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Writers, Studios "Encouraged" As They Meet Again Today; Rupert Muchoch Steps Down As Chair Of FOX & News Corp; Police: 1 Dead, Multiple Injured In New York Bus Crash; 96-Year-Old Judge Suspended For "Serious Misconduct"; Police: 1 Dead, Multiple Injured When Bus Carrying High School Students Overturns in NY; Blue Star Welcome Week For Military Families Kicks Off. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired September 21, 2023 - 14:30   ET




BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Now to the writers' strike and what may be a new glimmer of hope in Tinsel Town. For the second straight day, striking writers are meeting with the heads of four major studios.

The person familiar with yesterday's talks tells CNN that attendees left, quote, "feeling encouraged."

The standoff has now dragged on for more than 140 days. And the estimated costs are pushing towards $6 billion across multiple industries.

Joining us now is Sara Fischer. She's a CNN media analyst and senior media reporter for "Axios."

Sara, these negotiations under way with the writers could have a big impact on content produced and it could be something for the actors' strike as well?

SARA FISCHER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Absolutely. If they can get it done, it means they can pivot their attention toward that other strike, the ongoing strike with the actors.

The thing is note is today is a pivotal moment. Writers and producers met first time yesterday in over a month as tensions were growing bigger. They restarted negotiations today.

If we don't get a deal soon, it's likely this strike could go on towards maybe even end of the year.

So if you think about what it's already done to fall TV production, pushing shows out to 2024, imagine if it goes through end of the year? Talking about award shows potentially pushed, more movies pushed into later 2024.

It would not only wreak havoc for a lot of these Hollywood, companies but it consumers who are waiting for new shows to hit their streaming services and hit their linear TV networks. SANCHEZ: In terms of timing, if things play out really well in

negotiations and the strike lifts, how soon can these workers, these writers and actors, get back to production?

FISCHER: It's aa good question. It depends. Part of the reason why it depends is because you have the actors' strike still ongoing. So for some scripted television, it can't get back to work right away until the actors can resume.


But for things like late-night shows or talk shows in the daytime that only require writers and no actors, they could probably get back to work right away.

But, again, the meeting was held this morning at 9:00 a.m. Pacific time. It should be wrapping right now. We were supposed to get some insight by around 2:00 p.m. But no word yet on whether or not there's a deal.

SANCHEZ: Sara, while we have you, I wanted to pivot to the other big media news being that Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of FOX and News Corp, is stepping down or taking on a new role. He's now chairman emeritus.

Do we anticipate he's still going to have his fingerprint on conservative media the way he does now?

FISCHER: We do. He said he will be, quote, "daily involved" in both operations at FOX and News Corp, even as he moves into this emeritus role.

The other thing to keep in mind is the person who will become the sole chair of both companies is his son, Lachlan Murdoch, who tends to have the same world view as Rupert. It's something that Rupert Murdoch espoused today in his note to staff.

The main question becomes, what's the largest succession plan for Rupert Murdoch? Even though he steps back out of the chairman role, he's a 92-year-old executive.

So I think there's a large looming question around what happens after he passes to his empire.

SANCHEZ: And taking a step back, you have to appreciate the amount of influence he's had, not only in cable news across the media landscape and in politics, too.

FISCHER: Absolutely. FOX supported Donald Trump in the critical 2016 election.

And you will recall FOX being the first to call the election in favor of Joe Biden in 2020. It has a huge implication of politics for the last two years. It's actually caused a huge rift between Donald Trump and the Murdoch family. Big picture, Rupert Murdoch, a populist, conservative, has owned a

global empire of media outlets. A lot of these hard news outlets, like the "Wall Street Journal," for example, they produce hard editorial straight news.

But their opinion sections have been very influential for Republicans over the years. So it will be curious to see how this moves forward as he steps into a new role.

SANCHEZ: Sara Fischer, always great to get your perspective. Thanks.

FISCHER: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Of course.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Still to come on CNN NEWS CENTRAL, a 96- year-old federal judge gets benched. We'll explain why, just ahead.



SANCHEZ: Just into CNN, we're following breaking news out of Orange County, New York, where there has been a deadly bus crash.

Want to get to CNN's Polo Sandoval who has been following the latest details.

Polo, what are you hearing?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Boris. We've reached out to multiple sources and also multiple officials. But at this point, based on what we've been able to confirm with New York State Police, this is a significant, a major bus crash that took place shortly after 1:00 p.m.

As a result, according to New York State Police, one person dead, multiple injuries, we are told, by state police. In fact, most of them -- several of them having to have had to be air evacuated from the scene there.

We are working to get you also pictures. And in those images, you will eventually be able to see a bus on its side in a heavily wooded area just off of -- about 16 miles northwest of New York City, where this accident took place in Orange County, New York.

You're able to see -- you will eventually be able to see the bus on its side in that wooded area. Apparently, careened into an embankment here as authorities are still at what is a very active scene.

But again, based on the preliminary information directly from New York State police, we now understand at least one person dead, multiple injuries.

