Archive for December, 2012

Cable News 2013 New Year’s Resolutions…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on December 31, 2012 by icn2

It’s that time again. Here are the 2013 Cable News Network Resolutions…resolved in absentia by yours truly…

ICN resolves on behalf of CNN…

- To not succumb to Jeff Zucker’s temptation to dumb down CNN’s hard news brand. There is more to news than Politics…yes. That does not include breaking Entertainment Industry news. Nor does it include an emphasis on taped reality TV style programming, crime docs, or topical movies.

- To decide on a format for mornings before deciding on any talent changes.

- To change the public narrative of what it’s trying to accomplish. Jeff Zucker made a tactical error when, during his unveiling conference call with Phil Kent, he bit on a reporter’s boobytrapped question about primetime and put it out there that CNN’s goal was to be #1 again. That’s the old CNN narrative and it’s a loser because CNN will never be able to match FNC’s primetime ratings, let alone beat them. The new narrative is branding and profitability and why ratings, while important, are not the defining measuring stick of success or failure in a niche market like cable news. I have argued for years that CNN can’t win the perception war in the battle of the cable news networks if the key measuring stick is ratings. That will always favor FNC and MSNBC because the two all but abandon news in primetime and it’s not a fair fight when you pit news against what is essentially echo chamber infotainment for most of their competition’s primetime hours.

- To think “Format first, talent changes second” – Fix your programming before fixing your talent.

- To not get hung up on “name talent” as a panacea, something this network has done too many times in the past. It doesn’t work. Maddow wasn’t a name when she got her show. Even Olbermann wasn’t really a name in cable news before he got his MSNBC show (the second one). O’Reilly and Hannity were basically nobodies to the majority of the country when they joined FNC. See a pattern here? You can develop hit programming without having an all star name attached to it. And, actually, having an all star name tends to raise the stakes and focus everyone’s attention on the show and its immediate success or failure.

ICN resolves on behalf of MSNBC…

- To have an explanation at the ready when the 2013 numbers drop off after the election.

- To finally rid the network of the taped crime programming. MSNBC expanded greatly on the weekends and it has been airing its full primetime lineup on Friday nights including west coast repeats. This isn’t 2006. It’s 2012. MSNBC doesn’t need to fill the hours with tapes crime shows that now generate lower numbers than their primetime programming.

- To not put Ezra Klein, if he should get a show, in primetime…especially at 8pm.

- To start thinking about what it’s going to do with Mornings when Joe and Mika bolt…as everyone in the industry expects them to. Don’t think for a second that CBS wouldn’t drop Charlie, Norah, and Gayle in a heartbeat if it could land those two.

ICN resolves on behalf of FNC…

- To change things up. Every three to five or so years FNC goes through a bunch of programming and talent purges. It’s one way the network has stayed fresh and on top for so long despite using the same tired old gameplan it’s used for the last 13 years. I know, I know…if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well things break down eventually because of sameness and age. Look at the Today Show.

- To shrink their graphics. They are too damn big now. Ok, so you made them readable for SD vidwers because you broadcast in SD at 16×9. Well, why are we HD viewers getting punished by SUCH BIG LETTERS? Screw the SD viewers! They should have upgraded to HD by now anyways!

- To cancel the Saturday Business Block – If I want business news with a Fox flavor, I’ll watch FBN. I won’t watch the Saturday Business Block on FNC which isn’t even about business anymore (as it was 11 years ago) as much as it’s about political style bashing. I can’t learn anything about business watching that block now. It’s a holdover relic from a time when News Corp. didn’t have a business channel.

ICN resolves on behalf of Bloomberg TV…

- To get bigger HD penetration. This is a 2012 resolution holdover since I still don’t have Bloomberg in HD on DirecTV.

ICN resolves on behalf of CNBC…

- To slap a muzzle on Rick Santelli and his ilk – I’m sick of “the crazy” breaking out on CNBC the way it has been this year. If I’m watching CNBC it’s because I want business news and analysis, not the freak show shoutfests that have been breaking out there. I would expect disagreement between analysts but we’re talking CNBC talent infighting here. These days the only time CNBC makes news on the media blogs is when one of these spats erupts and there’s viral video of it. That’s not good for CNBC’s reputation.

ICN resolves on behalf of FBN…

- To keep going in the way they’ve been going. Progress was made this year. Let’s not screw it up with bad programming decisions. Yes, re-signing Imus was a long term admission by the network that despite the progress made, it’s still not ready to take on CNBC head to head in the mornings. But momentum has been gained elsewhere, particularly in primetime.

