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AT&T, Discovery Reach Deal to Create New Media Company

One estimate places the value at as much as $150 billion

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AT&T has reached a deal that will see it spin off and merge WarnerMedia with Discovery.

The combined entity is expected to be a challenger to current streaming leaders Netflix and Disney, while ending AT&T’s previous goals of vertical integrating its media holdings with its distribution arms.

WarnerMedia is is the parent entity of HBO Max and CNN, while Discovery recently launched its discovery+ streaming service.

The new entity would be separate of AT&T that could be valued at $150 billion, per The Financial Times. That valuation would include debt.

AT&T shareholders would own 71% of the shares in the new company, with Discovery shareholders getting 29%.

The combined company would include Warner Bros, the Turner networks, HGTV, TLC and the Food Network among others.

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CNN Makes Changes to its International Coverage

Elbagir named chief international investigative correspondent, and Ripley takes over the senior international correspondent.

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CNN is making some changes to its international coverage. The network announced that they’re promoting senior international correspondent Nima Elbagir to chief international investigative correspondent, and Will Ripley will take over the role left behind by Elbagir. 

Elbagir has covered various crisis zones for CNN at the international like those in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, Libya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, and Yemen. 

Elbagir joined CNN in Feb. 2011 as a full-time reporter and not only as she climbed that ladder within the network, but has also won some awards along the way, such as a duPoint Award and a Polk Award. 

Meanwhile, Ripley has become well-known for reporting on various issues across the Asia Pacific region, including his coverage of North Korea under Kim Jong Un. He’s also covered the protests in and changing the socio-political landscape in Hong Kong and growing tensions between Taiwan and China. 

Ripley’s new position with CNN will see him now be based out of Taiwan.

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Chad Matthews to Oversee the 8 TV Stations Owned by Disney

Matthews currently operates as the President/GM of WABC-7 in New York

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There’s some new leadership atop the eight ABC-owned television stations as The Walt Disney Company announced that Chad Matthews will oversee the day-to-day management. 

Matthews currently operates as the President/GM of WABC-7 in New York, leading the station known for the most-watched newscasts in the U.S. 

“Chad is an exceptional leader who has a track record of success, always championing innovative content and storytelling, programs that have a meaningful impact on the community overall, and achieving and maintaining the highest standards of operational excellence while driving enormous success across linear and digital platforms,” Debra OConnell, President of Networks at Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, said. 

“His strategic vision, passion for local news, forward-thinking roll-up your sleeves attitude, and commitment to teamwork are among the many attributes that will ensure that under his leadership, our Owned Television Stations will continue to thrive.”

Matthews began his career at WABC in 2000 and two years later received a promotion to senior executive producer in 2002. 

After 12 years at the station, Matthews departed WABC for a five-year stint as Assistant News Director at NBC-owned WTVJ-6 in Miami-Fort Lauderdale. In 2017, Matthews returned to WABC. 

“I am truly honored to be given this opportunity to lead the best station group in the country! The great eight, as I like to call it. The team members who make up the ABC Owned Stations are the best in the business,” Matthews said. 

“Their talents, innovation, perseverance, and flexibility are sources of constant inspiration. I am very much looking forward to working with them to further grow the business while continuing to find new ways to super-serve our viewers and communities in a way that raises the bar for local television.”

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Report: Stephanie Ruhle to takeover Brian Williams’ Timeslot

Ruhle currently hosts the 9 am ET hour for MSNBC.

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MSNBC is ready to put the Brian Williams era behind him as Axios reports that the network will announce the plan to move morning anchor Stephanie Ruhle to the 11 pm ET time slot.

Ruhle currently hosts the 9 am ET hour for MSNBC. However, that time slot will soon be an additional hour for their marquee morning show “Morning Joe,” which at the moment runs from 6 am ET to 9 am. 

“Morning Joe” will reportedly now run for four hours as the network’s latest moves are caused by a desire to give MSNBC viewers more of the pillars of their programming. 

MSNBC has declined to comment on the Axios report on the moves they’re planning to make to their lineup. 

Williams announced in November that he would be leaving the network and officially signed off in December. Furthermore, the former MSNBC anchor was in the news this week for reportedly turning down a nightly news position with CBS. 

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