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CBS is bringing its majority shareholder, National Amusements, to court Wednesday to fight for independence and stop a merger with cable network Viacom, also owned by National Amusements. At the same time, it’s also hosting its annual UpFront advertising presentation in New York Wednesday evening to convince advertisers that everything is fine.

Why it matters: It’s a historic split-screen moment for CBS. In one state it's fighting to lure marketers to save its linear TV business, and in another it's fighting a merger that would expand its linear TV business.

The bigger picture: A volatile media landscape is forcing rapid consolidation among media networks, tech companies and telecom providers. CBS wants to maintain its linear TV business, which brings in billions of advertising dollars, while also setting itself up for the future of TV: digital streaming.

  • The lawsuit, which CBS dropped spontaneously Monday, catching Redstone off guard, is meant to give CBS the freedom it wants to make merger decisions independently.
  • Sources tell Axios CBS would much rather tie its future to a company with a distribution arm, like a tech or telecom company, than a cable network like Viacom with long-tail channels that they think would bring it down in future retransmission fights with Pay-TV providers.

CBS also announced its new primetime lineup ahead of its Upfront presentation Wednesday, adding eight new series (five for the fall) and the return of the popular show ""Murphy Brown."

  • CBS' goal for the presentation is to tout its new primetime programming, the success of its longtime sports business, and its newer streaming businesses — CBS All Access and CBS Sports HQ.

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Updated 12 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 18,185,015 — Total deaths: 691,303 — Total recoveries — 10,836,439Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 4,711,323 — Total deaths: 155,366 — Total recoveries: 1,513,446 — Total tests: 57,543,852Map.
  3. Politics: White House will require staff to undergo randomized coronavirus testing — Pelosi says Birx "enabled" Trump on misinformation.
  4. Sports: 13 members of St. Louis Cardinals test positive, prompting MLB to cancel Tigers series — Former FDA chief says MLB outbreaks should be warning sign for schools.
  5. 1 🎥 thing: "Tenet" may be the first major film to get a global pandemic release.

In photos: Thousands evacuated as Southern California fire grows

A plane makes a retardant drop on a ridge at the Apple Fire north of Banning in Riverside County, which "doubled in size" Saturday, per KTLA. Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A massive wildfire that prompted mandatory evacuations in Southern California over the weekend burned 26,450 acres and was 5% contained by Monday afternoon, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

The big picture: As California remains an epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., some 15 separate fires are raging across the state. About 7,800 people were under evacuation orders from the Apple Fire, about 75 miles east of Los Angeles, as hundreds of firefighters battled the blaze. CalFire said Monday that a malfunction involving a "diesel-fueled vehicle emitting burning carbon from the exhaust system" started the Apple Fire.

Twitter faces FTC fine of up to $250 million over alleged privacy violations

Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket

The Federal Trade Commission has accused Twitter of using phone numbers and emails from its users to make targeted ads between 2013 and 2019, Twitter said in an SEC filing published Monday.

Why it matters: Twitter estimates that the FTC's draft complaint, which was sent a few days after its Q2 earnings report, could cost the company between $150 million and $250 million. The complaint is unrelated to the recent Twitter hack involving a bitcoin scam.