Here are the 2012 resolutions and the results…
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TJ Holmes To Freelance on MSNBC Saturday…

Posted in MSNBC on December 28, 2012 by icn2

Holmes posted the following tweet today…

MSNBC. 7 AM tomorrow morning. #backintheanchorchair

Press Releases: 12/28/12

Posted in Press Releases on December 28, 2012 by icn2

CNBC (1)

CNBC TO AIR LIVE SPECIAL, “CNBC SPECIAL REPORT: AMERICA’S ECONOMY HELD HOSTAGE,” ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 30TH AT 8PM ET

With the fiscal cliff still looming over the American economy and the clock quickly ticking down, CNBC will broadcast a live special, “CNBC Special Report: America’s Economy Held Hostage,” on Sunday, December 30th beginning at 8PM ET. The special will be anchored by CNBC’s Amanda Drury & Brian Sullivan from CNBC Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, NJ with live reports from CNBC’s John Harwood and Eamon Javers in Washington, D.C., Steve Liesman from CNBC Headquarters and Rick Santelli at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

What’s Hot/What’s Not: 2012 Hot Edition…

Posted in What's Hot/What's Not on December 28, 2012 by icn2

What’s Hot for 2012:

FBN Overhauls Primetime – The network gutted its current primetime lineup (save John Stossel’s one night a week show) and will replace it with repeats of earlier in the evening business shows. In addition the network is moving Geri Willis to early prime and adding a show for Melissa Francis at 5pm ET.

Larry King and CNN part company? – Word emerged that CNN wasn’t going to be doing any more Larry King specials.

Sarah Palin on CNN for Stupid Super Tuesday – CNN sending a reporter up to Alaska to stake out a specific polling place in the hopes of corralling Sarah Palin was a stroke of genius. Palin is a contractual FNC contributor but has shown occasional tendencies in the past to “go rogue” off FNC’s reservation when a non FNC camera and microphone are shoved in her face. Any normal high profile FNC contributor would have kept their comments to a terse minimum, but not Palin. One could literally feel the frustration emanating from the Avenue of the Americas as executives at FNC watched helplessly as their contributor actually answered questions relayed by the Alaska reporter from John King on CNN’s air. The only thing more surprising than CNN’s extended exclusive with Palin was that she wasn’t banished for the evening by FOX. If I had been in charge she would have been punished for giving CNN all that buzz. She turned up later on with Neil Cavuto where the big scoop for FBN was Palin revealing who she voted for. Too little, too late. CNN had already stolen the show.
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What’s Hot/What’s Not: 2012 Not Edition…

Posted in What's Hot/What's Not on December 28, 2012 by icn2

What’s Not for 2012:

MSNBC shafts Pat Buchanan for the wrong reasons – The issue never was Pat’s incendiary positions. No, those were well known and tolerated at MSNBC and NBC for years. It was placating its Progressive viewing base that was the issue. A precedent had been set; if you’re Progressive and you’re peeved with MSNBC over something it did, you now had a network more willing to listen than before.

Quid Pro Quo? – MSNBC allowed Ed Schultz to participate in a Democrat retreat as a panel guest. Schultz also got an interview with Nancy Pelosi while at the retreat. There may have been no connection between the two but it’s a situation that on its face doesn’t look good.

Rah, Rah, Rah! – CNN getting caught twice showing a staffer whipping up the crowd at its Florida debate raises all kinds of questions about the authenticity of the crowd response to the debate.

CNN to Trademark “Magic Wall” – Four years after it debuted, and after its become a common term of reference in the industry? Good luck with that…

Roland Martin Suspended by CNN – Was it deserved? That question is still being debated…as is CNN’s standards policy vis a vis how it’s implemented (Martin) and not implemented (Dana Loesch)…

Nancy Grace being Nancy Grace – Way to go getting all conspiracy theory over Whitney Houston’s death…

Fuku-what? – The Fukushima catastrophe has significantly altered Japan’s focus on nuclear energy with all but a tiny handful of the country’s reactors being shut down for the moment. One would have expected that the US networks would have devoted significant coverage to this ongoing issue. Well, excluding PBS’s Frontline which this year set the bar incredibly high with a pair of Peabody worthy in depth reports on the disaster, coverage in the US has been woefully inadequate. Not even CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who in the past has shown strong inclination to revisit disaster areas over and over again, has made a journey there.
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The Gift That Keeps on Giving…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on December 28, 2012 by icn2

Page Six continues to dip into that seemingly bottomless well that is CNN and Jeff Zucker…

As speculation hits fever pitch over whom Jeff Zucker will woo next to try and reinvigorate CNN, sources tell Page Six he’s eyeing ABC’s prime-time news lineup. After poaching senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper, insiders say Zucker’s looking at further ABC talent, including “20/20” co-anchor Chris Cuomo. (Cuomo, who co-hosts the show with Elizabeth Vargas, is also ABC’s chief law-and-justice correspondent and the brother of Gov. Andrew.) “Jeff’s still looking for an anchor he can basically make the centerpiece of the network,” a source says. We’ve previously reported that Zucker’s been eyeing former “Today” host Ann Curry, but an NBC rep insists she’s under contract. The onetime NBC head’s also reportedly aiming to beef up Hollywood coverage, and might move CNN’s Erin Burnett to mornings to battle “Today” and “Good Morning America.” Another source sniffed, “Jeff should be careful how many people he tells will be the face of the network.” Reps for both CNN and ABC declined to comment.

The only thing remotely newsworthy here (don’t believe the Chris Cuomo hype…I can’t see him leaving ABC after just getting 20/20) is that Zucker is looking for a “centerpiece” anchor. Extrapolating on that, one would conclude that Anderson Cooper will be losing his “face of CNN” status. If this story is true of course…

Free for All: 12/26/12

Posted in Free For All on December 26, 2012 by icn2

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