fox News — a gender discrimination suit by Diana Falzone — when the news about Shine landed. It’s been that kind of month at Fox. Consider this: The NYT’s bombshell about Bill O’Reilly dropped on April 1. Two days later, the network was sued by contributor Julie Roginsky, while the advertising exodus that helped sink O’Reilly’s show began in earnest. O’Reilly was forced out on April 19, but Fox’s legal woes haven’t quit. Last week, Fox anchor Kelly Wright joined an existing racial discrimination lawsuit against the network. And now, on the first day of May, Fox finds itself grappling with twin developments that came within hours…

 — Dylan Byers emails at 10:30pm ET: Kelly Wright is anchoring the channel’s news updates tonight…

Dylan’s three takeaways

Dylan emails –> 1. The Murdochs have bigger concerns. They run a global business with a large portfolio. Fox News is just one (highly lucrative) piece. They’re not going to risk the chance to acquire ownership of Sky just to keep Shine on board at FNC…

2. The Murdochs may not be off the hook with British regulators. They only got rid of Ailes, O’Reilly and Shine amid intense public scrutiny. If they were willing to tolerate them up until that point, are they really “fit and proper" to run a company? That is the question Ofcom will be asking…

3. Do not mistake the departures of Ailes, O’Reilly and Shine for a change in Fox’s editorial stance…

Shine’s “co-president" job is being left vacant

Fox News co-president Jack Abernethy remains in place. The other co-prez position is not being filled right now. Suzanne Scott is now “president of programming" and Jay Wallace is now “president of news." They’re both Fox News lifers, but they’re not replacing Shine per se… Instead, the structure is changing, and all three of them are reporting directly to Rupert… 

 — Related: Fox News media analyst Howard Kurtz tweeted: Scott and Wallace “are total pros who rose thru the ranks. Another break with old era…"

New boss, same as the old boss?

Tom Kludt emails: If Shine was ultimately undone by the mounting lawsuits accusing him of being complicit in the company’s culture of discrimination, then Suzanne Scott may too face issues. Remember: Scott’s name is all over Roginsky’s lawsuit accusing Ailes of sexual harassment. Among other things, Roginsky accuses Scott of recruiting Fox employees to criticize Gretchen Carlson on behalf of Ailes…

New prez at Fox Business

Brian Jones, who’s been the EVP of Fox Business Network, is now the channel’s president, reporting to both Scott and Wallace. This is a big deal for Fox Biz employees…

Step back and think about this… 

Brian Lowry emails: One thing that can’t be overstated is the amount of churn at Fox News in the last year. Under Ailes, the network reveled in its stability, and positioned that as a key factor in its success. While CNN and MSNBC brought in new management and tried different programming strategies, Fox just stuck to its knitting and kept winning. For those who recall Fox in that mode — a mix of bravado and arrogance — to see this amount of turnover is really pretty stunning…

Gabe Sherman does it again

NYMag’s Gabriel Sherman broke the news about Shine’s exit about half an hour before Fox made it official. Sherman was also out front on Ailes and O’Reilly’s departure days.

 — Brian Lowry emails: Sherman’s investment in becoming the go-to source on Fox, at the moment he did, seems incredibly prescient or just plain lucky, take your pick — but hats off to him…

The mood inside Fox

Shock, again, and frustration, again, and concern about the future, again. “WTF?" one staffer wrote to me. “ENOUGH ALREADY," said another, practically shouting the words. Politico’s Hadas Gold quoted another insider saying these “incremental changes" are “hurting the company." Gold also says an on-air personality texted her saying “It’s a new era. No one knows what will happen!"

“The anonymous assaults continue"

That’s how veteran Fox News-er Brit Hume captioned this Axios story on Twitter: “The anonymous assaults continue." The story, titled “Critics argue Fox ousters aren’t enough," summed up the concerns that are being expressed (yes, mostly anonymously) about Scott, Dianne Brandi and other Ailes-era execs…

What Fox critics are saying

Media Matters: “What took so long?" … The NY chapter of NOW: “Shine’s ouster is long overdue" … Nancy Erika Smith, who’s representing several accusers: “A positive step" but others “should be next" … Douglas Wigdor, who’s leading the racial discrimination lawsuit: “Much more needs to be done."

 — Flashback: Sunday’s “Reliable Sources:" Erik Wemple called Fox “rotten" and “corrupt…"

What’s next? Keep up with our media coverage at ReliableSources.com…

WGA strike watch…

There’s a pessimistic feeling in Hollywood right now… as contract negotiations between the Writers Guild of America and major studios come down to the wire…

By daybreak, maybe there will be a short-term extension deal, or maybe there will be a strike action… 

The good news is: The two sides are still talking, as Variety’s Cynthia Littleton reports here…

Sandra Gonzalez‘s latest for CNN: “Hollywood is battening down the hatches in preparation for a potential writers’ strike, and TV viewers should be doing the same…

Tomi Lahren and Glenn Beck have settled. Where is Lahren going next?

