that was quick
October 21, 2020

The ill-fated streaming service Quibi may already be shutting down.

Quibi Holdings LLC "is considering shutting itself down," The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. The company has reportedly hired a restructuring firm, which presented the board with "a list of options that included shutting the company down," the Journal says.

Meanwhile, The Information is also reporting that Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg has "told people in the industry that he may have to shut down the company." That report adds that Quibi employees "have said important strategy meetings have been cancelled," and they've even "informally been scheduling goodbye drinks." And The Wrap reports that the "expectation is that the company will shut down and return what remains of its investors' money."

Quibi, which means "quick bites," launched in April with original shows presented in short chunks available to watch exclusively on mobile devices. But it hasn't exactly been a smooth launch year. Users complained about not being able to see Quibi's shows on their TVs — a feature that was later added — and while the service was geared toward those looking for content to watch on the go, there was less of a need for that weeks after potential subscribers stopped commuting to work due to the pandemic.

Previously, the Journal reported that Quibi was set to to "sign up fewer than two million paying subscribers" by the end of its first year, coming in "well under its original target of 7.4 million." News of the service's possible shutdown comes after Politico reported that should Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden win the 2020 election, among those whose names are "being floated" for his Cabinet include Quibi CEO Meg Whitman.

Update: After this article was published, the Journal reported that Katzenberg has informed investors Quibi will be shutting down. Brendan Morrow

August 28, 2020

The Food and Drug Administration's top spokesperson is out after approximately one Scaramucci at the helm.

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn fired Emily Miller as the agency's assistant commissioner for media affairs and top spokesperson, according to emails he sent to senior leaders Friday. Miller just joined the department 11 days ago, and one of her first press releases contained an exaggeration regarding a coronavirus treatment that made it to President Trump's Republican National Convention speech, The New York Times reports.

Miller didn't have any scientific or medical experience when Trump appointed her, but rather worked for the far-right One America News and advocated for gun rights, Politico notes. But she was reportedly responsible for a Sunday press release announcing the FDA's emergency authorization of convalescent plasma as a COVID-19 treatment, packaging it as "another achievement in administration's fight against pandemic." Hahn admitted Tuesday he actually oversold the plasma treatment's effectiveness, but Trump still heralded it as a "powerful" treatment "that will save thousands and thousands of lives" at the RNC on Thursday.

The Department of Health and Human Services also ended its contract with public relations consultant Wayne Pines on Thursday. Pines told the Times he advised Dr. Hahn to "correct the record" regarding the misleading plasma claims. "If a federal official doesn't say something right, and chooses to clarify and say that the criticism is justified, that's refreshing," Pines said, and Hahn did so. Department officials claimed Pines' ouster had nothing to do with the plasma announcement, telling the Times it was already "reviewing and canceling similar contracts." Kathryn Krawczyk

December 27, 2019

A $1.4 trillion spending package President Trump signed into law Dec. 20 contained a provision ordering the Food and Drug Administration to raise the federal age to purchase tobacco products to 21, from 18, after six months of policy-crafting and a 90-day transition period. Well, the FDA isn't waiting until the fall of 2021. It's website already says "it is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product — including cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes — to anyone under 21."

The FDA's speedy policy shift, noticed Thursday by USA Today and other news organizations, was actually posted on Dec. 20 and tweeted out the following day. The spending package amended the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and the FDA says on its site that "if you sell tobacco products, you must comply with all applicable federal laws and regulations for retailers." For any confused retailers, the FDA says it "will provide additional details on this issue as they become available."

In 19 states and the District of Columbia, this shouldn't be an issue because the smoking age is already 21, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Peter Weber

January 9, 2019

The former Disney chief creative officer who was ousted due to sexual harassment allegations has already found himself a new gig.

