Thursday's top story; CBS exec placed on leave; Colbert's reaction; the New Establishment List; first trailer for 'Vice;' Lowry's 'Venom' review



Time to vote?

The lead story for Thursday's morning shows: The impending vote to advance Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court.

"This is it. They're going to go to vote," Chris Cuomo said on CNN Wednesday night. "The FBI report is all but done. Will it change votes? Probably not. Why? Time, tactics, the tenor of the whole process. This has never been a truth campaign -- about 'getting to the bottom of the allegations.' It's about getting Kavanaugh through at any cost. It always has been."

Per CNN's latest, senators will be able to read the FBI's findings on Thursday morning. Mitch McConnell filed cloture on Wednesday night, setting up Senate Republicans for a Friday vote to end debate on the nomination. A final vote will not take place until Saturday at the earliest.

Meanwhile, here are the headlines...

 -- Banner on "The Situation Room" Wednesday evening: "White House denies Trump was mocking Kavanaugh accuser after Trump mocks Kavanaugh accuser."

 -- Ronan Farrow tweeted Wednesday night: "The FBI declined to interview primary witnesses related to the Kavanaugh allegations it was tasked with reviewing. Some of them resorted to sending in unsolicited sworn statements." Jane Mayer and Farrow are out with a new story...

 -- On right now: "Yale roommate says Kavanaugh lied under oath about drinking and yearbook." James Roche spoke out via an op-ed for Slate and an interview on "AC360..."

 -- An example of the widespread conservative criticism of the news coverage: "You Idiot Reporters Are Making It Worse," by NRO's Jonah Goldberg...

Thursday planner

 -- Anti-Kavanaugh protests will take place in DC and other locales...

 -- Justice Stephen Breyer will be speaking at The Atlantic Festival in the morning...

 -- Trump has an afternoon fundraiser in Minneapolis and an evening rally in Rochester...

"Her lasting impact"

That's the message on this week's cover of TIME -- to be officially unveiled Thursday morning -- here's a sneak peek:
"Using words and phrases from Ford's testimony, San Francisco-based artist John Mavroudis recreated her likeness by drawing each letter by hand," TIME says...


 -- There are deepening concerns about missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday "to obtain paperwork related to his upcoming wedding" and "has not been heard from since..." (WaPo)

 -- Nicaragua has deported Austrian-American reporter Carl David Goette-Luciak, who had been covering anti-Ortega protests for months... (The Guardian)

 -- Eli Rosenberg's latest: "Facebook blocked many gay-themed ads as part of its new advertising policy, angering LGBT groups..." (WaPo)

Connie Chung: "I, too, was sexually assaulted — and it's seared into my memory forever"

Julia Waldow emails: Broadcast news legend Connie Chung published an extremely powerful letter to Christine Blasey Ford about her own experience with sexual assault, dating back about 50 years. Her assailant, she writes, was her family doctor. "Christine, I, too, am terrified as I reveal this publicly," Chung wrote. "I can't sleep. I can't eat. Can you? If you can't, I understand. I am frightened, I am scared, I can't even cry."

The letter was published by the WashPost. "I wish I could forget this truthful event, but I cannot because it is the truth," she wrote. "I am writing to you because I know that exact dates, exact years are insignificant. We remember exactly what happened to us and who did it to us. We remember the truth forever..."


CBS exec placed on leave

Chloe Melas has been working on this story for weeks. She emails: CBS exec Vinnie Favale was placed on administrative leave on Wednesday following a CNN investigation. I spoke with nine current and former employees of "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" who accused the SVP of talent for CBS Televisions Studios of using sexual and homophobic language in the workplace. Some of the sources also claimed that Favale retaliated after they reported his behavior to HR.

Among the accusations: Employees alleged that Favale spoke openly about having an erection while watching Jennifer Hudson rehearse for the show and called employees and guests "homos" and "gay." Several employees also recalled disparaging remarks he would make about women, including saying that Rachel Maddow shouldn't be booked on the show because she "looks like a man."

Favale's response: "Allegations that I have ever retaliated against anyone in any fashion are 100% false. I have spent my entire career working at comedy shows, where there has always been a wide latitude to make transgressive jokes while preparing the program. While we make a lot of jokes, these jokes attributed to me, whether said in rehearsals or production meetings, are being taken out of context and were not said in the way being presented here." Here's the full story...

