Archive for the CNN Category

April Ratings Preview…

Posted in CNN, FNC, MSNBC on April 28, 2014 by icn2

The New York Times’ Bill Carter writes about April ratings…

But since March 13, when the CNN plane coverage was ratcheting up, “Morning Joe,” which has generally enjoyed wide attention in New York-based media, has found itself consistently behind the 10-month-old “New Day” on CNN. From that date, through last Friday “New Day” won 25 days to eight for “Morning Joe.” (Though, in perhaps a sign that the momentum may be shifting back, “Joe” beat “New Day” easily on the last recorded day, April 25.)

“CNN has made itself a punch line on the ‘Daily Show’ for its phony breaking-news headlines and breathless coverage of random ocean debris,” Joe Scarborough, the anchor of “Morning Joe,” said. “ ‘Morning Joe’ topped CNN in the first quarter by covering hard news, just as we have for the past five years. We will do the same in the future and won’t be distracted by ‘X-Files’ cable news programming.”

The average for April among viewers ages 25-54 was 119,000 for “New Day,” to 105,000 for “Morning Joe.” Both were fighting for the right to a distant second to “Fox and Friends,” which averaged 237,000 viewers in the age group.

In February, the month before the plane disappeared, “Morning Joe” had a comfortable margin over “New Day,” 127,000 viewers to 79,000 in that advertiser-preferred group. So “New Day” is up more than 50 percent since then, while “Joe” is down 17 percent.

The morning show problem was only one of many for MSNBC in April. The network, which is mainly devoted to covering politics from a left of center slant, averaged only 112,000 viewers for its total day coverage in April. That was its lowest total since May 2007.

“It was a soft month, no doubt,” said Lauren Skowronski, the spokeswoman for MSNBC. “But they are not going to change the editorial approach for one story. They want to stay on brand.”

More Trouble for CNN…

Posted in CNN on April 28, 2014 by icn2

When the fan site that chronicles your every move decides to pack it in out of frustration…you have a problem…

We’ve tried our best to give CNN a chance to recapture our attention but we’ve finally come to the realization that they have chosen a direction for the network that we simply aren’t interested in documenting. So for now, and the foreseeable future, we are no longer going to be updating All Things CNN or publishing comments to this blog. The archives will remain accessible and our email account will remain active if anyone is interested in acquiring this blog.

In the words of Ted Turner ‘There’s no point in sittin’ around and cryin’ about spilt milk. Gotta move on.’

Know Thy Subject…

Posted in CNN on April 25, 2014 by icn2

Regarding today’s FTVLive insider tip about Jeff Zucker possibly getting rid of CNN’s Tuition Reimbursment Program (which I didn’t bother highlighting as I found it strange), an industry insider emailed in the following…

That is a Time Warner corporate benefit. Zucker can’t get rid of it if he wanted to.

Well, okay then. Looks like FTVLive’s mole is going to have to hunt for something else to throw on the wall and see if it sticks. Because that suggestion apparently didn’t.

More CNN Rumors…

Posted in CNN, Miscellaneous Subjects on April 25, 2014 by icn2

FTVLive is posting some gloomy rumblings out at CNN…

Zucker has claimed to the folks in Atlanta that he isn’t planning to relocate jobs from ATL to NYC, but that is exactly what is happening.

Most of the editing and producing that was done in Atlanta is now being down in CNN’s New York studios.

One insider says that to make matters worse, Zucker is not a fan of some of the company benefits, including CNN’s tuition reimbursement program. If an employee wants to go back to school the company pays half.

Some think that Zucker will get rid of that benefit soon.

I wrote this the day Zucker was hired as President of CNN Worldwide…

I would not at all be surprised to see Zucker implement some version of NBCU 2.0 across CNN Worldwide. In Zucker’s mind NBCU 2.0 was a necessary step in NBC News’ evolution that just about every NBC News executive will publicly state was a success, albeit perhaps a trying success. And with CNN’s uber redundancy, with more bureaus and news staff than any other news network in the US by far, combined with the network’s years going push of all things digital, Zucker has to be extremely tempted to have at that very low hanging fruit begging to be picked. Streamlining and eliminating redundancy cuts costs and increases the bottom line. So long as its ability to deliver quality news is not damaged, increasing the bottom line makes for a nice bullet point in the face of a sluggish ratings trend.

