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Your Monday Wake-Up Call: Who Wants to Buy Rolling Stone? Plus, Lena Dunham Says Sorry

By Published on .

Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital-related news. We've got a little news ourselves: You can now get an audio version of this briefing on your Alexa device. Click here, or search for "Ad Age" under "Skills" in the Alexa app.

What people are talking about today: You might have wondered how "Saturday Night Live" would tackle the issue of its star alumnus, comedian-turned-Senator Al Franken, being accused of kissing and groping a woman without her consent. The NBC show didn't let him off the hook, though it didn't totally skewer him, either. (Watch here.) SNL's "Weekend Update" segment broadcast the now-famous shot of Franken placing his hands over radio host Leeann Tweeden's breasts while she slept. "Now I know this photo looks bad, but remember, it also is bad," co-host Colin Jost said. "And sure, this was taken before Franken ran for public office, but it was also taken after he was a sophomore in high school. It's pretty hard to be like, 'Oh, come on, he didn't know any better. He was only 55.'" But did Franken deserve a bigger slap? "Franken himself could have come up with something funnier — or more damning — than what he got Saturday night," Newsday wrote. Ouch.

On sale now
Rolling Stone is up for sale. Who wants to buy it? Not necessarily who you might think. Recode reports that players looking at Rolling Stone as of Friday were Jay Penske, whose Penske Media Corporation includes Variety and Women's Wear Daily; Bryan Goldberg, who runs Bustle; and longtime music exec Irving Azoff. Recode says that "none of the big American publishing companies, like Hearst or Conde Nast, took a serious run at Rolling Stone." Some big legacy titles may wind up in unexpected hands. We're still waiting for developments on Meredith Corp.'s bid to buy Time Inc. Meredith reportedly has financial support from the Koch brothers, the industrialists better known for funding conservative causes.

Pizza gets political
"A year after the presidential election, a range of advertisers are learning that it doesn't take much — sometimes just a single Twitter post — to land them in the middle of a social media firestorm that splits along party lines," The New York Times writes. The paper takes a look at recent controversies that flared up for Papa John's pizza, Keurig coffee makers and Jim Bean bourbon. The Times says that "long-used strategies for how brands should respond to the ensuing outrage may need rewriting." You could also argue that the rules are being rewritten already – we live in an era in which Papa John's used Twitter to send a middle finger emoji to neo-Nazis.

Fallout X 2
Part 1: "Transparent" star Jeffrey Tambor, facing accusations of sexual harassment, told Deadline that "given the politicized atmosphere that seems to have afflicted our set, I don't see how I can return to 'Transparent,'" an original show on Amazon. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Part 2: Also, Lena Dunham apologized for defending a writer on her show "Girls" who was reportedly accused of sexual assault, CNN reports. "Until we are all believed, none of us will be believed," Dunham posted on Twitter. Dunham and her fellow "Girls" showrunner, Jenni Konner, had sparked an instant backlash by writing that their inside knowledge of the case "makes us confident that sadly this accusation is one of the 3% of assault cases that are misreported every year."

Just briefly:

The AMAs: The American Music Awards "tried to combat toxic masculinity" with performances by Pink, Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and lifetime-achievement honoree, Diana Ross, the Los Angeles Times writes.

Surprise: Maria Contreras-Sweet, who led the Small Business Administration under President Barack Obama, wants to acquire The Weinstein Company and instill a female-majority board, The Wall Street Journal reports.

TV executive killed: Adolfo Lagos, an executive with Mexican broadcaster Grupo Televisa, was shot and killed while biking near Mexico City, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Shopping: Alibaba Group made a $2.9 billion deal to buy a piece of Chinese supermarket chain Sun Art Retail, Bloomberg News reports. The deal will help it compete with Walmart in China.

ICYM: Newish San Francisco shop Erich and Kallman has been named agency of record for Fat Tire beer, Ad Age's E.J. Schultz writes.

Worth a read: Is marketing an "island surrounded by mirrors," with its own language and parallel universe? HP CMO Antonio Lucio, writing in Ad Age, asks marketers to ponder big questions.

Creativity of the day: It's Monday, so you may need to look at some videos of cute cats and babies. Amazon's Music Unlimited wants to show that life is better with the right music, and one of its new spots shows a baby riding on a robot vacuum cleaner while Chamillionaire's "Ridin'" plays. Watch it here and read more by Ad Age's Emma Hall.

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