By Brian Stelter & the CNNMoney Media team
Letter from Vegas
Hello from Vegas -- I'm here for a couple of days for CES -- and looking forward to walking the show floor tomorrow. But so much of the action at this gargantuan tech conference really happens off the floor, in hotel suites and nightclubs and private dinners. That's why I'm filing this letter from Tao at the Venetian at an OMD event for ad industry clients...
Parallel CES...
This Digiday story by Sahil Patel explained the "alternative CES" that I'm attending. (Honestly, until I read it on the plane ride here, I had no idea what to expect.) Patel: "For all of the attention heaped on self-driving cars and expensive TVs, there's also a separate, alternative CES created by and for publishers, advertisers and technology platforms…" Buyers and sellers are huddling "during a time when the media business is laying the groundwork for the rest of the year…" And thinking about how tech is disrupting everything.
What's here: robots, VR, autonomous vehicles
Biz advisor Shelly Palmer already walked the floor and saw a "vast array of robotics (Bosch's coffee making robots are sure to be a hit with the press)." But, he says in his latest "CES Chronicles" email, the big news is Automotive! Autonomous, semi-autonomous, commercial, private, fleet, virtual, industrial, you name it... if it's automotive, cool and coming soon, it's here at CES..."
Tech CEOs bracing for Trump tweets 
Tech correspondent Samuel Burke is leading CNN's coverage out here. I asked him what's happening at the intersection of media and tech here at the show. His reply:

One incredible thing that's catching my attention is tech CEOs -- talking about Trump -- are fearing getting a tweet about their companies at 3 a.m. West Coast time since the president-elect often tweets in the 6 a.m. Eastern hour.

On the one hand I've heard from many in the tech community here who say they are eager for a Trump rollback on regulations that could have a positive effect on their business.

On the other hand -- multiple tech leaders say they or their PR folks have adjusted their schedules to make sure someone is up at 3 a.m. local time to catch the the tweets out of fear that a Trump tweet could crash their stock and put their company into a frenzy.

Many are saying they've learned how to get Trump Twitter alerts directly on their phone. Some are prepared with an action plan in case he tweets! And we aren't talking about just a reply tweet - more of a full blown media campaign reply...
Speaking of Trump's tweets...
Sean Spicer says "I do not know, I do not get a memo" when Trump is about to tweet... "He drives the train on this..." It is an "exciting piece of the job..."

Spicer talked about it with Robert Gibbs and David Axelrod at the University of Chicago on Wednesday. Details via the WSJ... 

 -- Related: Fandango's Erik Davis tweets: "Trump is the best and worst thing to ever happen to Twitter..."
Now, a story about the limits of tech...
Yet more trouble for the NYT in China
"Apple, complying with what it said was a request from Chinese authorities, removed news apps created by The New York Times from its app store in China late last month," the NYT's Katie Benner and Sui-Lee Wee report. "The move limits access to one of the few remaining channels for readers in mainland China to read The Times without resorting to special software." Chinese censors apparently told Apple that the app was "in violation of local regulations." The NYT has "asked Apple to reconsider its decision…"

 -- Context: As you may know, the Chinese government has been blocking NYT's web sites for the better part of five years…
Megyn Kelly's new time slot: 9 a.m.?
In Tuesday night's newsletter, our top question about Megyn Kelly's move from Fox to NBC was: What daytime hour will Kelly get, and what will the show really be? If not 9 a.m., will it be 10 a.m.? 1 p.m.?

On Wednesday afternoon Broadcasting & Cable's Paige Albiniak reported that 9 a.m. is the answer -- meaning Kelly would take over, or straight up replace, the third hour of the "Today" show.

Dylan Byers emails: This is certainly the most logical option NBC has, but my sources at NBC say nothing has been formally decided yet. "That's been a hot rumor because it's the easiest way to get her show off the ground. But they plan to explore different ideas," one NBC source told me. Two other network sources said the timing on everything involving Kelly was still up in the air, and that no decisions have yet been made. Still, the logical hours are these: 9 a.m., 10 a.m and, less likely, 1 p.m...
Here's what Jamie's morning TV antenna is picking up
One-two punch: On Wednesday evening my best source at "Today" said the same thing Dylan's sources said.

For what it's worth... I've learned to trust my wife Jamie in these situations (*all situations)... she has a very fined tuned morning TV antenna... and she thinks 9 a.m. makes perfect sense for Kelly. Jamie is a loyal Kelly Ripa viewer in between her own live shots, but she says she'd sample Megyn's show...
So... who's going to "give their right arm" for 9 p.m.?
My second-day story about the aftershocks of Megyn's moveRupert Murdoch just lost one of Fox's biggest stars -- but saved tens of millions of dollars. So who is he going to promote to replace Kelly after she signs off on Friday?

There was no announcement from Fox today... about a new host, or even a temporary replacement... But remember what Murdoch told Joe Flint last October: "We have a deep bench of talent, many of whom would give their right arm for her spot."

Whoever it is, the person will surely be paid much less than Kelly... Read more...
$25 million x 4 years...
Speaking of those tens of millions of $$'s... We mentioned Fox's $25 million per year offer in Tuesday's newsletter... On Wednesday, Mediaite's Rachel Stockman said it was a four-year offer, meaning Kelly turned down a "whopping $100 million package..."

This just goes to show -- Kelly really, really wanted out of Fox News. I talked about her decision with Charlie Rose on Tuesday night... Here's the video of our conversation...
Early look at Sunday's "Reliable Sources"
NYT's Jim Rutenberg and VF's Sarah Ellison will join me to dissect The Decision and the domino effects... 
Medium laying off staffers...
Tom Kludt emails: In a brutal media economy, Medium seemed to offer a life raft. But on Wednesday afternoon we learned that vessel had been taking on water. Ev Williams announced that Medium will lay off a third of its staff, a total of 50 jobs "mostly in sales, support, and other business functions."

