Nikki Finke exits Deadline Hollywood. FCC fines TBS for Conan promo.

Conan O’Brien
The FCC has issued a fine to TBS for a Conan O’Brien promo.

After the coffee. Before the Time Warner earnings call.

The Skinny: Caught an episode of “The Mindy Project” last night and was pleasantly surprised. The show, in my view, has been inconsistent but Tuesday it showed some of its early promise. I know. Who cares what I think? Wednesday’s roundup includes the latest (and I hope last) chapter on Nikki Finke vs. Jay Penske. Also, the FCC fines TBS for a Conan O’Brien promotion.

Daily Dose: We are at that point in the NFL season where NBC can start switching out of games it is scheduled to carry because they are no longer as appealing as when the schedule first came out. The network has already swapped a Packers-Giants game in favor of Chiefs vs. Broncos on Nov. 17. Don’t be surprised if they also try to bail on a Falcons-Packers game on Dec. 8.

PHOTOS: Behind the scenes of movies and TV


Finke breaks free. One of the biggest dramas in Hollywood journalism took a twist Tuesday night when entertainment news site Deadline Hollywood said it was parting ways with founder and editor Nikki Finke. The move is the latest and perhaps final chapter in the battle between Finke and Jay Penske, the budding media mogul who bought Deadline in 2009. While the two initially got along, when Penske bought Deadline rival Variety and didn’t give Finke a big role in running that outlet the relationship soured. Finke, who has been trying to break her contract for the last several months, plans to start her own news site. But it is unclear if Penske will try to stop her. More from the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and, of course, Deadline Hollywood.

Strong quarter. Time Warner, parent of Warner Bros., HBO and Turner Broadcasting (TBS, CNN, TNT), reported better-than-expected third-quarter results early Wednesday morning. Growth at the cable networks led the way, while Warner Bros. was down slightly because the third quarter of 2012 results included a “Dark Knight” movie. I’ll have more later after the analyst call but in the meantime here is the take from Bloomberg.

Busted! The FCC wants to fine cable channel TBS $25,000. You may be wondering, what, did TBS air a racy “Seinfeld” rerun? Next you may think, but wait, I thought the FCC didn’t have oversight over content on TBS. That’s true. But a recent promo for Conan O’Brien’s late-night show apparently included a mock emergency alert system distress signal and that is a big no-no. Presumably Turner will shell out the money, which is chump change, rather than spend far more in legal fees fighting the fine. Details from Broadcasting & Cable.

PHOTOS: Cable versus broadcast ratings


Standing by its story. A “60 Minutes” report about the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, has come under fire because of questions about the credibility of Dylan Davies, a security contractor who has come out with a book on his version of the incident. Lara Logan, the CBS correspondent who did the story, defended it to the New York Times. CBS News did acknowledge however that it goofed by not noting that Davies’ book was published by a sister CBS unit.

Say something! CNN’s recent ratings woes have once again raised the issue of whether the cable news channel needs to develop a view and a strong voice similar to Fox News and MSNBC. CNN tries to be middle-of-the-road and while that can boost ratings during a breaking news story, when viewers want to hear their views fed back to them, CNN’s numbers drop. USA Today looks at the issues facing CNN.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: John Horn on “The Armstrong Lie,” a documentary about disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong. Hoopla, a Netflix for public libraries, is coming to Los Angeles.

Follow me on Twitter. I’m your best option. @JBFlint.

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