News & Insights

The Deadline: Relief in Hollywood, GOP in Primetime, and a Voice for ChatGPT

By Rebecca Epps

The Deadline - Media Intelligence Newsletter.

Key Highlights

  • Writers Reach Deal with Studios – After nearly 150 days, Hollywood writers and studios reach an agreement bringing the end to a high-profile saga.
  • Republican Presidential Candidates Hit the Debate Stage – The stage is set for the second GOP primary debate. And one Fox News moderator is facing a critical test.
  • Amazon Increases Stakes in AI Arms Race – The tech giant announced a new investment as the company aims to keep pace with big tech rivals.

Industry News

Hollywood Strikes End as Writers Make Deal with Studios

After a grueling months-long strike, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and major film and television studios have reached an agreement, bringing hope to the paralyzed entertainment industry. The historic work stoppage, one of the longest in the WGA’s history, concluded as of today as negotiations bore fruit. The terms of the agreement, including groundbreaking AI-related provisions, have now been disclosed after unanimous approval by the WGA West Board and WGAE Council. President Joe Biden applauded workers’ collective bargaining power, including writers, and urged fair compensation for all. In the meantime, the WGA West Board and WGAE Council voted to lift the restraining order, meaning writers can get immediately back to work as the ratification process plays out. Simultaneously, the strike by SAG-AFTRA, representing approximately 160,000 actors, adds complexity to the entertainment industry’s recovery. These strikes reflect a broader nationwide movement, echoing concerns about stagnant wages, limited job opportunities, and the encroachment of artificial intelligence in creative fields.

Dana Perino Faces Critical Test as Moderator of GOP Primary Debate

The second GOP primary debate is set to take place tonight and for moderator Dana Perino, it could be one of her toughest tests yet. As the New York Times discusses, Perino – who was the former White House press secretary for President George W. Bush – has managed to rise the ranks at Fox News without being a Trump advocate. Perino began co-hosting “The Five” in 2011 and was known for not being as provocative or partisan as many of her colleagues behind the desk. Perino has long been an advocate for the Bush Republican era at a network where loyalty to former President Donald Trump is the ticket to ratings boosts. As the Times notes, current and former colleagues say she has managed to persevere at Fox by being neither a Trump supplicant nor fierce critic.  Perino will moderate the event alongside fellow Fox anchor Stuart Varney and Univision’s Ilia Calderon. Former President Donald Trump will not be partaking in the debate.

ChatGPT Gets a Voice, Allows Users to Actually Chat with AI Tool

OpenAI, the company behind the widely-popular and also controversial ChatGTP, announced on Monday that they are rolling out new features that will include the ability to let users engage in voice conversations with the chatbot. The company said the bot will also be able to analyze images. In a blog post, OpenAI teased how the new feature will be able to be used to “request a bedtime story for your family or settle a dinner table debate.” The new features carry similarities to Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s’ Siri. The move comes amid an ongoing arms race within the tech sector. As CNN reports, in recent weeks tech giants have been racing to roll out new updates that incorporate more AI-powered tools directly into their products.

Newsom and DeSantis Agree to Debate

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) have agreed to participate in a debate. The event will be televised and will be moderated by Fox News host Sean Hannity. It will take place on November 30, 2023, and air on Fox News during Hannity’s 9 p.m. prime-time slot. The move comes as DeSantis looks to break through the large field of Republican primary candidates and establish himself as a strong contender to former President Donald Trump. DeSantis will also take part in the second GOP primary debate set to take place tonight airing on Fox Business. On the other side, Newsom has partaken in a media tour of sorts in recent days, engaging in interviews with a number of cable news channels including CBS News “60 Minutes” Sunday. The California Governor has long said he won’t challenge Biden for the 2024 Democratic nomination.

Warner Bros. Discovery Brings Live Sports to Max Streaming

Warner Bros. Discovery is set to introduce a live sports tier to its Max streaming service on October 5, offering subscribers access to over 300 live games annually. Known as the “Bleacher Report Sports Add-On,” it will feature live coverage of the MLB, NHL, NBA, NCAA Men’s March Madness, and US Soccer events, alongside live pre- and post-game shows, extensive on-demand content, and extended series. This marks the first time Warner Bros. Discovery has made premium sports content available on a streaming platform. Initially free for Max subscribers until February 29, 2024, the sports tier will then be priced at $9.99 per month. Live sports will also continue to air on WBD’s linear network, including TNT, TBS, and truTV. The move comes as traditional cable TV faces challenges and follows WBD’s recent announcement to bring live news to the Max platform.