Colbert says he's "grateful to CNN for writing this article"

Colbert candidly addressed Melas's story on the air Wednesday night. Without saying Favale's name, he acknowledged that the exec "used to be the liaison to this show."

"He basically came with the building when I got this show and he used to be around here a lot," Colbert said. "Well, about six months into this show, some of our employees said that they were uncomfortable with some of the things that he said. So we took their complaints to HR. They investigated -- twice. But I don't really know what, if anything, happened."

I was struck by what Colbert said next: "It seemed like someone was protecting this guy. I don't know who it was. We eventually convinced the network to make a change." Meaning, he was shifted into a new role with less "Late Show" interaction.

"So I'm grateful to CNN for writing this article," Colbert said. "Because the press is not the enemy of the people. This is why you WANT a free press. This is why you want investigative journalism. It's to make sure that government and companies and people are accountable for their actions." He used that as a segue back to Kavanaugh...


 -- Two Fox News personalities have books on Amazon's top ten list right now: Tucker Carlson's "Ship of Fools" is No. 2 and Steve Doocy's family cookbook is No. 4. The forthcoming Trump parody book by "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" staff is holding steady at No. 1...

 -- Meantime, the weekly NYT bestseller list came out on Wednesday, and Bob Woodward's "Fear" is No. 1 for a third straight week... 

-- NYT opinion writer and editor Bari Weiss is writing a book: "The New Seven Dirty Words." Holt will publish it in winter 2020...

Barnes & Noble may sell itself

B&N fired its CEO a few months ago. Now its board has appointed a special committee to consider a sale. It is, as CNN's Nathaniel Meyersohn writes, a troubled company: "Sales have fallen at Barnes & Noble during each of the past four years. New tactics, such as smaller store formats and a kitchen concept, have struggled to win back shoppers." More here...

Bianna joins "CBS This Morning"

The CBS morning show has always had a three-person format... until now. Bianna Golodryga was introduced as a co-host on Wednesday morning, adding a fourth co-host chair to the set. The move makes a lot of sense: Golodryga is already on the show all the time as a fill-in host and/or correspondent...

BTW: "She will continue to work as a contributor to various CNN programs," Variety's Brian Steinberg notes...

CNN Business bows on Thursday

This is the last edition of a CNNMoney newsletter. But don't fret! Starting Thursday, you'll begin to see the CNN media team's bylines on CNN Business branding.

Yes, our biz site is relaunching... The "Money" name is a vestige of the days Time Warner owned Time Inc... So it's definitely time for a new name. Check out on Thursday to see the new look...

We're hiring!

This isn't related to the CNN Business launch, but it's excellent timing. The "Reliable Sources" team has a brand new opening for a TV producer -- here's the listing -- check it out and/or spread the word. We also have an opening for a writer/producer.



By Julia Waldow:

-- Wednesday's FEMA test came and went without much fuss. But this is still a fun read: Garrett M. Graff details "the long, strange history of the presidential text alert," with an entertaining anecdote about CNN's original preparation for "doomsday..." (Wired)

-- Bill Gates has backed a new recommendation app called Likewise, which launched Wednesday... (Axios)

-- The Guardian is relaunching its weekly edition as a newsmag, complete with a higher price and a larger focus on design and photos... The first edition will be out October 11... (Guardian)

-- Some Tennessee publishers and broadcasters are asking the state's Supreme Court to "overturn precedent and strengthen protection for the press" as part of a defamation case against Nashville TV reporter Phil Williams, Travis Loller reports... (AP)

You know a story is huge when...

The Times published its story about Trump family tax dodges on Tuesday afternoon. More than 32 hours later, it's still the lead story on

I guess the editors don't think it was "boring." That's the word Trump chose on Wednesday morning... and the word Sarah Sanders repeated on Wednesday afternoon... an attempt, I guess, to say "nothing to see here." While Sanders (at a rare W.H. briefing) said the story was "false," she didn't cite any specific falsehoods...

 >> The NYT's Wednesday statement: "This is a powerful piece of investigative journalism, the result of 18 months of inquiry and a review of over 100,000 pages of records. It is accurate and fair and we stand behind it."

