ESPY Host Seth Meyers Jokes About LeBron ESPN Special, Hopes He’s At Awards

Following the big ESPN TV event tomorrow, LeBron James“The Decision” (yes, in quotes), the next big event will be this year’s ESPYs, the annual sports awards show.

This year it’s live with SNL’s Seth Meyers as host – we talked to him today in a conference call about LeBron, the best sports SNL host and more.

We asked Meyers if, as host, he had any inside information about what LeBron will say tomorrow night at 9pmET on the network. “I cannot tell you how depressed I am over the lack of inside information they’re giving me,” he said. “I would have thought I’m part of the family and can be trusted. I get the sense some people around here know and they’re not saying.”

Meyers says he’ll be watching tomorrow, joking, “I really like the idea of an entire hour of TV being dedicated to a person naming one team.” He said he’s “hoping he’ll be there,” at the ESPYs, and LeBron was “a really good host,” when he was on SNL.

The best sports host though? Peyton Manning, according to Meyers, who he revealed would help out with a pre-taped ESPYs segment. Other than that, he wouldn’t give too much away about the actual show. “We had written a huge opening musical number called ‘Everybody’s Playing for the Chicago Bulls’ and it’s already obsolete,” he said.

The ESPYs are live at 9pmET on July 14.

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Megyn Kelly Debates Dr. Berwick Appointment With The Cast Of A Vaudeville Routine

Why do you do this Fox News? Why do you present a truly “fair and balanced” debate on an issue (well, more like one versus three, but close enough, right?) and then disguise it with a stupid gimmick? Earlier today, Megyn Kelly held a debate on the recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick to run Medicare and Medicaid. Every interesting point brought up by the guests was overwhelmed by the fact that the panel was a realization of some weird joke. As Kelly pointed out, she was joined by “a priest, a doctor, and a liberal.” Presumably, the upcoming immigration debate on the channel will feature a genie, a man with a duck on his head, and a representative from the Polish Navy.

The obvious response to this would be that this was just a coincidence. But if the producers of the segment didn’t decide to embrace it, then why was Dr. Mark Siegel in full doctor regalia with a stethoscope and everything? Sure, that may be his look, but he doesn’t always dress that way on air. Didn’t someone realize that it looked kind of ridiculous?

Anyway, I only complain because, otherwise, it was a good debate. Kelly does a good job letting everyone speak (except when she interrupted Richard Socarides a couple times at the end) and everyone made a good argument. It just didn’t need a stupid gimmick distracting from things.

A Sexy Russian Spy Swap May Be In The Works Between U.S. and Russia

It is a measure of the times that the Russian Spy story has not completely dominated the headlines this last week. Twenty-five years ago a story like this would have swallowed the newscycle whole. As it is, the sexy Russian spy story has to compete for headline space with Afghanistan, the Gulf, Sarah Palin, an epic heatwave, and Lindsay Lohan.

And it just keeps getting better. The latest twist is that the U.S. government is apparently now in negotiations to trade these spies (though I feel like a more accurate term might be ‘imposter’ since it seems they were doing precious little actual spying) for spies they have imprisoned. From the New York Times:

The mother of a Russian scientist convicted of spying for the United States said Wednesday that her son had been moved to Moscow from a penal colony in preparation for a possible trade involving the Russian spy suspects detained last month in the United States. American officials confirmed that discussions were taking place between Washington and Moscow about a possible exchange. But the officials, who would speak only on condition of anonymity, declined to give details and said no deal was likely to be completed on Wednesday. The scientist, Igor Sutyagin, was arrested in 1999 and accused of passing secrets about nuclear submarines and missile warning systems to a British company that prosecutors said was a front for the C.I.A.

It sounds like a movie synopsis. Whether for a film starring Brad Pitt or Seth Rogan remains to be seen. Meanwhile, according to the New York Post, Anna Chapman — aka the ’sexy Russian spy’ — may have had her sights set on Princes William and Harry. Hard to imagine how this story could get any better but considering the way things have been unfolding chances are it will.

Fox and Friends Asks Cal Ripken, Jr. If He’s ‘Concerned About The Wussification Of America’

Fox and Friends had on baseball legend Cal Ripken, Jr. this morning and host Brian Kilmeade bravely asked him the question that others have been too cowardly to ask: is he “concerned about the wussification of America.” Turns out that Ripken doesn’t like it and that he’s opposed to “participation trophies” that reward every kid involved in a sport, instead of just the winners. As a parent of two small boys, I actually agree with both Ripken and Kilmeade, but why does Fox and Friends insist on framing an interesting debate in the most banal of terms?

First off, let’s watch the clip which presents the topic in the most the absurdly oversimplified context:

There is a great discussion to be had about the role of sports and competition in raising children in today’s day and age – and the concerning trend that many obsessive parents seen to be overly concerned with the negative effects of their child losing in any sort of competition. But focusing on just one aspect of the overall experience overlooks many benefits of participatory sports. Learning how to win and lose (in addition to teamwork and sportsmanship) are all really valuable skills that come from a healthy participation in sports.

These are the points that are effectively made by Kilmeade and Ripken. And so, while I actually agree with points made in this segment, in my opinion, the producers of Fox and Friends do themselves a disservice by framing the discussion in such simple terms.

