packed concert schedule, selling tickets to people who may have already binge-watched all of “Below Deck.” The second, however, suggests that people aren’t as eager to get back to huffing and puffing at the gym as they are content to exercise at home. As restrictions lift and people feel safer in crowds, drinking and dancing appear to be higher priorities.

new book, “Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment,” the Princeton psychology professor and Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, along with co-authors Olivier Sibony and Cass Sunstein, argue that these inconsistencies have enormous and avoidable consequences. Kahneman spoke to DealBook about how to hone judgment and reduce noise.

DealBook: What is “noise” in this context?

Kahneman: It’s unwanted and unpredictable variability in judgments about the same situations. Some decisions and solutions are better than others and there are situations where everyone should be aiming at the same target.

Can you give some examples?

A basic example is the criminal justice system, which is essentially a machine for producing sentences for people convicted of crimes. The punishments should not be too different for the same crime yet sentencing turns out to depend on the judge and their mood and characteristics. Similarly, doctors looking at the same X-ray should not be reaching completely different conclusions.

How do individuals or institutions detect this noise?

You detect noise in a set of measurements and can run an experiment. Present underwriters with the same policy to evaluate and see what they say. You don’t want a price so high that you don’t get the business or one so low that it represents a risk. Noise costs institutions. One underwriter’s decision about one policy will not tell you about variability. But many underwriters’ decisions about the same cases will reveal noise.

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    After Media Detour, AT&T Confronts Old Problems

    “It would have been an amazing merger,” said David Barden, a senior research analyst at Bank of America. “It would have kind of perpetuated the AT&T juggernaut of growth through acquisition — not through organic — but it failed.”

    Mr. Stephenson then looked to the attractive profit margins found in media and entertainment. In 2014, he announced a deal for DirecTV, a transaction that he promised would “redefine the industry.”

    But AT&T bought into the pay-TV industry at its peak. Not long after it acquired the satellite service, consumers left in droves.

    “One thing they didn’t — they could not have anticipated, was that 2014 was the last year linear video would grow,” Mr. Barden, referring to the cable TV business. “Because who was out there in the wings? This little company called Netflix.” Customers began to cut their cords and cable subscriptions began their descent.

    Then came Time Warner. Numerous analysts pointed out that owning a company that makes money by distributing shows and films as widely as possible wouldn’t give AT&T any advantage. In other words, it would still have to license HBO and CNN to rivals like Verizon’s television service, or to cable giants like Comcast. AT&T would have a hard time justifying keeping the content for itself.

    The Justice Department sued AT&T to block the deal, but it lost its case in court.

    Makan Delrahim, the former Justice Department antitrust chief who oversaw the suit, said in an interview that AT&T’s rampant deal making was a “classic case” of corporate misbehaving. The company “did a series of mergers and acquisitions and really were not rational for their business execution,” he said, “T-Mobile, DirecTV and Time Warner. And this is the result.”

    Mr. Whitacre, the founding chief executive of the modern AT&T, offered another view.

    “The deals we made while I was chairman — which was a long time — was acquiring the businesses that we were familiar with, the businesses we were in,” he said in an interview. “And when I left, that changed.”

    Mr. Whitacre, who is still an AT&T shareholder, said he liked the Discovery deal, getting the company back to “where we came from, if you would.”

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    How AT&T Got Here, and What’s Next.

    AT&T is painting a rosy picture for the future of its media business, which it will spin off and merge with Discovery. That new streaming giant is a formidable stand-alone competitor to Netflix and Disney. The move leaves AT&T to focus on its telecom business, which looks less bright after being overshadowed by its expensive — and ultimately futile — deal-making binge in media and entertainment under its previous chief, Randall Stephenson.

    The DealBook newsletter explains how AT&T got here, in three key deals:

    • A $39 billion bid to buy T-Mobile. After regulatory pushback, in 2011 AT&T walked away from an effort to become the country’s largest wireless company. T-Mobile paired up instead with Sprint, and the two went on to buy huge amounts of spectrum in the high-stakes battle for 5G, leaving AT&T behind as it lobbies regulators to step in. The failed deal hit AT&T with a $3 billion dollar breakup fee, at the time the largest ever.