On his very first day with us at CNN, Oliver Darcy filed a story! “The legal battle" between Tomi Lahren and Glenn Beck is over, he reports. 

“Lahren, Beck and The Blaze on Monday settled a lawsuit that Lahren brought last month… Lahren’s lawyer said the agreement did not include a non-compete clause, meaning she is immediately able to begin work elsewhere… The deal also made Lahren the ‘undisputed owner’ of her Facebook page — an issue that had been a sticking point for both parties…

Tribune bidding war? Deadline for bids is Thursday 

Via WSJ’s Joe Flint, the latest intel about Tribune Media: 21st Century Fox/Blackstone, Sinclair and Nexstar “are all circling Tribune, according to people familiar with the matter. The deadline for final bids is Thursday, these people said…"

For the record, part one

 — A must-read by HuffPost’s Ryan Grim: “With Trump In The White House, MSNBC Is Resisting The Resistance"

 — On Monday Mike Bloomberg and Jack Dorsey officially announced Bloomberg’s forthcoming streaming news channel that’ll stream live on Twitter…

 — Twitter also promoted a “dozen new shows" coming to the platform from partners like Live Nation, The Verge and BuzzFeed…

 — Speaking of the NewFronts, the NYT announced some expansions to its morning podcast The Daily and said “other ambitious Serial-style audio shows are also in the works…"
 
 — And speaking of the NYT: Bret Stephens’s first column, “about climate change, drew more than 550 letters, an unusually large outpouring. Here is a sampling…

 — Only a “tiny fraction" of NYT subscribers have cancelled as a result of Stephens’ hire, the paper told Slate’s Will Oremus…

Showtime to air Oliver Stone’s “Putin Interviews" series 

Oliver Stone has scored the interview so many journalists have been seeking: a sit-down with Vladimir Putin. Actually, MANY sit-downs, most recently in February. On Monday Showtime announced that it has secured the TV rights to Stone’s finished product, “The Putin Interviews."

Showtime is billing it as a “four-hour TV event" akin to the Frost/Nixon interviews. It’ll premiere on Monday, June 12, with one hour airing each night for four consecutive nights. Here’s my full story… 

Seacrest in! 

Chloe Melas emails: On Monday morning Brian and I had a big morning TV scoop. [[Brian’s note: That’s not quite true, Chloe had the scoop on her own through top-notch sources! I just gave an assist…]]

Here’s the news: Ryan Seacrest is Kelly Ripa’s new co-host, ending the year of auditions at ABC‘s “Live with Kelly." This is the beginning of a new TV marriage… a partnership between two A-listers… giving Seacrest a new daily TV platform that he hasn’t had before…

Seacrest’s Manhattan home will be his base during the week, although he will be flying home many weekends to L.A…. Read more here…

“Why Ryan is the perfect choice"

Special correspondent/my wife Jamie Stelter emails:

Why Ryan is the perfect choice: he’s one of the best talkers and celeb interviewers in the business. He has a proven track record of uber-success both in front of and behind the camera (i.e. American Idol, Keeping Up With The Kardashians) which means a lot now that he’s also executive producer of “Live." Kelly is at her best with an equal or bigger star (see: Anderson Cooper) ’cause don’t we all want to be pushed to be our best selves each day? She gets that with Ryan.

And: She also gets the freedom to take a day off (something she hasn’t had in a year, unless the whole show was off) knowing the show is in good capable hands. And perhaps most exciting: bringing in a big, likable star simultaneously keeps the show relevant; shows Michael Strahan she really didn’t need him after all; and perfectly positions “Live" to take on their newest competition in the time slot come fall, Megyn Kelly.

Ahhh, yes, Jamie beautifully teed up my next item…

The other Kelly

NBC execs had privately decided that Megyn Kelly will be taking over the 9am time slot before ABC’s announcement about Seacrest. On Monday afternoon, Kelly’s first day at work, the network made it official, confirming her new time slot… thereby also confirming that Kathie Lee and Hoda’s show is staying put at 10am…

 –> The view from NBC: While “Live with Kelly and Ryan" will be entertainment-oriented…Megyn’s 9am show will be newsier…

Reuters assigns a reporter to the Rust Belt

Internal memo from Reuters Kevin Krolicki:Tim Reid has been appointed U.S. Political Correspondent covering America’s Midwest and Southeast. For the term of this secondment, Tim will be based in and report from a stretch of the country where many feel left behind by economic change and government policy." In other words: he’s assigned to cover the Rust Belt full-time for the next year…

Trump and the media
Trump abruptly ends interview with Dickerson

ICYMI Monday morning: President Trump cut off an Oval Office interview with CBS anchor John Dickerson and gestured for him to leave the room when Dickerson repeatedly asked about the president’s unfounded wiretapping claims.