Amazon Invests in OpenAI Rival

In the AI arms race, Amazon announced it will invest up to $4 billion in the startup Anthropic, a potential competitor to OpenAI and which has created a rival to ChatGPT called “Claude.” The move comes as Amazon aims to keep pace with its big tech rivals, including Microsoft and Google, in the race to dominate the artificial intelligence space. Anthropic was founded two years ago by former research executives at OpenAI, the developer of ChatGPT. In a statement, Amazon chief executive Andy Jassey said they have tremendous respect for Anthropic’s team and foundation models, and they believe they can help improve many customers’ experiences through their deeper collaboration. The move by Amazon comes following Microsoft’s multibillion-dollar deal with OpenAI in January, which included becoming its exclusive cloud provider.

CNN Launches 24/7 Streaming Feed on Max

The Cable News Network put CNN Max, a 24/7 streaming news offering, online in the early hours this morning and it is now available to users. Current Max subscribers can find the 24/7 streaming service on the top navigation bar under news beta or through the CNN Max hub. This is CNN’s second streamer launch, and hopefully more successful. The news network shuttered CNN+ when Warner Bros. Discovery took over as its parent company. The 24/7 streaming service aims to bring the immediacy and value of global breaking news with top analysis, context, and reporting to Max subscribers.

Career Moves

Manu Raju took over as the host of CNN’s Inside Politics Sunday on September 24. He succeeded Abby Philip, who moved to the weekday 10 p.m. slot as part of CNN’s programming changes. Raju, CNN’s chief congressional correspondent, became the first Asian American to lead Inside Politics, offering viewers in-depth reporting and conversations with key figures in the political world.

CBS News has recently undergone significant changes in its editorial leadership:

  • Terri Stewart is now Senior VP of Domestic Newsgathering, overseeing domestic bureaus and bookings at CBS News.
  • Andrew Roy, the London bureau chief, now manages all international bureaus, including Jose Diaz’s foreign desk.
  • David Reiter’s CBS News team is expanding its reporting coverage beyond Washington, D.C., and is working on joint national and local news coverage with CBS Stations and the Innovation Lab.
  • Kate Zuckerman has been promoted to VP of Affiliate Relations and Special Events Planning.
  • Beth Boyle has been elevated to National and Planning Editor, with responsibilities for overseeing editorial content and desk operations.
  • CBS News has added two political investigative producers led by Matt Mosk to its investigative team, reporting directly to bureau chief Mark Lima.

The Washington Post has hired Nicolas Rivero as a Climate Solutions reporter, covering the ways humanity is working to address the planet’s most vexing and profound environmental problems.

Whitney Maddox has been promoted to Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at NPR. In her three years at NPR, Maddox has led company-wide activism workshops, leadership and diversity trainings, and DE&I trainings for companies worldwide.

CNN senior international correspondent Matthew Chance has been promoted to Chief Global Affairs Correspondent. Chance has worked at CNN for more than 20 years, providing coverage from Ukraine, Afghanistan, the UK, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, Russia, and Chechnya.


‘Succession’ Star Weighs in On Rupert Murdoch News

Following the major news from media mogul Rupert Murdoch that he would be stepping down as chairman of Fox and NewsCorp, many have been weighing in, including most recently the star of the hit TV show “Succession”. For four season, actor Brian Cox has portrayed Logan Roy on the hit show. As reported in May, “Succession” creator Jesse Armstrong had originally conceived the show as a drama based on the Murdoch family and fittingly titled it “The Murdochs.” Armstrong however, later swapped the family name for Roy and changed the title of the program to “Succession.” In an interview with the BBC, Cox weighed in on the news of Rupert Murdoch’s transition stating that he thinks Murdoch has been watching too much ‘Succession’, referring to the plot in the show and how the plot in Murdoch’s real life played out. Cox also said there were rumors about how Rupert Murdoch was supposed to have told his ex-wife Jerry Hall to ‘please do not talk to the writers of “Succession.” Cox did note that could all be hearsay. When asked about Murdoch’s disposition, Cox added, “He’s probably the most tenacious human on God’s earth. He’s just kept on going, but I think eventually there comes a point when he has to stop and it had to happen and it’s happened.” ‘Succession’ aired for four seasons on HBO before ending in May, 2023.

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