While what’s been going on at CNN Center would hardly resemble the all encompassing NBCU 2.0, it is clear that Zucker wants to trim costs. He’s now trimming costs by laying off people in Atlanta and hiring them cheaper in New York.

Dylan Ratigan to CNN?

Posted in CNN on April 24, 2014 by icn2

TVNewser’s Jordan Chariton writes that Dylan Ratigan shot a pilot for CNN yesterday…

Former CNBC and MSNBC anchor Dylan Ratigan was at CNN yesterday shooting a panel-style show pilot, TVNewser has learned.

Last month, THR reported that Ratigan was among several hosts working on projects for CNN. Network insiders tell us Ratigan’s latest test episode, which is one of many the network is experimenting with, was shot last night at CNN in New York.

It’s just a pilot and a lot of CNN’s pilot’s never make it past that stage. But CNN (read: Jeff Zucker) clearly likes Ratigan so even if this pilot winds up going nowhere that doesn’t mean Ratigan’s chances of winding up on CNN’s air are over…

Moles Living Dangerously…

Posted in CNN on April 24, 2014 by icn2

FTVLive posted some internal video of Jeff Zucker from a Town Hall session. Internal video making it all the way to the internet is a very rare thing. It’s hard to get your hands on in the first place and very dangerous for one’s career to leak out because in this digital age it can be tracked. Just ask Joe Muto.

So our prospective CNN mole here has taken some steps to try and hide their identity:

1. First they didn’t send the raw video. They sent a camera phone videotaping the video.
2. They created a new Vimeo account with the alias of “Larry”.
3. Presumably they waited a while to leak this video. The meeting was at the start of the year and it’s been months since it happened. This increases the chances that many people looked at the footage since it was recorded which would of course would tend to cover their tracks. However we don’t know if this is the case. If the mole just grabbed it recently that could mean trouble.

Still, track covering or not, our hero is living on the edge. I was once given internal video of an MSNBC town hall the day it was announced that MSNBC was moving to 30 Rock. I opted to not post the video but post a transcript because that made it impossible to tell whether I received video or someone just taking notes from the town hall.

So you prospective moles out there, pay attention. There is a right way and a wrong way to leak. Joe Muto did it the wrong way and look what happened. Today’s example is much better but isn’t immune to potential career blow back.

CNN Announces It’s Still Testing The Waters…

Posted in CNN on April 10, 2014 by icn2

Today CNN made a big deal about its new primetime lineup of AC360 at 8pm ET, tape at 9pm, and a new news show called CNN Tonight at 10pm. But what wasn’t emphasized is that this move shows CNN is still testing the waters to see what works. I’ll explain…

When you have a disparate group of unrelated taped shows airing every night five days a week you have no consistency. CNN has come up with the new slogan “Go There” which as slogans go isn’t very convincing since we don’t know where “there” is. Somewhere, I suppose..but “Go Somewhere” just doesn’t have the same oompf that “Go There” has. But like CNN’s new slogan, its 9pm lineup lacks cohesion. What will probably happen is some tape will do better than other tape and that tape will be emphasized and the tape that doesn’t give good enough ratings won’t be. It’s still an experiment for the network no matter how much it tries to emphasize the move as a new direction.

This isn’t the first time Zucker has done this. He did it at MSNBC back in 2004 during the Olympics when he killed off most of the network’s live and very underperforming primetime in favor of tape. That move worked to a point as the tape gave the network higher numbers at the cost of less overhead…a win-win from a certain point of view; the view that being live in prime isn’t necessarily as important as you think it is.

Ovbiously Zucker hopes a similar situation will happen here. Piers Morgan’s show was wildly inconsistent in the rating and it’s a pretty safe bet that whatever tape CNN airs at 9 should perform at a higher average. The open question is whether that average will be enough to move CNN out of 3rd place in non-breaking news cycles. I have my doubts that CNN can topple Maddow at that hour relying solely on tape.