    • The $67 billion acquisition of DirectTV. In 2015, AT&T bet on cable TV as a way to amass customers whom it could eventually convert to streaming. But DirectTV bled subscribers as customers cut the cord, and AT&T unloaded a stake in the company last year to TPG that valued DirectTV at about a third of its acquisition price. The deal also cost AT&T about $50 million in advisory fees, according to Refinitiv.

    • The $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner. In 2018, Stephenson called the deal a “perfect match,” but the combined group struggled to invest in its telecom business while also spending enough to compete with the entertainment specialists at Netflix and Disney. Three years later, AT&T is now spinning off the company so it can (re)focus on its quest for 5G market share. AT&T paid $94 million in advisory fees to put the two companies together and an estimated $61 million to split them apart.

    buy another independent studio, MGM.

    In a sign of the pressure that players face to spend big to bulk up, shares in Comcast, the telecom company that owns NBCUniversal, fell 5.5 percent on Monday.

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    MGM Looks to Amazon as the Hollywood Studio Tries to Find a Buyer

    Streaming has become fiercely competitive, with Disney+ coming on strong and HBO Max, Apple TV+ and Paramount+ determined to make inroads. That has pushed the original streaming disrupters — Netflix and Amazon Prime Video — to lean harder on broad-appeal movies to keep growing, particularly overseas.

    The 58-year-old James Bond franchise is a Hollywood crown jewel that has generated tens of billions of dollars in ticket sales, home entertainment revenue, video games and marketing partnerships. But 007 has been both an enticement and a deterrent to prospective MGM bidders.

    That is because MGM owns only 50 percent of the spy franchise. The balance is held by Barbara Broccoli and her brother, Michael G. Wilson. Through their company, Eon, which stands for Everything or Nothing, the siblings also have ironclad creative control, approving every line of dialogue, casting decision, stunt sequence, TV ad, poster and billboard. Bond has enormous untapped value, with television offshoots as one potential bonanza. But Ms. Broccoli and Mr. Wilson, worried about adulterating the brand, have blocked spinoff efforts in the past: Bond belongs on big screens, not small ones.

    “If we get the wrong partners, there are liable to be conflicts,” Mr. Wilson said in a 2015 interview.

    “No Time to Die,” the 25th installment in the Bond series, cost about $250 million to make and is scheduled for pandemic-delayed release in theaters on Oct. 8. (The previous film, “Spectre,” took in about $900 million worldwide in 2015.) The role of James Bond is expected to be recast after “No Time to Die,” as Daniel Craig leaves the role after 15 years.

    Amazon’s entertainment strategy has evolved as streaming services have proliferated. Indie films like “Manchester by the Sea” and unconventional shows like “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Transparent” gave Amazon a foothold in Hollywood; domination will require a steady supply of mainstream hits.

    The problem: Amazon Studios has limited bandwidth, most of which is tied up with television series — including a coming “Lord of the Rings” adaptation that is believed to be the most expensive show ever made, with a one-season budget of $465 million. To stock its shelves with big movies, Amazon has been turning to outside suppliers. It paid $125 million for the rights to “Coming 2 America” and $80 million for “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.” In July, Amazon will release “The Tomorrow War,” a science-fiction spectacle it bought for $200 million.

    Nicole Sperling contributed reporting.

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    AT&T’s WarnerMedia Group to Merge With Discovery

    It’s as if Logan Roy, the fictional patriarch of the Waystar Royco media empire on HBO’s popular series “Succession,” masterminded the deal himself: AT&T has thrown in the towel on its media business and decided to spin it off into a new company that will merge with Discovery Inc.

    The transaction will combine HBO, Warner Bros. studios, CNN, TNT, TBS and several other cable networks with a host of reality-based cable channels from Discovery such as Oprah Winfrey’s OWN, HGTV, the Food Network and Animal Planet.

    But it raises numerous questions about what that will mean for popular shows and streaming platforms, whether entertainment bills will go up or down, or what will happen to the people working at WarnerMedia and Discovery.

    WarnerMedia is known for producing some of the industry’s biggest theatrical and television hits.

    HBO last year captured more Emmys than any other network, studio or platform, and its hit shows include “Succession,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.” It also has a huge library that includes “The Sopranos,” “Game of Thrones” and “Sex and the City.”

    Netflix, the industry leader, has over 200 million subscribers, and everyone else is far behind.

    Both WarnerMedia and Discovery have invested heavily in streaming. WarnerMedia has spent billions building HBO Max, which together with the HBO cable network has about 44 million customers. Discovery has 15 million global streaming subscribers, most of them for its Discovery+ app.

