CBS News Layoffs Trigger Farewell Notices, Words Of Praise For Longtime Reporters

CBSViacom’s layoffs this week also impacted CBS News and CBS-owned affiliates, the latest fallout to hit news media amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The layoffs were said to make up a single digit percentage of the news division — reportedly 5%, or around 75 employees. They follow recent staff cuts at outlets such as The Atlantic, BuzzFeed and Vox Media.

CBS News president Susan Zirinsky wrote in a memo on Wednesday that “no one could have foreseen the economic fallout from the pandemic coming on top of the cost savings initiatives already underway from the merger of CBS and Viacom. As a result, we have scrutinized our entire business model, our budgets, and what we learned in news gathering during the last months. We are not alone; media companies and businesses all over the country are re-organizing and developing new operating models.”

Among those leaving are correspondent Don Dahler, who wrote to staffers in an email obtained by Deadline, “Let me say this right at the top: given the life-and-death struggle we as a species are going through right now; the loved ones we’ve lost and stand to lose, and the financial heartbreak, fear, and realities faced by millions, the fact that I am now counted among the unemployed, after many, many decades in this fantastic business, is an insignificant development.”

CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller was showered with praise on Thursday after journalist Yashar Ali tweeted that he was among those departing.

Knoller, though, wrote on Twitter, “Thanks to all for the many kind words. Much appreciated. For the time being, I’m still on the job, still keeping count on the president. Will see what happens. Thanks again.”

Knoller, who has covered every president since Gerald Ford, is known especially for his fastidious collection of facts and data about the presidents — everything from trips taken to number of news conferences held. Former White House press secretaries Robert Gibbs and Joe Lockhart tweeted out praise, as did Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who wrote, “As White House Press Secretary I enjoyed working with @MarkKnoller who is a good journalist and an encyclopedia of knowledge on the Presidency. If true this is a big loss to the @whpresscorps. and his absence will be felt by many.”

CNN’s Jake Tapper wrote, “Legendary. Huge loss not just for CBS News but for journalism writ large and the world.”

The layoffs also impacted CBS affiliates. In Los Angeles, Sharon Tay, Jeff Michael and Garth Kemp were among those leaving. In Chicago, longtime investigative reporter Pam Zekman was reportedly among the layoffs. She had been at the station since 1981, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Meanwhile, Dean Reynolds, correspondent in CBS News’ Chicago bureau, said in an email to colleagues that he plans to retire later this summer after 49 years in journalism.

In an email obtained by Deadline, Reynolds wrote on Thursday, “When I came to CBS News back in 2007 I was naturally anxious. But this network and the wonderful people here made me feel welcome from the start. Had it not been for your graciousness I would not have prospered. I will forever be in your debt. The camera crews, producers, editors, the assistants of all stripes and the executives all pitched in to give me the fame and glory I was only too happy to accept. I acknowledge and salute you all now, belatedly.”

He added, “Never forget. Journalism is a calling. Your dedication to it is awesome and admirable. And the younger staffers coming up should give everyone confidence that CBS News will be a force for years to come.”

 

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Superhero Bits: Kids Hospitalized After Trying to Be Like Spider-Man, New 'Wonder Woman 1984' Images & More

What did Dafne Keen do to Hugh Jackman that made him want to cast her in Logan? How did three kids in Bolivia try to be like Spider-Man and ended up hospitalized? Will there be a lot more Jim Gordon in Zack Snyder’s Justice League? Which X-Men were supposed to cameo in The New Mutants? How did David Ayer‘s Suicide Squad play into Justice League? All that and more in this edition of Superhero Bits.

Go behind the scenes of the recent DC’s Legends of Tomorrow episode where they get lost inside TV shows.

Hugh Jackman says Dafne Keen was cast as Laura in Logan partly because of how hard she punched him.

The CW has released a batch of new Stargirl character posters featuring the cast of the show from DC Universe.

James Gunn recently confirmed that British composer John Murphy will be doing The Suicide Squad score.

Here’s a promo for the second episode in the seventh and final season of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD on ABC.

Batwoman star Ruby Rose posted an Instagram video following up on her departure from The CW TV series.


DC Universe and HBO Max released two new teasr posters for the upcoming second season of Doom Patrol.

Three boys in Bolivia purposely got bitten by a black widow spider in an effort to get Spider-Man superpowers.

Continue Reading Superhero Bits

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Why Joe Rogan Doesn't Want to Talk About His Spotify Deal

Joe Rogan’s podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, began in December of 2009. Since then, the podcast has become wildly popular, seeing a wide variety of guest stars and covering an array of salient current events and political topics. Rogan recently signed a deal with Spotify that will see The Joe Rogan Experience moving to the streaming platform for a sizable sum. However, it seems that Rogan feels uncomfortable talking about the Spotify deal right now, and it looks like it has to do with the current state of the economy.

