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By Brian Stelter and the CNNMoney Media team - reliablesources@cnn.com

Scary day at Fox Baltimore

Eight months after the killing of two TV reporters in Virginia, we were reminded again today of the oft-forgotten risks that come with local news coverage. Baltimore's Fox affiliate, Sinclair's WBFF Fox45, was evacuated around 1:30 this afternoon after a 25-year-old man apparently lit his car on fire in the parking lot, then entered the station's lobby and started making threats. He wore what looked like a panda suit and told security guard Joural Apostolides that he had a bomb strapped to his chest.

The station was evacuated. By the time I arrived at the scene at 2:30, Apostolides, who tried to keep the suspect calm while police responded, was being hailed as a hero by his colleagues. While the station's employees waited on the street, all of Baltimore's other affiliates went live. Sinclair's sister station in D.C. helped Fox45 get back on the air despite being forced off the premises. 

Just after 3pm, the suspect walked outside. From my vantage point, I thought he was surrendering. But the man kept walking... Hands in his pockets... Acting downright oblivious to the police -- and defying orders to stop. Officers started firing. The man kept walking until a bullet pierced his neck and he fell to the ground. Connected by phone with CNN's Brooke Baldwin, I described what I witnessed. Thankfully, the control room was careful not to show it happen live.


Tonight the man is alive, heading into surgery. The "bomb vest" was a red flotation device with candy bars wrapped in aluminum foil and wires. The man recently had a "mental breakdown," according to his father. Staffers are back at work inside Fox45 HQ. Stray thought: Last week, visiting Fox's station in Philly, I rolled my eyes at the "double door" security system that made it so difficult to get inside. But that's the kind of system that stopped this man from getting any further inside the station...

Comcast, now more animated 

DreamWorks stock was around $27 earlier this week. Then came the reports that Comcast was in talks to buy the animation studio. And today Comcast announced the $3.8 billion deal -- paying $41 per share -- a roughly 50% premium. It is a steep price, reminiscent -- albeit on a smaller scale -- to Disney's 2006 acquisition of Pixar, which certainly paid off for the Mouse House.

Comcast's move "adds a valuable source of new material it can exploit," Brian Lowry writes. "It also reflects the nature of the very modern media giant -- less distributor of TV and movies than a voracious content-monetizing machine." 

Is this about Disney envy? Well "Disney's success can't have been lost on Comcast's brain trust," he adds. Read the rest of his column here...


And scroll down for full DreamWorks coverage >>>

The next Playbook editors?

Dylan Byers scoops from D.C.: Politico Playbook will definitely have a life after Mike Allen. Politico is in talks with reporters Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer to have them serve as co-authors of the morning newsletter when Allen leaves the company. The two reporters, who usually work outside of Politico's Rosslyn HQ, have been seen in long meetings with editors John Harris and Susan Glasser about the move. Details...

Kelly and Anderson?

Could "Live with Kelly and Anderson" be in the cards, with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper replacing Michael Strahan? Or "Kelly and Andy," with Andy Cohen?

Both AC's are friends with Ripa... Have filled in before... And have built-in fan bases, as I noted in this story tonight. But contractual and scheduling hurdles may stand in the way. Read the full story here...

 -- Silence: CNN held a party last night to toast Cooper's HBO documentary and bestselling book about his mother Gloria Vanderbilt. (The doc has its CNN premiere tomorrow night.) R
ipa, husband Mark Consuelos and Cohen were all there. When Ripa and Consuelos were heading out, I tried to persuade her to comment for the story. What'd she do? She held her finger up to her mouth and smiled...

What Anderson told the other Kelly

What a strange sight! Cooper was on Megyn Kelly's "Kelly File" tonight... Part of the book/documentary tour... And here's what he said when Kelly asked about Ripa: 

"No one has talked to me. I haven't heard a thing about it. I love Kelly Ripa. Everybody knows she's a great friend of mine... I'm very happy at CNN. I'm not going anywhere. I love CNN, and, um, look, I mean, I'm always open to new opportunities, as are you, from what I hear."

Seacrest will keep "Rockin" 

"American Idol" is over, "but Ryan Seacrest is staying plenty busy," Lisa France reports: "He has signed a deal to host ABC's 'New Year's Rockin' Eve' for four more years." THR broke the news this morning. "Ryan has seamlessly helmed this show for over a decade," ABC SVP Robert Mills says. "He is a most worthy successor to Dick's legacy." And his name is being floated for the "Live with Kelly" chair, too...

Layoffs at Glenn Beck's company

"Nearly 40 people are being laid off" at Glenn Beck's TheBlaze, Lloyd Grove reports. The network will no longer have operations in New York, DC or LA. Here's how TheBlaze itself describes the change: "Consolidating the company’s operations to its Irving, Texas HQ."

Management also announced 3 new hires this afternoon: former CNNer Matt Frucci, Chris Gannett, and Lisa Fowler. But Grove describes the company as "crumbling..."