    The companies plan to invest more in both services to get those numbers much higher. David Zaslav, the chief executive of Discovery, who will run the new business, said on Monday that he envisioned hundreds of millions of subscribers around the world, but that will be tough as Netflix and Disney invest in new shows of their own to keep a grip on the market.

    Jason Kilar, who was hired to run AT&T’s media group only last year, is most likely on his way out. He was kept in the dark about the deal until a few days ago, and he has hired a legal team to negotiate his departure, according to two people briefed on the matter.

    But it could mean the elevation of other executives within WarnerMedia. On Monday, Mr. Zaslav praised Toby Emmerich, the head of the film division, Casey Bloys, who runs HBO, and Jeff Zucker, the leader of CNN. Mr. Zucker and Mr. Zaslav are also longtime golfing buddies.

    When asked about his plan for the management team, Mr. Zaslav said he would not favor Discovery executives.

    “Philosophically, our view is we don’t know better,” he said. “There’s a reason WarnerMedia is where it is today.”

    The companies expect the deal to be finalized in the middle of next year, and they anticipate annual cost savings of $3 billion. That usually means layoffs are coming.

    WarnerMedia already went through several rounds of deep staff cuts after AT&T’s purchase of the company in 2018 as Mr. Stankey, who led the unit for a time, slimmed down the operations. Executives and managers were let go as he combined HBO, Warner Bros., CNN and the other cable networks under a single management team.

    When Mr. Kilar came aboard last year, he cut further. Over 2,000 employees were laid off in the process.

    To realize $3 billion in cost savings will inevitably mean more layoffs — at both WarnerMedia and Discovery. Mr. Zaslav said there was “a treasure trove of talent” at WarnerMedia, and emphasized the fact that Discovery doesn’t make scripted shows.

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    AT&T, in Abrupt Turn, Will Shed Media Business in Deal With Discovery

    The merger is a significant about-face for AT&T, a telecommunications giant that got into the media business with its Time Warner foray. Industry experts questioned AT&T’s deal, and now the spinoff indicates a failed acquisition strategy.

    John Stankey, the chief executive of AT&T, has looked at its media business as a way to keep its phone customers from switching to other companies. AT&T Wireless subscribers get discounts and free access to HBO Max. A deal with Discovery could include stipulations that customers would maintain those benefits.

    Before he took over as chief executive last year, Mr. Stankey was the company’s chief mergers strategist. But his track record has been spotty. In addition to planning AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner, he was behind the company’s $48 billion acquisition of the satellite operator DirecTV in 2015. The service has been bleeding customers for years; in February, AT&T sold part of the business to the private equity firm TPG for about $16 billion, a third of what it originally paid.

    For Discovery, the WarnerMedia deal could finally give Mr. Zaslav the size and scale he has long sought. A swashbuckling executive who can recall ratings figures off the top of his head, Mr. Zaslav represents the last of the old guard in media, a hobnobbing mogul known for hosting lavish get-togethers at his house in the Hamptons.

    The new company would create a new kind of media behemoth, one that is still living off the fat profits of old-school cable, while spending those profits (and more) on streaming.

    Even with increased competition, HBO remains a standout in television, and last year, once again, captured more Emmys than any other network, studio or platform, including Netflix. It has several hit shows, including “Succession,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Barry” and “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.” It also has a huge library that includes “The Sopranos,” “Game of Thrones” and “Sex and the City.”

    The Warner Bros. TV studio likewise has produced successful shows for both its parent company, WarnerMedia, and outside studios with series like “Ted Lasso” (Apple TV+), “Riverdale” (CW), “The Flight Attendant” (HBO Max) and “The Bachelor” (ABC). The Warner Bros. movie studio recently released movies like “Godzilla vs. Kong,” “Mortal Kombat” and has big coming releases like “Dune” and “The Matrix 4.”

    Brooks Barnes and Lauren Hirsch contributed reporting.

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    AT&T-Discovery Deal Would Create a Media Juggernaut

    Less than three years after AT&T spent over $85 billion and millions more fending off a government challenge to buy Time Warner, one the biggest prizes in media, the phone company has decided on a completely different strategy.