Last July, Medium reeled in its biggest site yet: the well-trafficked liberal politics outlet, ThinkProgress. The site's top editor, Judd Legum, told me at the time that he was drawn to Medium for its offering of technical resources. ThinkProgress wasn't alone. Medium also landed Bill Simmons' The Ringer, and last year, it drew hundreds of applications from publishers looking to join its beta revenue program.
...And what it means about "ad-driven media"
More from Tom: Medium's message to sites like The Ringer was clear: host your site with us, and we'll help you make money. In a candid blog post, Williams acknowledged that what the company was doing was not working. But he also suggested that the problems went well beyond Medium's own business model.

"Upon further reflection, it's clear that the broken system is ad-driven media on the internet. It simply doesn’t serve people. In fact, it's not designed to. The vast majority of articles, videos, and other 'content' we all consume on a daily basis is paid for — directly or indirectly — by corporations who are funding it in order to advance their goals. And it is measured, amplified, and rewarded based on its ability to do that. Period. As a result, we get…well, what we get. And it's getting worse." Here's the full post from Ev... Read it for yourself...
CNN guest "regrets the error" about Julian Assange
McClatchy's Tim Johnson writes: "WikiLeaks on Wednesday threatened to sue CNN over unproven allegations that its founder is a pedophile, an accusation that a former CIA deputy director repeated on air."

Philip Mudd, appearing on "New Day," made the comment about Assange. CNN responded in a statement: "
An analyst on our air earlier today asserted that Julian Assange was a pedophile, and regrets saying it. In fact, CNN has no evidence to support that assertion. Assange is currently wanted for extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations there, and no evidence suggests that the women involved were minors. We regret the error."
For the record, part one 
 -- Mediaite's Alex Griswold writes: "In the past month or so, there have been three embarrassing and major corrections on three separate pieces from The Washington Post, all of which were critical of president-elect Donald Trump and his flirtation with the Russians..." (Mediaite)

 -- Katie Couric's week as a guest co-host on "Today" has been well-received, but Gossip Cop says "she is NOT angling to return to 'Today' permanently, contrary to a RadarOnline report..." (Gossip Cop)

 -- I meant to include this Ben Mullin story in yesterday's newsletter: "How the team of wonks at Vox will cover Trump’s presidency..." (Poynter)

 -- The NYT "wants to offer you a guided tour of the Met (and eventually a lot more too)," Ricardo Bilton reports... (NiemanLab)
Hulu's live streaming bundle will have CBS
The negotiations took a while, but Hulu and CBS have sealed a deal, ensuring that the broadcast network, CBS Sports Network and Pop will be included in Hulu's live streaming TV service. 

"Two of Hulu’s biggest competitors, DirecTV Now and Sling TV, lack the CBS channels," NYT's Daniel Victor notes.

Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins announced the CBS pact at Citi's media conference here in Vegas. Hopkins also said that the price point for the bundle -- launching in the next few months -- will be "under $40." I'm heading over to a Hulu event later this evening... Will share more on Thursday...
NFL ratings wrap
"For the 2016 regular season, NFL viewing finished down 8 percent," Bloomberg's Gerry Smith and Christopher Palmeri report. I guess the league can call that a win. Why? Because "it was looking much worse for the NFL this fall. Through week nine, the league’s TV audience was down 14 percent and the networks were forced to give away free commercial time to make up for one of the worst declines in a decade." But "once the election was over, fans returned to popular teams with compelling records, including Dallas, Green Bay, Seattle and New England." Especially Dallas, Smith and Palmeri point out...
What about Sunday night?
Frank Pallotta emails: "Sunday Night Football," the reigning ratings king of TV, took a hit this season, but it's still sitting on the throne. The NBC broadcast averaged 20.3 million viewers this season, which puts it on pace to be the top show on prime time television for the sixth consecutive season. That would tie the record with "American Idol" for most consecutive years at #1 since 1950. That said, "SNF" did see a painful 10% dip in its overall average viewership from last year, so think of this as a touchdown but with a missed point after.

Read Frank's full story here...
Trump and the media
Gerard Baker elaborates on "lies" 
WSJ editor Gerard Baker's comment on "Meet the Press" that "I'd be careful about using the word 'lie'" while covering Trump's misstatements is still getting attention three days later... And now Baker has elaborated in an opinion piece for It is well worth reading.

"To refrain from labeling leaders' statements as lies is to support an unrelenting but not omniscient press, one that trusts readers' judgments rather than presenting judgments to them," Baker writes. "If we routinely make these kinds of judgments, readers would start to see our inevitably selective use of a moral censure as partisanship. We must not only be objective. We must be seen to be objective to continue to earn our readers' trust. What matters is that we report the story and that we find the truth."

Bottom line: He says readers are "more than capable of making up their own minds about what constitutes a lie..."
Sean Hannity's New Year's Resolution is...
Via his Twitter feed: "New Years Resolution; Ignoring inane, petty, ignorant, irrelevant, so called 'Media Critics' who are clueless failures and wannabes."

Good luck, Sean.
The entertainment desk
Mariah Carey invokes Dick Clark
Chloe Melas emails: Mariah Carey's NYE nightmare keeps going. It only took a couple of days for the singer to break her silence in an interview to Entertainment Weekly. She's still not accepting responsibility for the night, which she calls "horrible." But she says that, had Dick Clark still been alive, this wouldn't have happened. (Insert eye roll here.) Read Chloe's full story...

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