Tribune Media has terminated its merger agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group and sued Sinclair for breach of contract. The $3.9 billion deal would have added Tribune’s 42 TV stations in 33 markets to Sinclair’s 192 current stations. Last month, the FCC voted to refer the proposed merger to an administrative law judge to review questions about the amount of control Sinclair would maintain over several stations it was divesting in order to comply with FCC regulations. “To maintain control over stations it was obligated to sell, Sinclair engaged in unnecessarily aggressive and protracted negotiations with the Department of Justice and the FCC over regulatory requirements,” Tribune said. Wednesday was the first-day Tribune was allowed to pull out of the deal, per the merger agreement. Tribune is expected to look for another buyer. One source inside Sinclair told CNN that a possible buyer could be Fox.
HBO is teaming up with news and information website Axios for a documentary series of news-oriented specials set to debut in time for the midterm elections. Matthew O’Neill and Perri Peltz, both of whom have won Emmys for their work at HBO, will collaborate with Axios journalists on the programs, which are expected to combine breaking news content, exclusive interviews and short profiles. The new series will join “Vice News Tonight” and “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” in HBO’s lineup of programs covering news and politics. Axios was started in 2016 by Politico co-founder Jim VanderHei, Politico's former chief White House correspondent Mike Allen and former Politico chief revenue officer Roy Schwartz. “We see this combination of HBO, Axios and award-winning storytellers as a powerful way of bringing clarity and meaning to the most consequential topics,” said VanderHei.
Kate Lewis is stepping into the chief content officer role at Hearst that was vacated by Joanna Coles on Monday. Lewis has been with Hearst Magazines Digital Media since 2014, most recently as senior vice president and editorial director. In that position, she managed content groups across the company’s 21 websites for such brands as Harper’s Bazaar and Marie Claire. Before that she was senior vp, editorial director & content operations at digital publisher Say Media. Her resume also includes considerable print experience, including a 10-year stint as managing editor at Self. “Kate has built a team of first-rate editorial talent that is focused on publishing exceptional feature and service journalism in words, images and video,” Young said in a company statement announcing Lewis’ hire. “She has played an integral role in growing our digital organization into the fast-moving, profitable business it is today.”