    AT&T is in advanced talks to merge its media business, including CNN, with Discovery Inc., two people briefed on the deal said on Sunday. The plan would incorporate all of AT&T’s Warner Media assets, which include HBO and Warner Bros., one of the people said. The parties could announce a deal as soon as Monday, this person said, saying that the talks were not yet complete and final details had not been worked out.

    Should AT&T and Discovery agree on a deal, it would combine two of the largest media businesses in the country. AT&T’s WarnerMedia group also includes the sports-heavy cable networks TNT and TBS. Discovery has a strong lineup of reality-based cable channels, including Oprah Winfrey’s OWN, HGTV, the Food Network and Animal Planet.

    WarnerMedia is run by Jason Kilar, 50, one of the early pioneers of streaming and the first chief executive of Hulu. David Zaslav, 60, has been the head of Discovery for 14 years and helped it grow into a reality behemoth. It’s unclear who would lead the new business.

    reported on the possible deal.

    The transaction would create a new company bigger than Netflix or NBCUniversal. WarnerMedia and Discovery together generated more than $41 billion in sales last year, with an operating profit of over $10 billion. That would have vaulted it ahead of Netflix and NBCUniversal and behind the Walt Disney Company.

    In other words, to compete for audiences increasingly glued to Facebook, YouTube or TikTok, media companies need to get even bigger. It could set off another round of media deals.

    Both AT&T and Discovery have invested heavily in streaming in an effort to compete with Netflix and Disney. AT&T has plowed billions into creating HBO Max, a streaming platform that now has about 20 million customers. Discovery has 15 million streaming subscribers around the world, most of them for its Discovery+ app.

    The merger would also be a significant about-face for AT&T, a telecommunications giant better known for servicing fiber lines and cell towers than producing entertainment and courting Hollywood talent. Industry observers questioned AT&T’s daring purchase of Time Warner at a time when cord-cutting was only accelerating. The spinoff indicates a failed acquisition strategy.

    “AT&T didn’t know what they were buying,” said Brian Wieser, a longtime Wall Street analyst. “The strategy underpinning” the acquisition “was probably flawed.”

    Brooks Barnes, Lauren Hirsch and Andrew Ross Sorkin contributed reporting.

    This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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    Prince Harry Shares ‘Pain and Suffering’ of Growing Up in Royal Family

    “I’m going to be vulnerable,” he said about sharing details on his mental health. “If I get attacked for it, let’s see who’s attacking me.”

    In the interview with Ms. Winfrey in March, Meghan also shared her mental health battles, saying that she had struggled with suicidal thoughts when she was part of the royal family. Last year, she shared the trauma of miscarriage in an essay published in The New York Times.

    Symptoms of depression and anxiety have been on the rise in many countries since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, and Harry said that it was important to talk about the feelings caused by the pandemic.

    “We’re now in the emotional phase,” Harry said, making reference to a Times article about the feeling of languishing. “You just feel flat. It’s not depressed, it’s definitely not flourishing,” Harry said. “You lack the energy and the will, your motivation, because you sit and wonder, ‘What happens next?’”

    Harry said efforts like founding the Invictus Games, a sports event first staged in 2014 that showcases the talents of wounded servicemen and women, had helped him deal with his own mental health problems. “If we’re looking after our body and our body gets injured, what do we do when our mind gets injured?” he said.

    About moving to the United States, Harry said “that wasn’t the plan.”

    But, he added, “Sometimes you have to make decisions and bring your family first, and put your mental health first.”

    And, once again, Harry was asked if he had seen the Netflix series “The Crown.”

    “Elements of it,” he said.

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    Ellen DeGeneres to End Her Talk Show in 2022

    Ellen DeGeneres will step down from her daytime talk show next year, according to a spokeswoman for the host.

    “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” the winner of dozens of Emmys, was hugely successful for nearly two decades. But it has experienced a steep ratings decline in recent months — in the 2020-2021 television season, Ms. DeGeneres has lost more than a million viewers, a more significant drop than any of her daytime competitors.

    The news of Ms. DeGeneres’s planned departure was reported earlier by The Hollywood Reporter, as part of an interview with the host.

    The ratings slide began shortly after there were accusations of workplace misconduct on the show’s set. In July, BuzzFeed reported that several former and current staff members said they had confronted “racism, fear and intimidation” at work. Several staff members also said producers had sexually harassed them. After an investigation by Warner Bros., the company that produces the show, three high-level producers were fired.

