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Al Jazeera America sues AT&T! Judge Judy rakes in the bucks

August 21, 2013|By Joe Flint
  • Judge Judy Sheindlin rules, salary-wise, from her TV bench.
Judge Judy Sheindlin rules, salary-wise, from her TV bench. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles…)

After the coffee. Before cleaning my desk off for vacation.

The Skinny: Either I'm starting to lose it, or my digital video recorder has stopped listening to me. It was supposed to record the Fox Sports 1 show "Crowd Goes Wild" and "Breaking Bad" and, well, you know the rest. Oh, well, why should my DVR be any different from everyone else's I know. Wednesday's headlines include a dramatic exit at Fox News, a look at who makes what in TV and Google may want its own NFL package.

Daily Dose: Discovery Channel may have Shark Week, but the Sportsman Channel has "Aporkalypse." What's aporkalypse? Well, it is a show about hunting feral pigs starring Ted Nugent and it is as charming as it sounds. Here's a teaser for it. Who knows, with Fox Sports 1 and ESPN chasing rights for every sport out there, the folks behind "Aporkalypse" may be sitting on a gold mine. I, meanwhile, need to have the images of that clip scrubbed from my brain. 

How did they cover this story? Al Jazeera America hasn't even had a full day on the air yet and it already has become part of a big story. The new cable news channel sued AT&T and its U-verse pay-TV video unit because it dropped Al Jazeera America when the network launched Tuesday afternoon. AT&T said it couldn't come to terms on a new distribution deal. Al Jazeera America said AT&T was in breach of contract. These fights are not uncommon but given this one involves a brand new channel that has gotten a lot of attention -- both good and bad -- one can't help wonder if there is more to this. Details from Bloomberg and the Los Angeles Times.

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We wish him well. Brian Lewis, the top communications strategist at Fox News and a long time member of network CEO Roger Ailes' inner circle, was dismissed from the network in a cloud of controversy. The network and its parent company, 21st Century Fox, said Lewis was let go due to "issues relating to financial irregularities, as well as for multiple, material and significant breaches of his employment contract." That sounds bad but it is also very vague with lots of room for interpretation. I'll go out on a limb and say contract dispute that got real ugly. More on the Lewis brouhaha from the Los Angeles Times, New York Magazine and Hollywood Reporter

They made how much? It's time for TV Guide's annual jealousy issue, otherwise known as its star salary report. TV Guide looks at some of the biggest paychecks in news and entertainment. I used to have to do these types of stories when I worked at Entertainment Weekly, so I know what a pain in the you-know-what they are and how hard it is to get the numbers right. Anyway, according to TV Guide, Jon Stewart is now the king of late night in terms of salary, and Judge Judy makes more money than she'll ever need.

Fallon time. Jimmy Fallon has less than six months to get ready to take over for Jay Leno as host of NBC's "Tonight Show." Fortunately, he doesn't have to worry about also relocating from New York to Los Angeles for the new gig. Variety visits with Fallon and his producing team for the lowdown on whether Fallon has what it takes or if NBC is risking a repeat of the last time it tried to replace Leno.

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Is Google ready for some football? Most of the NFL's television packages are locked up for the next several years. But one -- satellite broadcaster's DirecTV's Sunday Ticket, which offers subscribers access to every game -- is coming on the market soon. According to All Things Digital, Google recently met with the NFL and the subject of Sunday Ticket came up. The idea would be that Google could stream the package to consumers over the Internet. Such a move has the potential to broaden the universe of Sunday Ticket, but it might also upset CBS and Fox, who tolerate the Sunday Ticket package because its potential audience is relatively small. Not that you asked, but my thoughts are someday this could happen, but we're not there yet and I predict DirecTV renews the package.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Mary McNamara on the launch of Al Jazeera America. Hollywood is falling short on its portrayals of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters in movies, according to a report from the advocacy group GLADD. 

Follow me on Twitter. My bark is worse than my bite. @JBFlint.


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