The deal and its details

The Joe Rogan Experience has always been a very accessible podcast. Fans could access it all over the web. However, this will be changing soon with the new Spotify deal. 

Fans can rest easy, however — a subscription won’t be necessary to listen in. The podcast will remain free to listeners, and there will still be video available as well. However, those who want to listen in will have to download Spotify in order to access the podcast.

This is a big boon for Spotify. Rogan has a dedicated and massive fanbase, and forcing them to access the podcast via Spotify will likely result in subscriptions as fans are exposed to the platform and what it has to offer.

Rogan’s podcast will be moving to Spotify on September 1, 2020. The Wall Street Journal claimed, via an anonymous source, that Joe Rogan’s deal with Spotify could have a value of more than $100 million for the podcaster. 

What could it mean for ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ and Spotify? 

The Joe Rogan Experience is known for being a straightforward, no-nonsense show when it comes to exploring its guests and topics. Joe Rogan has been quick to inform his fans that the Spotify deal won’t be changing the nature of his show anytime soon.

Via Facebook, Rogan explained, “It will be the exact same show. We’re going to be working with the same crew doing the exact same show.”

Rogan added, “They want me to just continue doing it the way I’m doing it right now. It’s just a licensing deal, so Spotify won’t have any creative control over the show.”

Rogan also confirmed that clips of the show will remain available on YouTube, where many of his viewers watch the podcast.

Meanwhile, this could be a huge boon for Spotify. Podcast listeners may have noticed that Spotify has been gobbling up podcasts and other forms of media wherever possible, obviously hoping to expand its market share in the media streaming landscape.

Why Joe Rogan doesn’t want to talk about it

RELATED: Joe Rogan Blasted By Fans After Using Multiple Unapproved COVID-19 Tests

Though the deal is obviously a boon for Joe Rogan, it seems the podcaster has a bit of a bad taste in his mouth when it comes to discussing it publicly.

Referencing the deal, Rogan told The New York Times, “It feels gross. Especially right now, when people can’t work.”

To a degree, this follows fan perceptions that Rogan is an example of the everyman. A down-to-earth guy who enjoys a no-nonsense approach to politics and current events. However, is Rogan still truly an everyman, given his sizable assets and what those assets grant him access to?

Interestingly, this same sentiment hasn’t stopped Joe Rogan from touting the safety his money and fame can buy him during the COVID-19 crisis. It remains to be seen if Rogan’s shame over the deal will extend to the various other luxury aspects of his lifestyle.

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Kelly Bensimon’s daughter looks just like the reality star

Kelly Bensimon (full name Kelly Jean Killoren Bensimon) has made a name for herself across multiple industries. Her first claim to fame was modeling in multiple high fashion magazines, including Elle, Cosmopolitan, and Harper’s Bazaar. She later turned towards journalism, becoming the Editor-In-Chief for two issues of Elle Accessories and writing her own column in Page Six magazine, “The Socializer: Kelly Bensimon,” as well as a style column in AM New York, “Ask Kelly.” The 52-year-old model also added author to her resume after penning a variety of novels. 

In 2009, Kelly found her way back into the media circuit as a reality TV star. She joined the cast of The Real Housewives of New York in Seasons 2 through 4. During her marriage to famous fashion photographer Gilles Bensimon between 1997 and 2007, the couple had two daughters, Sea Louise and Thadeus Ann. While both daughters primarily stay to themselves, the eldest, Sea Louise is often seen with Kelly at fashion shows in New York City and Paris. Sea Louise and her mom share a special bond — and they look a lot alike, too.

Kelly spends a lot of time with Sea Louise

The 22-year-old Sea Louise Bensimon is often spotted with her mother Kelly Bensimon. In May 2020, Kelly and her matching blond daughter were seen cruising a Florida boardwalk, getting some much-needed air and sunshine during the state’s coronavirus lockdown (via Daily Mail). Based on Kelly’s Instagram, it’s possible Sea Louise has been quarantining with her mom in Palm Beach. The reality star turned real estate agent has been posting regularly from Florida, including one post about a Season 4 marathon of The Real Housewives of New York on Bravo TV. She and Sea Louise have even posted face-masked selfies together.

Prior to quarantine, Sea Louise would often attend fashion events with Kelly. In 2017, the college student attended the Son Jung Wan runway show during New York Fashion Week. The two were also seen strolling the streets of NYC together on a shopping spree, wearing matching yoga pants, per The Daily Mail. When Sea was 11, Kelly spoke to Gawker and shared a few tips on motherhood, saying, “just live every day like it’s your last.”