And still a very fluid scene unfolding there in Orange County after this major bus crash that took place shortly after 1:00 p.m., according to authorities.

Just to wrap things up here, Boris, it appears to be on Interstate 84. A portion of that is shut down near Exit 15A.

Back to you.

SANCHEZ: We're going to stay on top of this story and bring you all the latest details.

Polo Sandoval, thanks so much for the update.


KEILAR: The oldest judge in America has been barred from hearing any new cases over concerns that she can no longer do her job. Judge Pauline Newman is 96 years old, and she was appointed to her position by President Ronald Reagan nearly 40 years ago.

We have CNN senior Supreme Court analyst, Joan Biskupic, following the story.

This is pretty unusual here. What can you tell us about it?

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SENIOR SUPREME COURT ANALYST: Yes, highly unusual. Especially the way it's playing out publicly. We've had a lot of talk about age and competency of public officials. Senators in their 80s and 90s. Presidential contenders aged 80 and 77. And this is a judge who, as you say, is 96.

What happened yesterday is that the judicial counsel in the federal circuit where she sits issued an order that suspended her for a year. And what they said was they had been investigating her, interviewing more than 20 people, looking at her emails, and found she is not able to do the job.

The point to evidence of memory loss and confusion.

And here's one particular paragraph from the long report: "With no rational reason other than frustration over her own confusion, Judge Newman threatened to have staff arrested, forcibly removed from the building and fired.

"She accused staff of trickery, deceit, acting as her adversaries, stealing her computer, stealing her files and depriving her of secretarial support."

This order yesterday, Brianna, specifically arose from Judge Newman's refusal to take some medical evaluations.

I talked to her lawyer today. He said, you know, it's OK if somebody wants to investigate a judge but don't have it done within her own circuit.


The federal circuit right here in Washington, D.C., specializes in patent cases. It's one of about a dozen U.S. appellate courts right below the Supreme Court. Its appeals go up to the U.S. Supreme Court. A powerful court.

Her lawyer said was, you know, do this the proper way with due process of law. Send it to another circuit.

So Judge Newman is going to seek broader review of yesterday's order from a larger judicial conference. It's made up of judges throughout the country. And also, there's a case pending in federal district court as she seeks to be restored to her duties on the federal circuit.

KEILAR: It sounds like they're describing some paranoid behavior and maybe some behavior that's actually out of character for her.

BISKUPIC: Right. It's tough. You know, look, she's 96. There would naturally -- we can presume, there might be some age issues.

But she is saying herself and through her lawyers is that she's still competent to do the job. And if she's not, it should not be assessed by her colleagues who are serving as the complainers, the judge and jury. And it should be done outside of the circuit.

KEILAR: All right, we'll keep looking at this. Very interesting.

Joan Biskupic, thank you.

BISKUPIC: Thank you.

KEILAR: Boris?

SANCHEZ: We just got new information about the breaking news we brought to you a moment ago, the deadly bus crash in Orange County, New York.

We're looking at live photos now of what looks like a bus that careened off the side of a road and wound up in a wooded area.

We have CNN's Polo Sandoval back with us.

Polo, there are also new details about whose was onboard the bus. What can you tell us?

SANDOVAL: Yes. Boris, as we look at these images from our affiliate, WABC, we can confirm, according to authorities, that bus was carrying students from Farmingdale High School on Long Island.

They were headed reportedly to a music event for band camp when this crash, when this actually took place here in Orange County, New York, earlier this afternoon. That's according to a spokesperson from the high school, confirming to CNN.

Again, the bus you're looking at right there, just off Interstate 84, on its side in a wooded area. Reportedly carrying multiple students.

And now, according to New York State Police, at least one person confirmed dead as a result of this accident. You see that charter bus on its side appearing to have careened out of the highway and into that embankment here.

Of course, there's so many questions, especially about the people that were injured, and also certainly the cause.

But at this point, according to authorities, this is a bus that was transporting a team of students from Farmingdale High School on Long Island.

As we continue to gather more specifically from the school district, which just released a statement saying they also have been informed this was a bus on its way to Pennsylvania, Boris, for band camp when this accident took place.

SANCHEZ: Difficult to look at, some of those live images, especially when you see things like backpacks and the debris that was strewn by in that area.

We're looking at where it appears officials are setting up some kind of triage.

We'll stay on top of the story.

Polo Sandoval, please, keep us up to date with the latest that you're learning from officials.

Stay tuned to CNN NEWS CENTRAL. We're back in just a few minutes.



KEILAR: Today, on "HOME FRONT," Blue Star Welcome Week kicks off this weekend when communities all around the country are helping military families feel more welcome as they get settled into their new cities and towns.


JESSI BRITT, BLUE STAR MOM: Welcome Week was really a saving grace. We met some amazing people. We've had awesome experiences. It's been wonderful.

I even volunteer with Blue Star Families now. We're big on giving back, especially with the kids.


KEILAR: In honor of this big week, we've enlisted the local chapters of the nonprofit Blue Star Families, which, full disclosure, I'm on the board of -- to help us with a friendly little CNN NEWS CENTRAL competition to see which one of our home or adopted states or territories is doing the best job.

