LEADING THE DAY: Federal Communications Chairman Julius Genachowski announced Thursday that he will appoint the agency’s chief counsel, Zachary Katz, as chief of staff, effective at the end of the month.

Katz, who has been in his current position for a little over six months, was previously an agency legal adviser. He succeeds Eddie Lazarus, who submitted his resignation in mid-December.

Twitter, Facebook, Google throw support behind OPEN: Eight Web companies, including Twitter, Facebook and Google have publicly endorsed the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (OPEN), an alternative approach to online piracy legislation. In a December letter to OPEN sponsors Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the companies said that OPEN succeeds in targeting foreign rogue sites without “inflicting collateral damage on legitimate, law-abiding U.S. Internet companies.”

The Protect IP Act (PIPA) is expected to come up for a vote later this month; the House Judiciary committee is expected to make the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) a top priority.

LG, Samsung, Vizio join Google TV: On Thursday, Google announced that LG, Marvell, MediaTek, Samsung, Sony and Vizio will show Google TV prototypes at the Consumer Electronics Show next week, advancing the trend of convergence in the living room and expanding the lineup of smart televisions from Google.

The Google TV has so far failed to take off and suffered a slight setback when partner Logitech announced that it would stop making the Google TV-enabled Revue in November.

Barnes and Noble considers Nook spin-off: Shares of Barnes and Noble fell nearly 17 percent Thursday following the company’s announcement that it will explore options to spin-off its Nook digital unit. Barnes and Noble also lowered its yearly revenue guidance.

The company has made an effort to make a deeper commitment to the line in recent months and has decided to ”pursue strategic exploratory work to separate the Nook business,” the release said. The Nook line has drawn in around $1.5 billion in sales during the past fiscal year and the company has its eyes on overseas expansion. Analyst Michael Norris told the Associated Press that he was skeptical that a spin-off would help Barnes and Noble, saying that such a plan would be “a huge mistake.”

AT&T adds LTE to 11 new markets: AT&T announced that it has switched on its fourth-generation LTE network in 11 new markets, including San Francisco, Los Angeles and the New York City metropolitan area. That brings the total number of AT&T LTE markets up to 26, which the company says serve 74 million customers.

AT&T plans to have its LTE deployment complete by the end of 2013, the company said in a press release.