 -- Speaking of cutbacks: Denver Post's John Leyba tweets that the paper is "offering up buyouts for the second time in less than two years."
For the record
 -- Reuters: CBS execs are "talking to investment bankers" about how Les Moonves "can gain more control over the broadcaster after Sumner Redstone dies, or if he is declared mentally incompetent." Details... (Reuters)

 -- Exodus? What exodus? John Skipper says ESPN's group of on-air talent is "remarkably stable" despite a few recent high-profile exits... (ESPN)

 -- A must-read from Erik Wemple: "Huffington Post killed story pitch critical of Uber" (WashPost)


 -- Alec Baldwin, game show host? Yeah, I can see it. He's hosting a revival of "The Match Game" for ABC... (Vulture)

 -- Check out Rick Ellis's talk with "Bones" creator Hart Hanson about "the challenges of showrunning in the age of social media..." (All Your Screens)


 -- Lara Croft is now an Oscar winner: Alicia Vikander will be playing the heroine in a reboot of "Tomb Raider," Frank Pallotta reports... (CNNMoney)

NYT fighting discrimination suit 

Dylan emails: NYT CEO Mark Thompson has been sued for creating "a culture of discrimination" based on age, race and gender at the Gray Lady -- an accusation the paper flatly dismisses as "scurrilous and unjustified."

The multimillion-dollar lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of two older black female employees and obtained by The Guardian, states that Thompson and chief operating officer Meredith Levien created "an environment rife with discrimination" since taking over in 2012. "The suit is entirely without merit and we intend to fight it vigorously in court," Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy told me...
Road to 2016

Stanford Daily's record day 

Tom Kludt reports that the Stanford Daily campus paper enjoyed record web traffic today thanks to its scoop about John Boehner calling Ted Cruz "Lucifer in the flesh." On a typical day, its site draws about 12,000 page views. By this afternoon, just the Boehner story had surpassed 200,000...

"We play the game"

NYT's Susanne Craig has an entertaining account of a set of phone calls she had with Donald Trump. This Trump quote is so revealing:

"Hope said, 'Don't call back because she is only going to write bad things; that is all she knows how to do.' Then you will write bad, and I will tweet badly about The Times: that they are inaccurate and don't know what they are doing. And that is what we do. We play the game."

The Trump reality show that... wasn't 

Have you ever heard of the Donald Trump reality show called "Billionaire?" No? That's because NBC rejected it a few years before buying "The Apprentice." But the backstory, from Variety's Cynthia Littleton, shows how aggressively Trump "sought to move into the role of reality TV host" in the early 2000s.

Littleton: "'Billionaire,' which would have seen him challenging randomly selected people to spend $1 million in 30 minutes, drew a nibble from NBC in 2001. Show creator David Anson Russo recalls that Trump was great in the pitch meetings and was gracious to him even when the show failed to sell. 'He was pissed at NBC for passing,' Russo says. 'He called [then chairman] Bob Wright directly.'"

Wright is not quoted in the story. "It's telling about the divisive nature of Trump's presidential platform that several of the key players who worked closely with him in the early days of 'The Apprentice,' including series creator Mark Burnett, declined to comment on their experience," Littleton writes...

'Captain America' brings fight to overseas box office

Frank emails: "Captain America: Civil War," Disney's next Marvel film, made $14.9 million on Wednesday as it began to debut in international markets. 

The studio says this $$$ total puts the flick just behind last year's “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” which is Marvel’s highest grossing international performer.

The 13th film in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, which has Iron Man and Captain America as foes rather than allies, continues to roll out to 63% of the worldwide box office this weekend in markets like France and Korea. However, those of us in the states will have to wait for the Star Spangled Man another week -- it doesn’t open in North America until next Friday. And that could easily be a BIG weekend, with some analysts projecting a U.S. opening of around $200 million...
Comcast-DreamWorks deal

How it happened

WSJ's Shalini Ramachandran and Ben Fritz report: "Two weeks ago, Comcast Corp. executives were tipped off that DreamWorks... was finally getting sold." Brian Roberts and Steve Burke called Katzenberg... He "picked up and told them he was in talks with a Chinese buyer to take the company private, but 'if you're interested, we’d love to talk to you...'" Roberts and Burke "flew out to Los Angeles immediately..."

What happens next?

What does this deal mean for rank and file employees at DreamWorks? Here's what animation industry insider web site Cartoon Brew says:

"The studio is being handed over to Chris Meledandri, who runs Illumination Entertainment... Knowing Meledandri’s history, it would be a complete betrayal of his principles to keep Dreamworks Animation running in its current state. Meledandri runs lean and mean... While I don’t see the L.A. studio continuing in its current form, it's also inconceivable to me that Dreamworks would completely stop producing animated features... Dreamworks has amassed an amazing team of artists and technical people, not to mention a tried-and-true workflow. It would be insane to dismantle that entire operation after everything that Jeffrey Katzenberg has built." Read more...

And what about Katzenberg?

He is giving up his CEO spot. But Katzenberg will remain involved with DreamWorks' ownership interests in two digital ventures: Awesomeness TV and NOVA. His title will be chairman of DreamWorks New Media. He'll also be a consultant for NBCU. Some analysts told the LA Times today that "Katzenberg could hold value for Comcast because of his creative vision" and his relationships...

 -- p.s.: Ben Fritz tweets: "Exciting news guys: Steven Spielberg, who still owns 5.8% of DreamWorks Animation, will make $187.6 million from the sale to Comcast."

Hey, send us feedback!

If you could change one thing about this newsletter, what would it be? Email your feedback to reliablesources@cnn.com. We'll be back tomorrow from D.C. with more media news...
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