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Apr 30, 2018

CNN Money | Trump v. Wolf; "they hate your guts;" Mooch interview; NBC's review; Disney's record; week ahead calendar; "Fear" surprise on April 30, 2018.

By Brian Stelter and CNN's media team
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Exec summary: President Trump is saying the W.H. Correspondents' Dinner was an "embarrassment..." WHCA president Margaret Talev is expressing "regret" about Michelle Wolf's performance... But others are defending Wolf... And let's be honest, there are much more important things going on in this world...

Get ready for this week

 -- Monday: DOJ vs. AT&T closing arguments in DC...

 -- Monday: The Digital Content NewFronts begin in NYC...

 -- Monday evening: "Dancing With the Stars" returns on ABC...

 -- Tuesday morning: Tony Award nominations!

 -- Tuesday after the bell: Apple and Snap earnings...

 -- Thursday: World Press Freedom Day. (I'll be speaking at this morning event at the UN and this evening event at Twitter NYC...)

 -- Saturday: Cinco de Mayo...

What will Justice and AT&T say in closing arguments?

Here's the deal: Closing arguments will start at 11am ET... DOJ lawyers will speak for 90 minutes, then AT&T-Time Warner lawyers for 90 minutes, then the DOJ will have a 15-minute rebuttal. That's it! It could be a long wait for Judge Richard Leon's ruling. A month?

🔌Hadas Gold and I will be on CNN's "New Day" around 8:45am Monday...

Meanwhile, two of AT&T's smaller rivals are trying to merge...

T-Mobile, the country's No. 3 wireless provider, and Sprint, No. 4, are really doing it... They're really trying to merge "after years of negotiations punctuated by two breakups." Read Aaron Smith and Jackie Wattles' full story here. Will regulators stand in the way? This is a "horizontal merger," historically more sensitive than a "vertical merger" like AT&T-Time Warner. Andrew Jay Schwartzman thinks it will be "difficult" for the companies to win approval...

Here's the NewFronts schedule

The NewFronts (upfront ad sales presentations by online publishers) have been reduced from two weeks to one...

Here's when to expect news (and hopefully some surprises) from key companies: NYT, BBC News, Viacom and Twitter's events are on Monday... Disney, Studio 71, Conde Nast, Oath on Tuesday... Hulu, ESPN, Refinery29 on Wednesday... Meredith, Group Nine, Digitas, YouTube on Thursday...

Big Q's for Apple earnings day

Via the NYT: "How much, if any, growth is left in iPhone sales? And now that Apple has repatriated most of the $252 billion it held abroad to comply with the new tax law, how much will it return to shareholders?"

NBC News may share its "review" this week

Ari Wilkenfeld is stepping up his pressure on NBC News. He's the attorney representing both the anonymous accuser who triggered Matt Lauer's firing, and ex-anchor Linda Vester, who recently alleged sexual harassment by Tom Brokaw.

In a statement to Variety on Sunday, Wilkenfeld said, "The problem is not just the superstar harassers, it’s the top management. The man who runs NBC News today oversaw a news division in which widespread harassment of women was allowed to occur, has appointed himself responsible for investigating and solving the problem."

Wilkenfeld is referring to Andy Lack. But my understanding is that Lack's boss Steve Burke directed general counsel Kim Harris to conduct the ongoing review of the news division. Insiders expect the findings to be shared in the coming days...

Inside v. outside

Wilkenfeld is not the only observer saying an external agency should have been hired. "NBC has handled this matter really poorly with the internal investigation," David Zurawik said on "Reliable Sources." I think they should have gone outside for credibility..."
For the record, part one
 -- Speaking of Brokaw: Over the weekend, more current/former colleagues of Brokaw signed an open letter defending him... The letter is causing tension within NBC, as I reported here... (CNNMoney)

 -- Is the Joy Reid controversy over? On Saturday she backed away from the "hack" explanation, saying her tech experts "have not been able to prove it." But she also says "I genuinely do not believe I wrote those hateful things..." (CNNMoney)

 -- This just in from NFL PR: "2018 NFL Draft sets record for highest rated and most watched draft ever..." (NFL)

 -- The Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Morning Program goes to... ABC's "GMA" (Twitter)

Bob Iger's year just keeps getting better and better...

First "Black Panther." Now "Avengers: Infinity War." Bob Iger's $4 billion bet on Marvel keeps paying dividends. With "Solo: A Star Wars Story," Pixar's "The Incredibles 2," "Mary Poppins Returns," and Marvel's "Ant Man and the Wasp" on deck, his year is going to keep getting better...

Biggest global opening ever

Frank Pallotta emails: After a decade's worth of storylines and characters, Marvel's "Avengers: Infinity War" broke box office records in almost every way imaginable. "Infinity War" was the biggest global opening bringing in $630 million. That broke the record by nearly $100 million (and that's WITHOUT China).

It was also the biggest domestic opening to date, edging out "Force Awakens..."

 -- NEXT WEEKEND: It could become the fastest film to make $1 billion in history...

What it means

More from Frank: "One huge blockbuster can make all the difference at the yearly box office." That's what comScore's senior media analyst, Paul Dergarabedian, told me. Case in point, the 2018 domestic box office went from down 3% to UP 3% thanks to "Infinity War."

 -- DOMINANCE: Disney now holds 9 of the top 10 biggest openings ever.

 -- PERSPECTIVE: What was the bigger event in America this weekend? The WHCD or "Avengers?"


Did you laugh, cringe or turn the channel?

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