With the news that Discovery is buying HGTV owner Scripps (see No. 6, below) -- a tie-up Ad Age Deputy Editor Judy Pollack is (optimistically?) referring to as "Fixer Upper: Shark Week" -- some of cable TV's most reliably addictive time-wasters (er, I'm sorry, I should say engrossing, educational and inspiring shows) face consolidation. Who among us would not be willing (or at least able) to mindlessly while away a Saturday afternoon watching a marathon of "Property Brothers Naked and Afraid" or "Flip or Flop Alaska: The Last Frontier" -- not to mention Chip and Joanna Gaines (CGI versions of them) racing a great white shark (a real one this time)? I suppose I'm jumping the gun (and/or the shark). Anyway, let's get started ...
1. A bit of a stretch, Daily News, but OK, fine:
2. Just take his word for it: "Hoping to turn the page on a tumultuous opening chapter to his presidency, President Donald Trump insisted on Monday there is 'no chaos' in his White House as he swore in retired Marine Gen. John Kelly as chief of staff," per the AP's Catherine Lucey (via the Chicago Tribune). "Trump on Friday ousted Reince Priebus as chief of staff and turned to Kelly, whom he hopes will bring military discipline to an administration weighed down by a stalled legislative agenda, infighting among West Wing aides and a stack of investigations."
3. Speaking of the non-chaotic White House, a New Yorker rep tells me that Ryan Lizza's jaw-dropping interview with the new White House communications director -- "Anthony Scaramucci Called Me to Unload About White House Leakers, Reince Priebus, and Steve Bannon" -- set a record for newyorker.com in terms of concurrent visitors (100,000+) in the hours after its publication on Thursday and is now officially the site's most-read piece of 2017 so far, with 4.4 million unique visitors as of Sunday afternoon.
+ ICYMI: "Scaramucci's fed-up wife filed for divorce while nine months pregnant," per Page Six's Friday evening exclusive.
4. Is China the new Hillary Clinton?
I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2017
...they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2017
+ "Russia: US trying to 'shift responsibility' on North Korea," via The Hill.
5. Oh, you don't say? Per a David E. Sanger New York Times "news analysis" piece headlined "Putin's Hopes for Relief Under a Trump Presidency Backfire Spectacularly" (tweaked slightly to "Putin's Bet on a Trump Presidency Backfires Spectacularly" for this morning's print edition):
If the sanctions overwhelmingly passed by Congress last week sent any message to Moscow, it was that Mr. Trump's hands are now tied in dealing with Moscow, probably for years to come. Just weeks after the two leaders spent hours in seemingly friendly conversation in Hamburg, Germany, the prospect of the kinds of deals Mr. Trump once mused about in interviews seems more distant than ever. Congress is not ready to forgive the annexation of Crimea, nor allow extensive reinvestment in Russian energy.
6. "Discovery Communications Inc. agreed to buy Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. for $11.9 billion in a bet that uniting ownership of cable channels like Animal Planet and HGTV will help the company adapt to a fast-changing television landscape," per Bloomberg News. "Discovery's offer forced Viacom Inc. to abandon its own efforts to acquire Scripps, people with direct knowledge of the matter said last week."
7. And finally, R.I.P.: "Hollywood and Broadway React to Sam Shepard's Death," via The Hollywood Reporter.
Thanks to Judy Pollack, Jeanine Poggi, Laurel Wentz and Chen Wu for their roundup suggestions.
Simon Dumenco, aka Media Guy, is an Ad Age editor-at-large. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.