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3:40 PM ET, December 20, 2017

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 Top News: 
Emily Steel / New York Times:
Two women who reached sexual harassment settlements with Bill O'Reilly have joined a defamation lawsuit against him and Fox News on Wednesday  —  Two women who reached sexual harassment settlements with Bill O'Reilly joined a defamation lawsuit against Mr. O'Reilly and Fox News on Wednesday …
Discussion: TVNewser, Mediaite, UPROXX and thecut
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Eriq Gardner / Hollywood Reporter:   Fox News settles lawsuit with Julie Roginsky, who alleged she was denied a co-hosting position after refusing to have a sexual relationship with Ailes
Gerry Smith / Bloomberg:
Companies from ESPN to Charter are cracking down on password-sharing, with TV industry losses from it estimated to rise from $3.5B in 2017 to $9.9B by 2021  —  Using someone else's credentials to stream for free will soon be a $10 billion problem for pay-TV companies.
Brian Stelter / CNNMoney:
Longtime E! host Catt Sadler has quit the channel, claiming a male co-host was earning nearly double her salary and the channel refused to correct the gap  —  Longtime E! channel host Catt Sadler says she is leaving the company due to a “massive” pay disparity.
Marc Hogan / Pitchfork:
Pitchfork reporter describes a demo of an interactive project with hand-tracking, designed for Magic Leap hardware in conjunction with rock band Sigur Rós  —  A first look at the billion-dollar company's potentially game-changing collaboration with Sigur Rós
Joe Pompeo / Vanity Fair:
Sources: potential Rolling Stone buyers include Penske Media plus owners of Playboy and The Hollywood Reporter and Kuok Meng Ru, founder of investor BandLab  —  After 50 years at his iconic magazine, Jann Wenner will soon be leaving the building, a hard act to follow.  Will Jay Penske take his place?
Discussion: Ad Age
RELATED:
Michael Calderone / Politico:   John Heilemann spoke to The Tony Kornheiser show about his future without collaborator Mark Halperin, said he hopes to continue as a “solo act” but that is TBD
Sahil Patel / Digiday:
Sources: Facebook is seeking stricter terms from publishers for its Watch platform, such as owning shows outright, as it negotiates multiple new deals  —  Facebook is increasingly asking for stricter terms for video shows it buys for Watch, including buying shows outright, sources said …
Anthony Ha / TechCrunch:
IAB data shows digital ad spending during first half of 2017 grew 23% YoY to $40.1B, as mobile ad revenue reached $21.7B or 54% of the total  —  Digital ad spending continued to grow during the first six months of 2017, according to the latest Internet Advertising Revenue Report.
Lucas Shaw / Bloomberg:
Netflix orders a sequel of the soon-to-be-released Will Smith film “Bright”, creating what's believed to be the first movie franchise of the streaming era  —  Will Smith buddy-cop film targets movie industry's breadbasket  —  Company's $8 billion budget includes 80-movie slate for 2018
Media Matters for America:
On Fox News show Outnumbered, aired Tuesday, contributor Kevin Jackson suggested the FBI might have planned to assassinate Donald Trump  —  Serial liar and conspiracy theorist Kevin Jackson suggests “social media” sources indicated a plot against Trump  —  From the December 19 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered:
Hillel Italie / Associated Press:
Author of Cat Person essay in New Yorker, Kristen Roupenian, gets a book deal from Scout Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster; sources says bidding was $1M+  —  https://apnews.com/1cd36ab0b349468493ec 25993e01d871  —  NEW YORK (AP) — The author of the online sensation “Cat Person” has a seven-figure book deal.
Bryan Curtis / The Ringer:
A look at the changes in tone SportsCenter has undergone and how the figure of Funny Highlight Guy, with his quips and catchphrases, has become obsolete  —  As ‘SportsCenter’ diminishes, a classic figure of modern sports media is becoming obsolete: the quip-happy anchor.  You might say, they're going ... going ... gone.
Press Gazette:
Sky News staff write letter to UK competition watchdog CMA, warning it that blocking 21st Century Fox-Sky deal would lead to closure of the channel  —  Staff at Sky News have piled into the debate over the broadcaster's potential takeover, warning the competition watchdog that blocking …
Variety:
Sources: the first round of bids for the Weinstein Company are due today, with Killer Content believed to be among the bidders  —  The Weinstein Co. sale process is heating up with the first round of bids due on Wednesday, according to industry sources.  Last month, the studio revived …
Discussion: The Wrap
Lev Garcia Flores / Associated Press:
Mexican reporter Gumaro Pérez was shot and killed in Veracruz on Tuesday by attackers while he was attending Christmas party at his son's school  —  XALAPA, Mexico (AP) — Attackers burst into an elementary school where a Christmas party was taking place and shot reporter Gumaro Perez …
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 More News: 
Lizzie Plaugic / The Verge:
MoviePass says it now has 1M paying users, up from an estimated 150K in August 2017, after it introduced cheaper subscription tiers
James Warren / Poynter:
Incoming NYT publisher A.G. Sulzberger sends “State of The Times” address to newsroom, says paper will try to maintain stable newsroom budget over two years
Tanya Dua / Business Insider:
Barstool Sports has named sports marketing veteran Deirdre Lester its first chief revenue officer
 Earlier Picks: 
New York Times:
Firm pulls out of $120K contract to provide media monitoring to EPA after report that top executive was investigating EPA staff critical of Trump administration
Jon Brodkin / Ars Technica:
Rep. Marsha Blackburn proposes bill to ban site blocking and throttling but allow fast lanes and bar FCC from regulating ISPs as common carriers under Title II
David Uberti / Splinter:
An audio recording of Ziff Davis executives' first meeting with Mashable staff sheds light on how the site is to be folded into existing e-commerce business
Charlie Warzel / BuzzFeed:
Prompted by the “de-badging” of Milo Yiannopoulos, internal emails show confusion among Twitter execs over user verification policies and meaning of the badge
Emil Protalinski / VentureBeat:
Google Chrome will start natively blocking ads that do not comply with Coalition for Better Ads guidelines on February 15