Read The Fine Print…

Posted in CNN on July 31, 2014 by icn2

TKNN’s Tyler Kusma penned an article today that has gained some traction on some sites regarding CNN’s endorsement policy and The Hunt’s John Walsh…

Back in February, Larry King, former host of Larry King Live at CNN, appeared on TBS’s Conan. He was there to promote Omega XL, a product that King now endorses. While he was there, King mentioned that while he was at CNN, he and other CNN employees were not allowed to make product endorsements. However, CNN appears to be changing that rule in order to accommodate the stars of the CNN Original Series.

Back in April of 2014, CNN announced three more Original Series at their Upfront, with new shows from Mike Rowe, Lisa Ling, and John Walsh. John Walsh, the former host of America’s Most Wanted, has also long endorsed safety-related products. Walsh, in addition to being a spokesperson, serves as Vice Chairman of GreatCall, according to the company’s homepage. Then in June, GreatCall announced a new advertising campaign starring Walsh. Now Walsh, an announced CNN personality, would be endorsing a product and serving in its advertising. In addition to that, the advertising campaign would be airing on CNN. In an email exchange with TKNN, a press relations representative working for GreatCall confirmed that Walsh would be continuing to serve as a GreatCall spokesperson. However, a different GreatCall spokeswoman confirmed to TKNN that the advertisements would not be airing during The Hunt with John Walsh. She said that the company would not run commercials during the program as to not confuse Walsh’s two “roles.”

On July 28, Charles Mozdir was killed in a shoot-out with police. The Hunt had featured Mozdir and a tip from a viewer led police to find the fugitive. After the police announced the news, Walsh was on several of CNN’s news programs talking about the events. When he wasn’t on, CNN news programs showed clips.. Here, GreatCall’s policy of not mixing up the two “roles” takes a hit. Walsh in his The Hunt capability and possibly the commercials would be seen together. In addition, CNN usually runs lower thirds promoting The Hunt during the news programs. In an email exchange about the commercials and the promotions for The Hunt appearing, the GreatCall spokeswoman said that she couldn’t hypothesize on it.

When TKNN reached out to the spokeswoman for The Hunt, she said in a phone interview that Walsh and his show does not apply to the no-endorsement policy because he does not host a “breaking news show.” However, Professor Jane Kirtley of the University of Minnesota disagrees. She said in a phone interview that she does not believe that on-air personalities should make endorsements. She said that Walsh could be compared to Alex Trebek, who is not a journalist, but people see him as a trustworthy figure because of his role on Jeopardy! Trebek does have an endorsement deal with Colonial Penn, a life insurance company.

This is rather nebulous and complicated to sort through but it’s not nearly as cut and dried as Kusma lays it out to be vis a vis CNN’s “changing” policy. There may not even be a policy that changed at all in regards to Walsh. I’ll try to explain below.

First, there is the issue of whether Walsh even qualifies as a CNN employee the way King did. The answer to this question is the linchpin of the entire article because a non-employee would probably not be subject to CNN’s endorsement policy and if Walsh isn’t an employee then CNN didn’t have to change its policy for any GreatCall employee because the policy never applied. If that is indeed the case, whether it should have applied would be a separate issue which I’ll circle back to later.

Second, there is the issue of when/where/if GreatCall ads appear/should appear on CNN’s programming. According to the article there’s apparently no question of whether GreatCall’s ads appear during The Hunt as GreatCall spokesperson said that no ads would appear. But Kusma notes, correctly in my view, that it would be theoretically possible for Walsh to show up at other times as part of an interview segment on CNN when GreatCall ads featuring Walsh might appear. CNN…in fact all networks…probably don’t have the kind of control over spots that they can swap them out on ultra short notice based on a last minute scheduling change in its guests appearances. So there is a chance that Walsh appears on CNN Newsroom or some other show and then there’s a commercial break and a GreatCall ad appears featuring Walsh.

This my friends is what we call an unfortunate set of circumstances. But it does not necessarily automatically mean CNN has made a policy change because of the complexities I outlined earlier.

CNN could have avoided this entirely, of course, by refusing to air the GreatCall ads in the first place regardless of whether Walsh, in his capacity as host of a show produced by an outside entity CNN contracted for, did or did not fall under CNN’s endorsement policy.

In my view CNN should have rejected the ads. They don’t need the grief just like FNC didn’t need the grief caused by Glenn Beck’s gold hawking ads. But as to the question of whether CNN changed its policy to accommodate Walsh…I don’t think the case has been made one way or the other. We need more information from CNN on that to render an accurate judgement.