SANCHEZ: I'm telling you right now, I have zero doubt, I'm fully confident --


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: New York is going to win.


SANCHEZ: The Sunshine State of Florida.

KEILAR: D.C., baby.

SANCHEZ: Florida is winning this competition.

We have tons of military families. The three-time Stanley Cup winning Tampa Lightning are rolling out the red carpet for them. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Blue Star Families. We're here with the Tampa Bay Lightning to welcome you to Tampa Bay.

Join our Blue Star Welcome Week.


ZACH BOGOSIAN, TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING PLAYER: Hey military families. This is Zach Bogosian with Tampa Bay Lightning. Welcome to the area. Hope to see you at a game soon.

NICK PERBIX, TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING PLAYER: I'm Nick Perbix with Tampa Bay Lightning. I want to give a big Tampa welcome to the military veterans and families to our area.

VICTOR HEDMAN, TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING PLAYER: Hi. I'm Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Light. And this is Blue Star Welcome Week.


SANCHEZ: Look, you can try, but you can't compete with the natural beauty of Florida. The beaches, the weather, the people. It's great for military families who get to call it home for a few years.

There are so many military bases in Florida, too. Tampa calls itself "Military Bay."

SCIUTTO: Yes, OK. On the right there in blue, all-American blue, the best city in the world, New York City. Happens to be my hometown. Clearly where it's at.

As part of the Blue Star Welcome Week, military families get to visit the Statue of Liberty. Who can compete with that?

Families of servicemembers have been invited as well to ring the opening bell at the NASDAQ and the New York Stock Exchange. What happens there? A fair amount of money runs through those places.


And you know, in New York, we are tough. We band together. Military families give back, cleaning up the beaches on Staten Island and tackling food insecurity among military families as well.


ERICA NEWHOUSE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NEW YORK TRI-STATE CHAPTER OF BSF: The food pantry I'm sitting in today got started by a Coast Guard spouse, Andy Cokely.

This program is special because it's a group effort. Blue Star Families work in partnership with the Staten Island Giving Circle, local community partners, volunteers with AmeriCorps, Rolling Thunder.

They've all pulled together their resources to help families stationed at Fort Hamilton and the Staten Island area supplement their food and make it to the next paycheck.


KEILAR: It's pretty tough competition. I'll admit it, you guys.

But I really think the D.C. area is going to win this. The spirit of our nation's capital, they know how to welcome military families, including in our local schools that go out of their way to support military-connected kids.

Meet Julia Kim, an eighth-grade student ambassador in northern Virginia, who is helping other military kids feel at home.


JULIA KIM, FROST MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENT: In total, I think I moved eight times. We have a special program called Masters. We specialize in people who move here during the middle of the year or not at the start of the year.

We give special welcomes to them. We help them walk through their schedule and we have one-on-one sessions with them to help them feel welcome.

I do this because I think it's important that I can support others who go through the same things as me. I can empathize with military kids because I moved around a lot.


KEILAR: Also D.C., what is cooler than visiting your own commander-in- chief at the White House?


KEILAR: Military families get to go to the famous White House Easter Egg Roll.

Give me some love. I want some love on my gauge. I want some lover on my gauge.


KEILAR: Come on. How are we doing?

SANCHEZ: Florida is doing pretty well. Florida is on top.

KEILAR: No, no, no. I need more.


SCIUTTO: New York City best city in the world.


KEILAR: Bring it up.

You know what, I have a thing. I have a thing in my pocket that pushes D.C. over the top. You have to see how our Washington Nationals recognize military families.

SCIUTTO: Been there for this.

KEILAR: Right. You've heard of the seventh inning stretch. We have the fourth inning salute to service.


KEILAR: At every game, they recognize servicemembers and their families.

Look at this. Check out this dual first pitch at the Nats' game this past July Fourth. A family member threw out their first pitch together while they were separated during a deployment.

SCIUTTO: Oh, wow.


COL. MATTHEW CLAUSEN, U.S. AIR FORCE: Hey, good afternoon. I'm Colonel Matthew Clausen. I'm throwing out the first pitch for the Nationals game from Qatar.



KEILAR: Complete with an appearance in Qatar from Screech the mascot as Colonel Clausen's family were in D.C. And his sons, Brady, Colby and Bryce, threw out the first pitch.

SCIUTTO: Oh, that's too great. That's very cool.

SANCHEZ: That's awesome.

KEILAR: Screech is a scary mascot. (CROSSTALK)

SCIUTTO: I would say Mr. Met is better.

KEILAR: Who's winning? Come on.

SCIUTTO: There we go.

SANCHEZ: Finally.

KEILAR: Florida, no.

SANCHEZ: Shining as it should.


SCIUTTO: This is rigged.


KEILAR: It might be rigged.

SANCHEZ: At least she admits it.

SCIUTTO: New York didn't have to be third.


KEILAR: First in our hearts.

Welcome Blue Star Families.

And we'll be right back.