“It doesn’t matter how much sleep you had or if you’re wearing the same sweatpants from last week,” she said. “Enjoy every single moment because life is so short.”

Sea Louise is just like any other college girl

With over 4000 followers on Instagram, Sea Louise Bensimon takes after her mother’s modeling skills. She is currently a junior at the University of Mississippi (also known as Ole Miss), receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Sports and Fitness Administration/Management, per her LinkedIn account, with many internships under her belt. 

During a normal school year, Sea would likely be in her college dorm at Ole Miss. Bravo TV reported when Kelly Bensimon first took Sea Louise to her dorm in 2017, apparently making many of her fans feel extremely old. However, the COVID-19 outbreak may have sent her back at home with her parents for the time being. 

Sea is a sorority sister of the Delta Rho Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma. While the quarantine may have her potentially locked down in Palm Beach, Florida along with her mom, Sea Louise is accustomed to jet-setting around the world in style. The New York native’s most recent Instagram post — with the photo captioned “Corona who? Never heard of her.” — was in London in March 2020.

Sea Louise looks to have a bright future ahead of her after Ole Miss. No matter what she decides to pursue after college, we’re sure her mom will be right there by her side.

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Ex-EastEnders star Jack Ryder and girlfriend Ella are expecting first child

Former EastEnders star Jack Ryder and his girlfriend Ella are expecting a baby.

The actor, 38, who is best known for playing Jamie Mitchell on the BBC One soap for four years, shared his excitement over his baby news during an appearance on Loose Women on Thursday.

Appearing via video link, Jack revealed that he and his longtime partner are set to welcome their first child together in July and are ‘as prepared as we can be’ while waiting for Ella’s due date to come around.

He said: ‘We are due in July. Ella and I are gushy and over the moon. I always just smile when I talk about it.

‘We’re prepared as we can be, but we’ve got toys all around the place and clothes and bits and pieces. Yeah, we’re ready to go.’

Jack, who was previously married to Coronation Street star Kym Marsh, added: ‘We’re very humbled and grateful. It’s going to be an amazing journey.’

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Of course, talk also turned to EastEnders, with Jack saying he finds it ‘crazy’ that he made his debut on the soap over 20 years ago.

Jamie Mitchell first made an appearance in Albert Square in 1998 and was best known for his on/off relationship with Sonia Fowler (played by Natalie Cassidy), before his character met a tragic end on Christmas Day in 2002.

‘It’s crazy, it’s over 20 years,’ Jack said.

‘It’s weird because on one side of the coin you think it’s gone so quickly and then so much has happened since then,’ he continued.

‘I don’t even think I watched that episode – the Christmas Day death.’

Asked whether he still keeps in touch with any of the EastEnders’ cast, Jack said he still speaks to Natalie, Dean Gaffney, who played Robbie Fowler, and Steve McFadden (Phil Mitchell) from time to time.

‘They were a crowd… me and Mr Gaffney we touch base quite a lot.

‘Me and Natalie as well and Steve McFadden, who actually when I was doing Holby City we bumped into each other,’ Jack revealed.

Since EastEnders, Jack has turned his attentions to writing and directing and appeared in Holby City last year.

If you’ve got a soap or TV story, video or pictures get in touch by emailing us [email protected] – we’d love to hear from you.

Join the community by leaving a comment below and stay updated on all things soaps at our homepage.

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Game of Thrones: Theon Greyjoy was killed by Bran Stark in axed plot says star

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The final season of the George RR Martin-created story certainly created a divide among Game of Thrones fans as they discovered the fates of some of their best-loved characters. There were happy endings for the likes of Arya Stark (played by Maisie Williams) and her sister Sansa (Sophie Turner) but the HBO series didn’t end too well for fan favourites such as Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) and Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) who both died in the final episodes.

However, Theon’s death may have been very different as Arya star Maisie revealed he was initially written to be killed by Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) as a joke by the writers.

Theon’s death ultimately came at the hands of the Night King (Vladimir Furdik) after he’d spent the entire Battle of Westeros protecting Bran.

But speaking to Hot Ones for First We Feast in October, Maisie revealed the tables were turned in one scripted as Bran had been written to take out the Greyjoy man.

Presenter of the YouTube channel Sean Evans said the Emmy-nominee: “As you’d expect from a show that’s racked up over 150 Emmy nominations and broken almost every rating record, Game of Thrones is the most fabled show on the internet,”

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He continued: “So here we want to fact check some of the rumours that are swirling around in cyberspace, okay?”