John Lasseter, the animator who co-founded Pixar but left Disney in disgrace, has been hired to head Skydance Animation, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Skydance, the company that has co-produced recent Mission: Impossible and Star Trek films, has yet to release any animated movies but has several in development and has tapped Lasseter to steer the division. Skydance Media CEO David Ellison praised Lasseter Wednesday and said his "impact on the animation industry cannot be overstated."

Lasseter announced in November 2017, as the #MeToo movement was sweeping through Hollywood, that he would be taking a six-month sabbatical from Disney, citing "missteps." The Reporter wrote that Lasseter was known within Disney and Pixar for drinking excessively and making employees uncomfortable by grabbing and kissing them or commenting on their physical appearance. He referenced unwanted hugs in his letter announcing his leave of absence, though one employee told the Reporter, "If it was just unwanted hugs, he wouldn't be stepping down." Disney announced in June that Lasseter would officially exit at the end of 2018.

Now, Lasseter has almost immediately found himself another animation job. In a letter to employees, Ellison said that Lasseter has been "analyzing and improving his workplace behavior." He also revealed that he "hired outside counsel to thoroughly investigate the allegations." Though the company has "not entered into this decision lightly," Ellison says they're confident "that his mistakes have been recognized." Lasseter "has given his assurance that he will comport himself in a wholly professional manner," Ellison added. Lasseter is expected to begin his job later this month. Brendan Morrow

December 14, 2018

President Trump has just lost yet another potential chief of staff candidate.

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Friday released a statement taking himself out of consideration to replace White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.

"I've told the President that now is not the right time for me or my family to undertake this serious assignment," said Christie. "As a result, I have asked not to be considered for this post." He called it "an honor" to be considered.

Christie reportedly met with Trump about the role on Thursday evening, and Axios reported that he was a top contender. Bloomberg's Jennifer Jacobs reported later in the day that Christie was a "leading candidate," and The Washington Post's Josh Dawsey reports Trump considered him "a front-runner." CNN says, however, that Trump did not formally offer Christie the job.

When Trump announced that Kelly would be leaving the administration, Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, Nick Ayers, was reportedly the only person he had in mind to replace him, but Ayers turned down the job. Trump said Thursday he has five candidates in mind — apparently, according to one report, including his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. It remains to be seen when a decision will be made, but White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway recently suggested Kelly could end up staying in the job longer than expected. Brendan Morrow

May 15, 2017

Hillary Clinton just can't stay away. Months after her crushing loss to President Trump, Clinton officially jumped back into politics Monday with the introduction of Onward Together, a new political group that's "dedicated to advancing the progressive vision that earned nearly 66 million votes in the last election."

"This year hasn't been what I envisioned, but I know what I'm still fighting for: a kinder, big-hearted, inclusive America. Onward!" Clinton tweeted. She vowed that Onward Together would "work to build a brighter future for generations to come by supporting groups that encourage people to organize and run for office" through direct funding or messaging.

So, does this mean Clinton 2020? Becca Stanek

January 11, 2016

It's been a whirlwind romance for News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch and former model and actress Jerry Hall — after four months of dating, the pair became engaged over the weekend in Los Angeles.

The news was announced in The Times, a newspaper owned by Murdoch. They were introduced to each other by Murdoch's sister and niece in Australia, and made their public debut together in London in October at the Rugby World Cup final, People reports. Hall, 59, was involved with Mick Jagger from 1977 to 1999, and has four children with him. Murdoch, 84, divorced his third wife, Wendi Deng, in 2013. He has six children from his previous marriages. Catherine Garcia

February 5, 2015

It took Australian Suzy Walsham just 12 minutes and 30 seconds to win the 38th Empire State Building Run-Up Wednesday night for a record-setting sixth time.

First-time winner Christian Riedel of Germany took the men's competition at 10 minutes and 16 seconds. Racers climb up 1,576 steps, or about one-fifth of a mile vertically, to the building's 86th-floor observatory. To ensure that everyone can safely participate, elite groups go first, followed by the general field in staggered shifts, The Associated Press reports. Catherine Garcia

See More Speed Reads