Some things I think you should know: The Trump team gets along really, really well! (See No 2, below.) Steve Bannon was a major Hollywood dealmaker! (No. 3.) Strongman duo Chop & Steele are very strong! (No. 7.) And the outfit you're wearing is totally on point! (No. 5.) Anyway, let's get started ...
1. ICYMI elsewhere on AdAge.com, Anthony Crupi has the story on this week's medialand carnage: "ESPN Cuts 100 Household Names as Rights Fees, Viewer Habits Eat Into Profits." Elsewhere, the New York Post turns to former ESPN host Colin Cowherd (now at Fox Sports, a Post corporate sibling) for a grim assessment: "Colin Cowherd: This 'awful' day is only the beginning for ESPN."
2. Politico is out this morning with "The education of Donald Trump," a story by Josh Dawsey, Shane Goldmacher and Alex Isenstadt that tries to make sense of the first 100 days (this Saturday) of the Trump administration and amusingly starts with the president trying his hardest to spin Politico:
He took it upon himself to explain that his presidency was actually on track, inviting a pair of Politico reporters into the Oval Office for an impromptu meeting. ... He addressed the idea that his senior aides weren't getting along. He called out their names and, one by one, they walked in, each surprised to see reporters in the room -- chief of staff Reince Priebus, then chief strategist Steve Bannon, and eventually senior adviser Jared Kushner. "The team gets along really, really well," he said.
Spoiler: Trump's spin didn't quite take; the Politico story is stocked with lines such as "So far, Trump has led a White House gripped by paranoia and insecurity, paralyzed by internal jockeying for power."
3. Another amusing profile by way of Trumpland: "How Hollywood Remembers Steve Bannon," by Connie Bruck in the May 1 New Yorker. A small taste:
People in Hollywood were bewildered by Bannon's story of himself as a major dealmaker. "I never heard of him, prior to Trumpism," the media mogul Barry Diller told me. "And no one I know knew him in his so-called Hollywood period."
4. "Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission announced the first step in its plan to kill net neutrality," James Vincent of The Verge writes in a post headlined "Kill net neutrality and you'll kill us, say 800 US startups." Vincent points out that "You won't hear Comcast or Verizon complaining, of course -- this benefits them. But young tech companies who need a level playing field on the internet to succeed are up in arms. After FCC chairman Ajit Pai made yesterday's announcement, a group of more than 800 startups sent him a letter objecting to the plans."
5. Amazon is making headlines with its AI-powered "fashion assistant" gadget that you didn't know you needed (probably because you really don't actually need it): "Amazon's $200 Echo Look will judge your outfits," per CNN. Wait, what does that mean? Let's try that again. "Amazon's $200 selfie cam will tell you you're pretty," per BGR.com. OK, that's more like it.
6. Axios has the scoop this morning on the new slogan for BuzzFeed News -- "Reporting to You" -- plus an internal email from Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith explaining it.
7. And finally, the top story this morning on the website of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, "Western Wisconsin TV station owner suing over morning show prank," is getting shared a lot nationally because, well, you'll understand when you play the Chop & Steele video below. (A copy of the video on Streamable also landed on the Reddit home page this morning, adding to Chop & Steele mania.) Background from the Press:
The owner of an Eau Claire television station didn't find an early morning prank last November too funny. Instead of laughing, the people behind Atlanta-based Gray Television, which owns WEAU-TV, filed a federal lawsuit earlier this month in New York against The Found Footage Festival, Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher, all of New York. ... Pickett and Prueher appeared on "Hello Wisconsin" on Nov. 29 as the "fake strongman duo Chop & Steele and performed ridiculous bits and provided false information to WEAU viewers," the suit contends.
Serious question: What brand will be the first to hire Chop & Steele as pitchmen?
Simon Dumenco, aka Media Guy, is an Ad Age editor-at-large. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.