Left unsaid is how the network will handle breaking news at that hour and how that breaking news will mess with the ability of the channel to establish those shows on a consistent basis. What does CNN do if it has to break tape in the middle of one of its 9pm shows to cover breaking news? Does it repeat the episode the following week since it couldn’t air the full episode on its scheduled air date? And Take a look at Crossfire the past few weeks. It hasn’t been on because of MH370 coverage. This does have the potential of frustrating viewers who want to tune into those shows as well as complicating the ability to establish consistent programming at that hour.

At 10pm we see still more CNN experimentation. Yes, they announced a new show. That’s not the experimentation. The experimentation is the rotating group of hosts CNN will use. I fully expect within six months to a year that the 10pm hour will be unified under a single host. Zucker obviously is not certain who to put there so he’s giving a select group of talent a chance to seize the hour for their own.

This does raise the question about the rumors that Bill Weir was hired away from ABC with a primetime show clause in his contract. If there was such a clause I would expect Weir to be one of the rotating hosts (setting aside the obvious follow up question of whether being a rotating host really satisfies that rumored primetime show clause or not). Actually I expected Weir to be in the mix regardless of a primetime clause or not since he hasn’t been doing much regular work on the channel since he arrived.

So, despite today’s emphasis of a new direction for CNN, the underlying truth is business as usual…CNN is still testing the waters in primetime.

CNN Primetime changes…

Posted in CNN on April 10, 2014 by icn2

CNN announced some changes to primetime. I will have a lot to say about this tonight…


Mike Rowe, Lisa Ling, John Walsh Join Anthony Bourdain, Morgan Spurlock for CNN Original Series

Series and Films to Air at 9 PM, CNN Tonight to Air at 10 PM

CNN today announced a new primetime lineup that continues to build on the network’s strategy of offering both live, breaking news programming as well as quality, original series, CNN Films and in-house documentaries.

As part of the announcement, the network is bringing Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs) back to series television, in a new program called Somebody’s Gotta Do It.  In addition, proven television personalities John Walsh (America’s Most Wanted) and Lisa Ling (Our America with Lisa Ling) will also join CNN, with their own new, original series. CNN will also premiere The Jesus Code, which will take viewers on a forensic and archaeological journey through the Bible. And CNN announced that the ten-part original series The Sixties, from Playtone and acclaimed producers Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, will premiere in late May. 

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CNN Gets Dirty…

Posted in CNN on April 10, 2014 by icn2

CNN announced that Dirty Jobs guy Mike Rowe will be appearing in a new yet familiar series on the network…


Series To Launch this Fall

For more than a decade, Mike Rowe has been nationally known as the “dirtiest man on TV,” as host and the executive producer of the Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs (2005-2012).  He traveled to all 50 states and completed 300 different jobs, transforming cable television into a landscape of swamps, sewers, ice roads, coal mines, and oil derricks.  He initiated a hands–on way to pay tribute to a nation of unsung heroes, conclusively demonstrating that fun and hard work are two sides of the same coin and confirmed the value of delayed gratification, sacrifice, hard work, good humor and optimism.  He is now on a brand new mission and he will bring that mission to CNN beginning this fall.

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Network on Network Violence?

Posted in Al Jazeera, CNN on April 7, 2014 by icn2

Al Jazeera’s Senior Political Analyst Marwan Bishara writes about CNN’s MH370 obsession…

When it became known that all 239 passengers are believed dead, CNN didn’t lower the flag and didn’t lower its guard. Its top guns continued to lead, soliciting experts’ opinions, conducting flight simulations, deciphering satellite imagery – anything to keep its viewers glued to their TV sets.

And it has been widely ridiculed for it. But before you laugh, it’s worth considering if CNN is onto something here. At least commercially.

According to the rating group Nielsen, CNN’s viewership in the weeks after the plane went missing was up 84 percent. (During that same period, Fox News has seen an uptick of only two percent, while MSNBC is down 11 percent.)

So what is the vanguard of cable news up to? Is this a watershed moment in its short history similar to the iconic live coverage of the US bombings at the break of the first Iraq in 1991, with Peter Arnett reporting: “The skies over Baghdad have been illuminated”?

Is it a coverage by default or by design? The culmination of calculated strategy to steer the network away from hard news? Many questions beg for answers.

We’ll skip the questions and answers and head straight to the end…

And it’s working. It’s wreaking havoc in the ratings, attracting advertisers and dollars. But how does this new media strategy by Zucker & Co affect journalism? It’s one thing to expand the definition of news; but it’s another thing to transform (deform?) journalism.