What’s somewhat ironic is that, in a different stage of my career roughly three years ago, while working for HBO’s ill-fated “This Just In” project, I wrote and directed a video that is eerily prescient of the following clip, featuring Jessica St. Clair, Stewart Bailey and Jeff Rosenthal. Enjoy the clip below.

Breaking: Jenna Lee Named Co-Anchor Of Fox News’ Happening Now

Mediaite has confirmed this report Fox News has named Jenna Lee the new co-anchor of Happening Now, replacing Jane Skinner who left FNC last month.

Lee, currently an anchor of Fox Business Network, begins her new job Monday.

Jon Scott will be Lee’s co-anchor. Lee has been anchoring FBN’s Fox Business News with Connell McShane, and also contributes to Imus In The Morning. No word yet on what happens to those roles. She has filled in on Happening Now in the past.

Lee, 30, was one of the two anchors to kick off the premiere broadcast of Fox Business Network in October 2007.

Here’s the FNC release:


FOX Business Network’s (FBN) Jenna Lee has been named co-anchor of FOX News Channel’s (FNC) daytime news program Happening Now (11AM-1PM/ET), announced Michael Clemente, Senior Vice President, News Editorial. Lee will begin her new role on July 12th, taking over for Jane Skinner who announced last month that she was stepping down from the show. Jon Scott will continue in his co-anchor position.

In making the announcement, Clemente said, “When Jane approached us expressing her desire to step down, we were faced with a dilemma considering her contributions to the success of Happening Now. After looking at numerous internal candidates and their individual skill sets, we felt Jenna’s combined passion for journalism, energy and enthusiasm would make her an ideal choice.”

Lee added, “I’m both honored and humbled for this opportunity to be joining a group of highly talented journalists. While I’m sad to leave behind the colleagues whom I’ve worked so closely with in building FOX Business, I’m very excited to embark on a new challenge within the FOX family.”

Hired by FOX News Chairman & CEO Roger Ailes prior to FBN’s 2007 launch, Lee co-hosted both FOX Business Morning from 5-6 AM/ET and Live Morning Edition from 6-9 AM/ET. She was also a part of the Money for Breakfast ensemble during its two year tenure. Recently, she has served in the news anchor role for the FOX Business simulcast of Imus in the Morning while also providing business news updates throughout the day for both FBN and FNC’s hard news programming.

Before FBN, she served as a news anchor and reporter for providing daily market updates and breaking news from Wall Street, in addition to conducting CEO interviews for the site’s video programming. A graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Lee began her career at NY1 as a writer and segment producer for Fortune Business Report covering the stock market, real estate, personal finance and the retail industry. She also contributed to Inside City Hall, the live nightly political show, and served as a writer for NY1’s morning newscast.

paidContent Morning Tipsheet 07.07.2010

»  CBS (NYSE: CBS) has teamed up with MediaMind (formerly Eyeblaster) to create a new ad tool called the Video Extender, which is intended to give users more control of how large the want their video ads to be in an attempt to be less intrusive, but more engaging. [Mediaweek]

»  Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) is struggling to deal with increased cases of fraud in its iTunes App Store. [WSJ]

»  Music videos are becoming a more popular venue for product placement. [NYT]

»  One of Nielsen’s top online measurement execs, Manish Bhatia, has left the company as part of a reorg. [MediaPost]

»  Journalists are a little less pessimistic about the prospects for print, advertising and their jobs this year compared to last. [Guardian]

Orange Wants To Sell French TV Channels – News Corp In The Frame?

Orange shop logo

France Telecom (NYSE: FTE) is looking for buyers for its Orange-branded IPTV channels, and News Corp (NSDQ: NWS) is among the companies said to be potential buyers.

Orange operates the most successful IPTV service in a country that is the world leader in IPTV adoption - some 2.9 million customers.

The service, which also includes VOD, carries several channels but includes own-brand Orange Cinema and Orange Sport packages, the latter carrying the lucrative football matches from France’s Ligue 1.

But new CEO Stéphane Richard said yesterday: “Our goal is not to remain the only shareholder of these TV channels, because it is no longer in line with our new content strategy.”

The channels have 713,000 subscribers and generated 2.7 million paid VOD impressions in the first quarter of the year, France Telecom said in April.

But the prices for the soccer rights have begun to put Orange off. It’s now aiming to invest €2 billion by 2015 in a new domestic fibre-optic network, and Richard wants to treble Orange’s customer base to 300 million by then.

Various outlets (eg. C21) cite unnamed newspaper reports naming News Corp and France’s Ligue de Football Professionel as possible suitors…

Such a deal would make sense for News Corp’s European TV business, whose successful BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) last month bought several UK channels from Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED) Television, which itself wants to be a distributor rather than content owner, to capitalise on a forecast upswing in TV ad fortunes.

Right now, News Corp has no French pay-TV channels, but owns the Sky Deutschland pay-TV service in Germany after buying and then renaming Premiere AG.

BSkyB has the experience and deep pockets required to buy premiere sports rights. In Orange Sports, it would also be acquiring the mobile soccer rights which Orange Sports owns.