Well played, Vanity Fair...

Robert Mueller is No. 1 on VF's 2018 New Establishment List. And "anonymous" is No. 99. WHO? The "senior official" who wrote that NYT op-ed. Here's the rest of the list...

Spotted at Variety's NYC party

I was Jamie's +1 to the Variety party celebrating the mag's New Power of New York list on Wednesday night. (That's why the letter is a little late!) Claudia Eller, Ramin Setoodeh and other Variety bigwigs were working the room. Spotted: Amber Ruffin and Michelle Wolf ribbing cover star Seth Meyers; Ronan Farrow deep in conversation with Monica Lewinsky; plus John Dickerson, Libby Leist, Harris Faulkner, Radhika Jones, Van Jones, Stephanie Ruhle, Ari Melber, Peppermint, Nina Diaz, Billy Porter, Ann Curry, Jeffrey Schneider, Ali Zelenko, Christa Robinson, Cindi Berger, Natalie Raabe, many more...


By Daniella Emanuel:

 -- CNN is hosting a day-long conference, "CITIZEN," in NYC later this month... (Variety)

 -- The WSJ created a cryptocurrency, "WSJCoin, a virtual token for the newspaper industry." In this documentary, the paper explores the cryptocurrency market through the creation of the coin... (WSJ

 -- THR's Tatiana Siegel looks into whether talent agencies have really changed for the better following the #MeToo movement...(THR)

 -- "The Chronicles of Narnia" is being made into a Netflix series...(Variety)

Keep an eye on this Jon Stewart project...

Jon Stewart is set to direct "Irresistible," a "political satire based on his original idea," Variety's Justin Kroll scooped on Wednesday. "Sources say Steve Carell is the top choice to star, though financing and scheduling needs to be worked out first." Plan B will produce it with Stewart. You'll recall Stewart's directorial debut was 2014's "Rosewater..."


First trailer for "Vice"

If you haven't watched this yet, check it out... It's the trailer for "Vice," the Adam McKay biopic about Dick Cheney. Christian Bale (above) plays Cheney, Amy Adams plays Lynne Cheney, Sam Rockwell plays George W. Bush, and the aforementioned Steve Carell plays Donald Rumsfeld. Here's Sandra Gonzalez's full story about the film... 

Lowry's "Venom" review

Brian Lowry emails: It's a bit of arcane history how Sony wound up with rights to Spider-Man -- Marvel, in dire financial trouble, sold them off -- and its collaborative deal with Marvel a few years ago was supposed to provide creative reinforcement. That emboldened the studio to embark on an aggressive expansion plan built around supporting characters, starting with "Venom," a colorful Spider-Man villain.

The movie, however, is being pummeled by critics -- including this one -- causing some to already question, perhaps prematurely, whether the initiative is going to have to be revisited or revised almost before it gets started...

Super #'s for "Last Man Standing"

One more from Brian Lowry: Now here's a statistic you don't see every day, in the age of declining network ratings: Fox counted up 11.5 million multiplatform viewers for the premiere of "Last Man Standing" -- the sitcom it picked up after ABC axed it -- representing the network's "most-watched Friday entertainment telecast in 18 years."

Friday, obviously, has been something of a black hole for the networks, other than CBS, with its older-skewing lineup. But that's still a pretty jaw-dropping stat. And for those wondering: The last Friday telecast to top "Last Man," per Fox? A broadcast of the movie "Home Alone 3" in 2000, while the previous series high was the game show "Greed" earlier that year...

"Who Is Michael Ovitz?"

With his new memoir "Who Is Michael Ovitz?" coming out, Ovitz and his fiancé Tamara Mellon sat down with THR for in-depth interviews... (THR)


By Lisa Respers France:

 -- Nicki Minaj has opened up about the domestic violence in her past.

 -- Stars are set to celebrate Mac Miller's life with a benefit concert. One notably absent name from the performers list: the rapper's former girlfriend, Ariana Grande...

 -- It was both Wednesday and "Mean Girls Day" so you know what that meant. Did you wear pink?

 -- Johnny Depp is still battling Amber Heard abuse allegations, and her attorney told me she's not happy about it...

Thanks for reading! I'll be back tomorrow. Email me with your feedback anytime...
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