    Ms. DeGeneres apologized to her staff in the summer, when the show was on hiatus. On her return to the air in September, she told her viewers: “I learned that things happen here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously. And I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected.”

    The next season of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” is its 19th. For much of its run, it was in the top tier of daytime programs, with millions tuning in each day. After its recent falloff, the size of its audience has become similar to the viewership for Maury Povich and Kelly Clarkson, hosts who, until recently, had not been considered bona fide rivals.

    Ms. DeGeneres’s talk-show contract with Warner Bros. runs through 2022. She has publicly mused on stepping away from the program in recent years. She has also broadened her workload, having made a standup comedy special for Netflix and reaching a deal with Warner Media to create new shows for its streaming platform, HBO Max, among other projects.

    “I just needed something to challenge me,” Ms. DeGeneres said in the interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “And as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it’s just not a challenge anymore. I need something new to challenge me.”

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    She Used a Male Doll in a Joke. Now She’s Accused of Sexual Harassment in South Korea

    Park Na-rae, a comedian, grabbed a male doll, placed its plastic arm between its legs and made a suggestive remark.

    By the standards of Western comedy, the stunt on her YouTube show in March would have hardly seemed offensive. But the skit became a scandal in her home country, South Korea. Legions of aggrieved young men accused her of sexual harassment. The police are investigating.

    The scandal has made headlines for weeks and has threatened to inflict lasting damage on Ms. Park’s career, two years after she became the first female comedian from South Korea to host a Netflix special.

    Her supporters say the outcry illustrates a double standard in a culture where men often brag about sexual conquests and where sexual harassment is endemic, but where women who dare to mention sex in public can be penalized.

    suggested that women use sex to get jobs. Since he was punished for inappropriate comments, they argued, Ms. Park should be called to account, as well.

    Lee Wonjae, a professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology who studies online, said that most of Ms. Park’s critics were not trolls from misogynistic, far-right websites, but ordinary men from mainstream society.

    Professor Lee said that many young men in South Korea — which has one of the highest gender pay gaps in the developed world — feel threatened by certain gender trends and President Moon Jae-in’s attempts to push for gender equality. These men see women as growing competitors for jobs and gaining more bargaining power in the marriage market.

    “Why are you going to support women more? Look at me: I’m doing my military service. What are you doing for me?” he said of how young men see their lot in life. “That is the message.” (Men in South Korea age 18 to 28 are required to serve in the military for about two years.)

    Sexism is deeply entrenched in South Korea. There is an epidemic of men using hidden cameras to spy on women in public restrooms and changing rooms. Misogynistic posts are a defining feature of Reddit-like forums. “It’s everyday life, this kind of gender conflict, misogyny, backlash and hatred,” Dr. Mo said.

    Park Won-soon, was one of many male politicians to be accused of sexual harassment. (He died by suicide last year.) And the Seoul authorities apologized this year after issuing guidelines that advised pregnant women to cook, clean and work on their appearances to ensure that their husbands still found them attractive.

    sentenced to prison in 2019 for raping women who were too drunk to consent to sex.

    Yet, other male celebrities and public figures have made sexist remarks without facing the kind of scrutiny faced by Ms. Park. She already had a reputation for pushing the boundaries of what female South Korean comedians can say or do. She began her 2019 Netflix special, “Glamour Warning,” by talking about her “first time doing it without a man.”

    Ms. Park resigned from her YouTube show a few days after the scandal broke. The Seoul police later said that they were investigating the harassment claims to determine whether she had broken any laws. The police did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

    OpenNet, a South Korean nongovernmental organization that advocates for internet privacy, said this month that her doll stunt did not constitute sexual harassment under policies set by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family. The group said that she had merely tried to express female sexual identity.

    Ms. Park’s talent agency, JDB Entertainment, said that she was not available for an interview.

    In a handwritten note to her 1.8 million Instagram followers in March, Ms. Park said that it was her duty as a performer and public figure to “take responsibility” for her own acting and props. “I am nothing but sorry to the many people who trusted and supported me,” she wrote.

    Last month, she visited her grandparents for one of her other television shows, “I Live Alone,” and expressed remorse for how her stunt with the doll had caused harm to her castmates.

    “Humans are imperfect,” her grandfather, who was not named in the broadcast, said as Ms. Park burst into tears. “Don’t listen to hate.”

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