The GOT star replied “okay,” unaware as to what rumours would come her way.

The host asked: “Fact or fiction, Game of Thrones writers would prank the cast by writing fake scripts involving their deaths and then sometimes let the joke play out for weeks before coming clean?”

Maisie then recalled the time actor Alfie was told he’d be bowing out of the series at the hands of Isaac’s character.

The actor replied: “Yeah, that’s true, they did that.

“I think they told Alfie Allen that he was killed by Bran in like a really anticlimactic way,

“But then they didn’t tell Isaac they were doing the joke so when he text Isaac like ‘it’s cool about that,’ Isaac was like ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ and it all (came out).”

It wasn’t the first time the writers’ pranks wreaked havoc on-set as Maisie also opened up about a joke which took Jon Snow actor Kit Harington by surprise.

“They did another one to Kit Harington where they said he got really aggressively mauled on the face,” she began.

“And he was going to have a huge disfigurement on his beautiful, chiselled jaw and that one was quite funny [laughs].”

Luckily for both Alfie and Kit, neither of the pranks actually made it to screens.

Instead, while Theon was impaled by the Night King, Jon Snow managed to make it to the end of the series alive against all odds.

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Jon Snow was imprisoned by the Unsullied after killing their queen, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke).

The former member of the Night’s Watch decided it was the only way to stop her reign after she’d burned King’s Landing to ashes in order to defeat Cersei.

Instead of being executed, Jon Snow was sent north beyond the wall to live with the Freefolk.

Game of Thrones is available to stream on NOW TV now.

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James Marsden Says a Random Encounter with Julia Roberts Got Him His Hairspray Role in Musical

James Marsden has one very special actress to thank for his role in Hairspray.

The Dead to Me star, 46, recently appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and recounted his experience being cast as Corny Collins in the 2007 film, inspired by the hit Broadway musical.

"I was sitting down with Adam Shankman, the director, and Craig Zadan and Neil Meron at the time at an empty restaurant off Broadway in New York City," Marsden told host Ellen DeGeneres. "And we were just talking about the potential of me playing Corny Collins."

"In the middle of the interview, I had a tap on my shoulder and it was Julia Roberts, she was standing there," he recalled. "She said 'I don't mean to interrupt, but I just wanted to tell you that you're in my favorite movie, The Notebook, and I love what you do in the film, and congratulations on it, and nice to meet you.' "



Hairspray featured a star-studded cast of Marsden, John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Brittany Snow, Amanda Bynes, Queen Latifah, Allison Janey, Christopher Walken, and Nikki Blonsky.

The film debuted in theaters on July 20, 2007 and was a critical and financial success, holding the record for biggest sales at opening weekend for a movie musical until Mamma Mia! the following year.

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Who is Iolo Williams? Springwatch 2018 host, author and naturalist from Wales

IOLO Williams has been a presenter on Springwatch since 2019.

As a new series of the show begins, let's take a look at who he is and what other roles he's had in his career.

Who is Iolo Williams?

Iolo Williams is an ornithologist, TV presenter and author.

He was born in Wales on 22 August 1962, making him 55 years old.

He joined the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) in 1985, where he stayed for 14 years and worked as a regional co-ordinator.

This led to him making appearances in the media and he made a name for himself as a leading expert on Welsh bird life.

What TV shows has Iolo Williams appeared on?

In 1997, Iolo made his first TV show, Visions of Snowdonia with BBC Wales, which followed the lives of six people living and working on the slopes of the country's highest mountain.

A second series was made in 1999, which is when Iolo decided to leave the RSPB and pursue a full-time career in the media.

He has appeared on TV shows including Canals of Wales, Secret Life of Birds, Rugged Wales, Wild Wales, Iolo's Special Reserves, Iolo's Welsh Safari 2005 and Iolo's Great Welsh Parks 2013.

In 2019, he became a presenter on BBC show, Springwatch.

What else has he done?

Iolo has written several books, including Wild Places: Wales' Top 40 Nature Sites,

Red Kite Country: A Celebration of the Wildlife and Landscape of Mid Wales and Wild about the Wild.

In 2007, he was awarded an honorary fellowship of the Bangor University.

And in 2017, he received a further honorary fellowship from the University of South Wales.

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'America's Got Talent': Archie Williams Receives Invite From Elton John to Join Him On Stage

America’s Got Talent returned with its season 15 premiere on May 26, with a new judge and a new lineup of contestants. One of them, Archie Williams, has an incredible backstory and that proves he is deserving of more than just a second chance.

Hardly a dry eye was in the house as he shared the details of what led him to the AGT stage. Williams performance even caught the attention of Elton John.

