Amazon grooms "Survivor" takes a hit from angry authors
Conrad Riggs will be joining Amazon, though plans to recreate his hit reality TV show “Survivor” with Amazon employee contestants is probably not in the cards. More likely, according to a GeekWire report, Riggs is expected to help Amazon bolster its video service and challenge Netflix. Amazon has already launched two comedies: "Alpha House” and “Betas”. Both were well received by critics, but neither has achieved the knock-out success of the Netflix hit “House of Cards”.
As it readies new shows for fall, here's a suggestion for Amazon execs. Why not turn the company's standoff with Hachette — the one that compelled 900-plus authors to sign a public letter demanding that Amazon resolve its differences with the book publisher — into a juicy soap? Those 900 writers, a group that includes high-fliers Stephen King, Sherman Alexie and Elizabeth Gilbert, will reprint their angry missive as a full-page New York Times ad this Sunday. "It is not right for Amazon to single out a group of authors, who are not involved in the dispute, for selective retaliation," wrote the author/victims.
Drowning in Green Lake
One man drowned in Green Lake Thursday night, and another is in critical condition after nearly drowning, according to KIRO-TV. It happened when a group of friends went for a late-night swim. The two men disappeared under the water. Because of poor visibility, it took a search team 30 minutes to find the first swimmer and 45 minutes to find the second. — M.L.
“Seattle process” leaves ferry shortage unfixed … is it time to rock the boat?
How will Washington avoid last week’s ferry fiasco? (You'll recall that the breakdown of the ferry Tacoma triggered a cascade of delays and reroutings. It was a mess.) According to a KUOW report, there’s no quick fix. The state’s slow, bureaucratic process makes it difficult to replace Washington’s fleet of geezer ferries (which could die any day). All ferries, by Washington law, must be built in state, with a portion of the work done by Washington apprentices. That well-intentioned rule limits the number of shipyards eligible to do the work, increases the cost and reduces the competition. And greenlighting new boats takes awhile, since lawmakers tend to approve — and argue over — funding for one new ferry at a time.
The good news is that there's a new Samish ferry is under construction. But that won't ease the short-term ferry shortage, because the Samish won’t be in service until early next year. — E.W.
Gov. Inslee & Insurance Commissioner strike deal to fix health exchange
Governor Jay Inslee and Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler have a deal to fix the billing problems that have plagued Washington’s Healthplanfinder for the past seven months. At least 6,000 accounts have been affected, according to The Columbian. Billing problems included lost money and information between the exchange and insurance companies and customers not being properly credited by the exchange for their insurance payments. Officials blame software issues and human errors. Under the new Inslee-Kreidler agreement, anyone experiencing technical difficulties with the health exchange may be able to bypass its payment system and pay their insurance companies directly. Steps to pursue this option can be found in this Washington Healthplanfinder press release.
WHO declares Ebola emergency, Ann Coulter rails
Spurred by West Africa’s Ebola outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international public health emergency on Friday. The death toll, approaching 1,000, prompted the “extraordinary” response. According to The New York Times, this is only the third time WHO has issued an emergency declaration of this kind.
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