Media bigwigs converge in L.A. for Vanity Fair summit

Lisa Nishimura, vice president of original documentary and comedy at Netflix, and Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at Netflix, speak onstage at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit 2018.

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View from the West Coast

Ted Sarandos and Bob Iger were both at Vanity Fair's New Establishment Summit on Tuesday... along with a slew of other media makers... some standout quotes from Beverly Hills:
    -- A.G. Sulzberger with a great line while talking Trump: "We won't be baited into becoming 'the opposition.' And we won't be applauded into becoming 'the opposition.'"
    -- Sulzberger on the future of the Times print edition: "The time will come when this is a digital-only news organization..."
    -- Richard Stengel in conversation with the NYT execs: "We don't have a fake news problem, we have a media literacy problem."
    -- Sarandos pushing back on a popular critique of his service: "The notion that things get 'lost' on Netflix is silly. Things get 'found' on Netflix" thanks to the algorithm. "People say, you have so much to watch. Yea, but it's not all for you..."
    -- Iger's firmest statement yet about NOT running for president: "It's off the table. I am running the Walt Disney Co."
    -- Iger on why he wakes up super early and stays away from screens in the AM: "I like being alone with my own thoughts."
    -- Attendees were shown the first footage from next year's "Lion King." Iger said "it gives me chills..."
    -- A hint at Uber's ambitions: Dara Khosrowshahi told Nick Bilton, "We're less than 1% of miles driven on the road. I think we'll be 20 to 30%."
    -- My panelist George Pyne of Bruins Sports Capital: "I have teenagers at home, and nobody is watching TV." His point: If your company doesn't adapt, others will, and you'll lose a generation of customers...

    Sarandos speaks

    Before the Netflix session, I schmoozed Sarandos by asking, What worlds are you going to conquer next?
    "Not news!" he answered.
    Sarandos reiterated this during his talk on stage. "We're a global brand, and our primary focus is consumer joy," he said. Live news coverage isn't "very joyful." The recent Kavanaugh hearings were cited as an example. But as Lucas Shaw pointed out on Twitter: "Netflix is VERY interested in news-based series," they just want projects "with a longer shelf life than live coverage."
    Sarandos also talked a bit about Barack and Michelle Obama's projects... He said the content won't necessarily be "political..." Sandra Gonzalez recapped his comments here...

    My interview with Radhika Jones

    What did it feel like to take over for Graydon Carter? I asked Radhika Jones in an interview on Tuesday... It was one of her first sit-downs since becoming editor of Vanity Fair last December... She revealed that she tried to keep a VF diary, a la Tina Brown... She also talked about moving the mag in new digital directions, the enduring power of the print cover, etc... I'll have more on CNN Business on Wednesday...


    -- "Two northern Idaho newspaper carriers say they were shot at while delivering papers" early Monday... An investigation is ongoing... (Idaho News)
    -- Wired's Jessi Hempel is joining LinkedIn as a "senior editor at large..." (LinkedIn)
    -- I missed this on Monday even though it involves my employer -- whoops! -- Turner and Jenna Lyons are getting into business together, making TV shows and launching a direct-to-consumer biz... (Vox)
    -- Speaking of Turner: WarnerMedia boss John Stankey is speaking at the VF summit on Wednesday...

    Landfall on Wednesday

    Hurricane Michael looks bad, and is getting worse. The 11 p.m. advisory has maximum sustained winds at 125 mph. The storm is forecast to be near Category 4 strength when it makes landfall on Wednesday afternoon...
    Coverage notes:
    -- On Tuesday night both ABC's David Muir and CBS's Jeff Glor anchored from Panama City. NBC's Lester Holt, on a week-long "Across America" tour, was in Montgomery, Alabama. But he's taking a detour and heading to FL for Wednesday's broadcast...
    -- CNN's George Howell, John Berman, Erica Hill and Brooke Baldwin will be anchoring from FL on Wednesday...
    -- In the storm zone, 176 Walmart stores are airing The Weather Channel on in-store TVs...

    Haley out

    Jonathan Swan did it again. He broke the news of Nikki Haley's resignation at 10:04 a.m. ET and sent every other DC reporter scrambling.
    This came as a true surprise -- a SHOCK -- in a town not known for 'em. So why? And why now? It's a mystery. Even Swan said later in the day, "I still don't know the real backstory, frankly, nor does anyone really that I've spoken to..."
    "Sources tell CNN that almost all senior administration officials found themselves caught off guard by the announcement," CNN's team reports. And some W.H. officials "are questioning her timing." Here's our full story...

    Leaving on good terms...

    Eliana Johnson's latest for Politico: "Haley's efforts to control the terms and shape the story of her resignation offer an illuminating example of the way she has controlled the narrative about events in which she is involved and been intensely protective of her personal brand..."
    → Now for a new episode of the Trump show: Trump says "many people" want Haley's job...


    Why did POTUS tweet on Tuesday morning that "the paid D.C. protesters are now ready to REALLY protest because they haven't gotten their checks" ? Evidently he misunderstood a joke that someone made on "Fox & Friends." Seriously. He repeated the claim at Tuesday night's rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa. WaPo's Avi Selk tried to explain it here...

    Trump's free commercial for Fox

    At the rally, Trump approvingly quoted Lou Dobbs and Sean Hannity and went down the line praising his favorite hosts on Fox. Judge Jeanine, Laura Ingraham (just "Laura" to him), Tucker Carlson (just "Tucker"), the "Fox & Friends" crew... "We've got a lot of great folks," he said...
    → To my ear, it sounded like Trump was singing "root, root, root for the home team..."
    → Jeff Zeleny tweeted: "Is President Trump trying to encourage @FoxNews to start airing his campaign rallies live again (which they stopped doing recently) by praising all of their major hosts by name?"

    Fox's big boost from Kavanaugh

    Saturday was a HUGE day for Fox News -- Trump's base wanted to watch the Senate confirm Brett Kavanaugh. Fox News "had its most-watched Saturday since the Iraq War," TVNewser notes.
    Fox's viewership was elevated all week long, according to Nielsen #'s that came in on Tuesday. The network touted its "highest-rated week of the year in total day among total viewers." Hannity averaged 4.1 million viewers while Carlson and Ingraham both averaged 3.7 mil...

    Warren: "America's ready to change the channel"

    Elizabeth Warren speaking Trump's language in a Tuesday night tweet hitting back at his continuous "Pocahontas" attacks: "Breaking news: least popular president in modern history can't come up with new rally material, repeats racist rants. America's ready to change the channel, 4 weeks from today. Tick-tock, @realDonaldTrump."

      What ABC asked Melania

      ABC is out with a promo for Friday night's Melania Trump interview... You hear Tom Llamas asking Q's like "Can women in the #MeToo movement call you a supporter?" and "You're not the first first lady to have to deal with her husband's alleged infidelities. Has this put a strain on your marriage?" and "Let's talk about the jacket... Why did you wear it?" You don't hear her answers yet though...