America’s Got Talent judges moved by Archie Williams

When it was Williams’ turn to audition for judges Heidi Klum,Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, and Sofia Vergara, he was asked to share a bitabout his background. Visibly emotional, Williams started with “I um…I was justincarcerated for 37 years for somebody else’s crime.”

Williams, who’s from Louisiana, went on to tell the story about how he was wrongfully imprisoned and DNA exonerated him. In January 1983, he was arrested for a rape and stabbing that occurred in December 1982 although he didn’t commit the crime.

Williams was sentenced to life plus 80 years without the possibility of parole. The Innocence Project intervened on his behalf after he wrote to them in 1995, and it took more than 20 years for the conviction to be overturned. Fingerprint evidence finally freed him in 2019.

The judges’ panel was blown away by Williams story and his rendition of Elton John’s song “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.” Cowell said he’ll never be able to hear the song the same way again.

RELATED: ‘America’s Got Talent’: Simon Cowell Reveals the Audition He’ll ‘Never Forget’ for ‘the Rest of [His] Life’

Elton John extends invitation to Williams

Williams recently sat down with Access Hollywood to talk about his journey and why he chose John’s song for the competition.

He was given a list and that particular tune wasn’t on it, but it’s one that he knew and said it reminded him of his life. Williams told host Scott Evans he’s an Elton John fan and casually said the singer called him the other day.

“He gave me an invitation to perform at his show when he comes back to the United States.” Williams added the rocker told him out of all the people that ever sang that song, he’s the first to give it true meaning—even for him. He said John cried as they spoke. Williams graciously accepted the invite.

Williams inspires Simon Cowell to join Innocence Project

During the audition, Cowell was awestruck by Williams’ experience and resilience, and it touched him so much that he wants to work with the Innocence Project.

The organization announced that Cowell signed on as an ambassador and wants to help champion their cause. He said because of Williams, his eyes have been opened and so have those of his friends and family.

While speaking with the group’s co-founder Barry Scheck, Cowell teared up. He said:

Archie’s story is one of courage and hope – and I hope that by knowing more about his story and the Innocence Project, it will encourage more people to support the incredible work they do. These guys don’t just talk; they actually do something about it. The Innocence Project doesn’t just change people’s lives, they save people’s lives. For them to have stuck with Archie’s case for over 20 years is remarkable. This has really opened my eyes, my family’s eyes, and my friend’s eyes to this. So, I hope some good will come from this.

Keep watching America’s Got Talent each Tuesday on NBC at 8 p.m. EST.

RELATED: ‘America’s Got Talent’: Why People Reportedly Close to Simon Cowell Hope He’ll Change After Backlash

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The Dark Tower boss reveals Gunslinger revenge plot for scrapped Amazon series – The Sun

THE Dark Tower boss has revealed plans for a Gunslinger revenge plot which were scrapped by Amazon Prime.

The Walking Dead's showrunner Glen Mazzara shares all about the unaired pilot he shot and wanted the storyline to play out over several seasons.

A pilot was shot in January and was set to air on Amazon Prime, but plans were put to a screeching halt, when the streaming service announced they were not going to moving forward with the drama.

Now several months down the line, Mazzara, 52, has opened up on what what he intended to do with the show before it was cancelled.

During a recent appearance on The Kingcast podcast, Mazzara said: "The story of the pilot is basically Roland in the desert. 'The Man in Black fled across the desert and the Gunslinger followed.'"

"In this version, he's chasing Marten [a.k.a. the Man in Black] because Marten was with Gabrielle [Roland's mother] and he's vowed his revenge."

The Dark Tower books focus on this cat-and-mouse game between Roland, a wandering gunslinger from the Mid-World realm, and a sorcerer who is called Marten, but also goes by many other names.

Mazzara explained: "In Wizard and Glass, very quickly you go from the death of Susan to the death of Gabrielle, [Roland's] mother."

"I felt that I needed a season to give me real estate so that Gabrielle's death didn't step on Susan's, and that it felt like an escalation.

"Roland fails to save Susan, but he actually shoots and kills his mother."

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The producer then elaborated on what he have liked to seen happen in the show if it were to go to a third series.

"Very quickly, there would be a last stand at Jericho Hill and by [season 3, episode 3] or [season 3, episode 4].

He continued: "I was going to have Roland stumble out into the desert, follow him into the desert, and then I was going to do a time-lapse so that maybe you actually age Roland and switch actors.

"Then you have a new Roland reset the show at the top of season 3, then go into The Gunslinger and by the end of that season go into [book 2] The Drawing of the Three."

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