Kevin Magee Steps Down From FBN…

Posted in FBN on July 31, 2014 by icn2

TVNewser’s Chris Ariens writes that FBN President Kevin Magee is stepping down…

Magee has been EVP of Fox Business Network since it launched nearly 7 years ago. He’s been EVP of Fox News Radio since 2005.

“It’s impossible to overstate how wonderful my stay here has been in every possible way, but mostly because I got to work with the most professional, hardest-working and smartest group of people in the business,” Magee writes in a note to staff, obtained by TVNewser.

The management structure of Fox Business is under review, we hear, and an announcement on the new team will be made in the coming weeks.

Magee joined Fox News Channel from CNBC in 2001. During his tenure, he also oversaw the 2-year run of the syndicated “The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet.”

July Numbers: CNN…

Posted in Ratings Related on July 29, 2014 by icn2

CNN is noting its July ratings…


New Day Tops MSNBC’s Morning Joe In Key Demo 25-54

MSNBC Slips to 4th in Total Day and to 3rd in Prime; Morning Joe is also 4th and Rachel Maddow has Second Worst Month Ever

CNN’s New Original Series The Hunt with John Walsh and The Sixties Continue to Score

For the month of July, 2014

· CNN ranked #2 in Total Day among total viewers (404k vs. MSNBC’s 319k) and in the key demo 25-54 rating (125k vs. MSNBC’s 92k).
· CNN ranked #2 in M-Su Primetime among 25-54 (166k vs. MSNBC’s 154k).
· CNN ranked #2 in M-F Primetime in the key demo 25-54 (168k vs. MSNBC’s 149k).
· CNN ranked #2 in Dayside (9a-4p), posting a 90% advantage over MSNBC in total viewers (446k vs. 235k) and 120% more in the demo (108k vs 49k).

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July Numbers: MSNBC…

Posted in Ratings Related on July 29, 2014 by icn2

MSNBC is noting its July ratings…


“Hardball,” “All In,” “The Rachel Maddow Show,” and “The Last Word” Up Compared to Last Year

NEW YORK – July 30, 2014 – MSNBC topped CNN in key dayparts for the month of July, according to data from Nielsen. In addition, “Hardball,” “All In,” “The Rachel Maddow Show,” and “The Last Word” are up in total viewers compared to July 2013.

MSNBC ranked #2 in weekday primetime (M-F 8p-11p) among total viewers for the month (639,000 vs. CNN’s 508,000).

In M-Su primetime, MSNBC ranked #2 in total viewers (550,000 vs. CNN’s 514,000).

MSNBC ranked #2 in sales prime (M-Su 7p-2a) among total viewers (452,000). MSNBC was #1 among A18-34 in sales prime (M-Su 7p-2a) and weekend sales prime (S-Su 7p-2a). MSNBC ranked #1 in sales prime among African American total viewers for the 53rdconsecutive month.
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Erin Burnett Profile…

Posted in CNN on July 29, 2014 by icn2

Capital New York’s Alex Weprin profiles Erin Burnett in a piece which also buries a bombshell that will no doubt surprise many given her show’s performance; CNN just re-signed her to a new multi-year deal…

And yet, the channel still needs an element of stability, an anchor that can speak the daytime language of hard news as well as the more feature-driven product that is beginning to show up after 8 p.m.

Burnett’s “Outfront” is a lynchpin in CNN’s plan.

The anchor just signed a new, multi-year contract earlier this summer, a deal that will keep her “Outfront” at 7 p.m. for the foreseeable future. She’ll also be getting her own show on CNN International later this year, comprised of segments from “Outfront,” mixed with exclusive and extended interview segments, among other content.

“Outfront” finds itself in a time slot that is tough—not just because of the strong competition (Greta Van Susteren on Fox News and Chris Matthews on MSNBC are still reliable ratings draws, and have a combined 40+ years of experience anchoring TV shows)—but also because it is something of a dividing line between dayside programming, which is still very news-centric, and primetime, which has more analysis, interviews and entertainment-style fare.

Burnett said that it has taken some time for her show to develop a formula that strikes the right balance of news, interviews and features that viewers expect from cable news.

“Over the past few years I think our show and the network have wondered which of those it is, and there has been some testing,” she said.

I will say just this. If Jeff Zucker wasn’t running CNN…Burnett probably doesn’t get that extension.

Free for All: 07/28/14

Posted in Free For All on July 28, 2014 by icn2

What’s on your mind?

Another CNN “Town Hall”…

Posted in CNN on July 28, 2014 by icn2

FTVLive is (not) reporting (much) on a Town Hall CNN had last week with Jeff Zucker leading the way. It’s not that FTV didn’t want to report anything…but that there apparently wasn’t much to report. That said this did make me smirk…

This meeting did not feature any “shock questions” like the last go around.

Sources tell FTVLive that every question was carefully screened this time.


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