MORNING ROUNDUP: Tribune Lenders to File Suit Against Sam Zell Tuesday
Plus: WikiLeaks' Julian Assange arrested, Fox and Time Warner Cable's unique programming deal, Elizabeth Edwards ends cancer treatment.
- Tribune lenders are looking to file a lawsuit by midnight against Sam Zell, arguing the Zell-led buyout of the media company caused the business to collapse under a pile of debt, the New York Post reported Tuesday. Any recoveries from the lawsuit will be placed in a litigation trust to be paid out to creditors, it said. The Post also reported of sinking morale in parts of the Tribune empire. WPIX Television, Channel 11 in New York, for example, has seen layoffs and other cost cuts. "There's a whiff of desperation in the newsroom," a WPIX employee told the Post. A Tribune spokeswoman told the paper that the station "remains committed to delivering the highest-quality newscast, and we currently have the right staff in place to move the ratings up."
- When News Corp.'s Fox and Time Warner Cable early this year signed a new programming deal, they included a clause that allows TW Cable to get Fox programming even when the company loses signals from TV stations affiliated with Fox, the Los Angeles Times reports, citing a report by Cable Fax. Under the arrangement, Fox will offer its programming for up to one year, it said. The clause may come into play as TW Cable is in a renegotiation with TV station group Sinclair Broadcast Group, which operates 20 Fox affiliates. Their current deal expires Dec. 31. TW Cable will begin notifying media this week that it has rights to Fox hit shows such as Glee and American Idol, as well as the Super Bowl. Barry Faber, general counsel of Sinclair, told the Times that the clause "makes it more difficult to negotiate for retransmission consent if your network has provided the cable company an alternative way to receive the feed." He said it was his understanding that if TW Cable exercised its option, it would cost the company more than what Sinclair is seeking. A TW Cable spokeswoman countered that this is "inaccurate."
- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange surrendered to London police Tuesday to face charges in a Swedish sex-crimes investigation, the Associated Press reported. Assange's WikiLeaks had been under assault for releasing thousands of confidential U.S. diplomatic cables. He's due at Westminister Magistrate's Court later Tuesday.
- Garry Gross, who took photos of a nude 10-year-old Brooke Shields in a bathtub, has died of natural causes, his sister, Linda, told the New York Times. He was 73. The Bronx-born photographer -- who won a lengthy legal battle against Shields for those photos -- has also had his work featured in GQ, Cosmopolitan and New York magazine, and shot the 1979 album cover for Lou Reed's The Bells.
- In an effort to compete against Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Apple, Google launched its eBook store Monday with 3 million titles. eBooks will tie into Google Books, for which the search giant has scanned more than 15 million books since launching in 2004.
- Elizabeth Edwards has ended her cancer treatment, a spokesperson for the family says. "Elizabeth has been advised by her doctors that further treatment of her cancer would be unproductive. She is resting at home with family and friends." Edwards was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004; in 2007 (while her husband, John, was running for president; they have since legally separated since he admitted to fathering a child out of wedlock), it spread to her bones. Wrote Edwards, who has three children: 28, 12, and 10, on Facebook: "It isn’t possible to put into words the love and gratitude I feel to everyone who has and continues to support and inspire me every day. To you I simply say: you know. With love, Elizabeth."