It happened on Saturday… when it aired on “CBS This Morning" on Monday, Gayle King asked Dickerson if he was escorted out of the Oval Office… he said “I think it was pretty clear that I was to escort myself out, or I would be escorted out — I would be moved along. It was time for our conversation to be over…"

CBS live at the White House

King and co. were live from inside the White House on Monday… Several administration officials were interviewed live, including Mike Pence, Gary Cohn, Reince Priebus, and Ivanka Trump

Speaking at the National Constitution Center

I took the train to Philly for a special town hall about the media and politics. Susan Glasser, Glenn Kessler and I spoke at the National Constitution Center… The video is already up on YouTube.

Speaking of Philly… 

Second biggest viewership in NFL draft history

Frank Pallotta emails: The NFL Draft may be three straight days of names being called from a podium, but it’s a ratings boon for ESPN and NFL Network. This year’s draft drew an average of 4.6 million combined TV viewers for the two networks over three days. That number is the second biggest ever, behind 2014. The big numbers go along with a big event. This year’s draft was more of a spectacle than in years past, taking place on a giant stage on the “Rocky steps" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Some observers noted that it seemed more like a music festival than an NFL draft…

Read Frank’s full story here >>>

The entertainment desk
“Billions" racing into its finale…

[[I’m like five episodes behind on “Billions!" No spoilers here!]]

Brian Lowry emails: Showtime didn’t make Sunday’s episode of “Billions" available in advance to critics (which the network had been doing all season), and after seeing the twist it contained, it’s easy to understand why. After what I thought was a somewhat sluggish start to season two, the show is certainly racing into its finale this weekend…

For the record, part two

 — CNN Media and Entertainment’s new deputy editor An Phung emails: Janet Jackson confirmed on Twitter that she is splitting from her husband… and she announced new tour dates…

 — Lisa France emails: Last year Val Kilmer denied he had cancer when Michael Douglas said the “Top Gun" star was struggling with it. But now Kilmer has come forward and said that he had “a healing of cancer."

 — More from Lisa: Not everyone found Katy Perry’s black hair/Obama joke to be funny. The singer has been accused of being racially insensitive…

“Reliable Sources" highlights
Catch up on Sunday’s show…

Listen to the podcast here… read the transcript… Or watch the video clips on CNN.com!

“Cultural divide"

Trump campaign aide turned CNN commentator Jason Miller called Trump’s media-bashing rally a “masterful stroke" on “Reliable Sources," telling me “I think the media really played into this whole cultural divide that we’re seeing… too many in the mainstream media just don’t understand and can’t digest what happened last fall with the election." That remark earned fierce objections from panelists Carl Bernstein, Lynn Sweet, and Tara Palmieri

But we all largely agreed that there IS a divide. “We have almost a state of civic civil war in this country," Bernstein said, lambasting Trump for doing “nothing to bring the country together." I highly recommend watching the segment here…

Interview with Dean Baquet

Some of NYT exec editor Dean Baquet‘s choice words on Sunday’s show:

 — Trump treating the media like a punching bag is “dangerous" and “bad for the country…"

 — Regarding Trump claiming, again, that the paper apologized for its election coverage: “He’s making that up. He does that sometimes…"

 — NYT’s new ad campaign is “reminding people of the historic role of the press…"
 
 — About the controversy over Bret Stephens‘ new column: “Didn’t we learn from this past election that our goal should be to understand different views?"

THE NEXT 100 DAYS
A more honest and trustworthy White House?

My essay at the end of Sunday’s show:

We’re 100 days in, and questions about credibility continue to hover over the White House like a dark cloud. From my perspective as a media reporter, that is the biggest story of this young presidency — the dishonesty. FactCheck.org says Trump continues to be the king of whoppers. The NYT’s fact-checker found “at least one false or misleading claim a day," except on days when he went golfing. And BuzzFeed found pretty much the same thing, saying, “Trump’s falsehoods come with an unprecedented frequency, scale and lack of shame."

NBC’s Chuck Todd honed in on this on Friday and said, “Let’s face it, we have been conditioned to discount the president’s words already." To me, that’s the biggest story of the next 100 days — whether we will see a more honest and trustworthy White House…

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