Perhaps the most intriguing, not to say annoying thing about the whole affair, is what appears to be CNN journalists’ acquiescence to the new marching orders. I mean, it’s not like they all wake up every morning thinking: I must cover the Malaysia Airlines story today any which way and try my best to ignore the rest of the world.

These seasoned journalists know all too well, that “Malaysia, Truly Asia” is only a slogan used by Malaysia Tourism. They know that there’s a whole world beyond Malaysia, a world full of tragedies and mysteries to report.

Ouch. Network on Network violence is never pretty. But at the same time there’s also this…

PS, I/we are indebted to those in CNN and other networks who’ve taken the time to show solidarity with our imprisoned colleagues in Egypt.

At the bottom there is the requisite “Get out of jail free” card…

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

Maybe. But I doubt there was any hand wringing in Doha over letting that article go out either…

CNN’s News Judgement Goes Down a Black Hole…

Posted in CNN on April 4, 2014 by icn2

Ok, CNN you had your moment with the MH370 coverage. Time to dial it back. Time to stop the breaking news or Happening Now banner abuse that has for the moment surpassed the level of abuse that constitutes the Fox News Alert.

I defended you in the beginning because your coverage was stellar. Now I return to bury you because you forgot when to say when and when for this story occurred a week ago. Yet you are still doing special reports even though there’s really been nothing to report outside of a familiar theme; search coverage pattern moved, different resources thrown at search coverage, wash, rinse, repeat.

CNN’s coverage is now actually hurting its brand because it is turning itself into a laughing stock in the media. Black Holes and supernatural phenomena were just the tip of the iceberg. Martin Savidge is now permanently glued to his seat in the simulator. Hopefully he will be rescued by Canadian Mounties soon.

Pundit after pundit are appearing on CNN’s air to reveal…uh…nothing really since there’s been little to report on.

And now CNN’s website is getting into the act. A story on pictures of MH370 taken by plane spotters months ago? CNN, you aren’t just scraping the bottom of the barrel on this story…you’ve broken clean through the barrel and are well on your way to digging a hole to China.

Ok, sure…there are still real story angles to pursue and report on MH370. But nobody is filtering out the good from the bad…it’s covering everything no matter how silly. Apparently CNN’s news judgement has gone down Don Lemon’s black hole…

Case Not Proven…Court’s Adjourned…

Posted in CNN on April 1, 2014 by icn2

Business Insider’s Henry Blodget pens a mind blowingly silly article in support of Jeff Zucker’s hiring…

Given that the Malaysia plane disappeared three weeks ago, it always startles me to see that CNN is still covering nothing but the plane story, especially with so little new information to report.

But this, I am coming to understand, is why Jeff Zucker, CNN’s new boss, is so renowned for his programming acumen — and why he was such a great hire for the network.

CNN’s ratings have gone to the moon since Zucker decreed that the network cover nothing but “The Mystery Of Flight 370.”

CNN has apparently surmised — almost certainly correctly — that the plane story is much more interesting, mysterious, and terrifying to viewers than just about any other dime-a-dozen story CNN could be covering.


The media snobs on Twitter hate CNN’s plane coverage. They hate it as much as they hated “The DaVinci Code,” “The Firm,” “Iron Man,” and other massively popular commercial successes that normal people love. They love to tweet about how appalled they are, and how embarrassing CNN’s plane obsession is.

But their snootiness only goes to show, again, that Mr. Zucker is exactly what CNN needed:

A boss who knows what normal CNN viewers want — and the boldness to withstand the critics and give it to them.

Hate to break it to ‘ya Henry but CNN would be going wall to wall on this story whether Jeff Zucker was hired or not. It’s what they do. Now, the way CNN is covering this story definitely has the fingerprints of Zucker on it but to argue Zucker was such a great hire simply because the network has gone overboard in covering this story is just plain dumb.

Alisyn Camerota to CNN…Eventually…

Posted in CNN on March 31, 2014 by icn2

FTVLive does another one of its FTVLive predictions…you know those predictions that are made so far in advance before contracts are even negotiated nobody remembers them when they actually come true…the people still alive who read it back in the day that is (<=== slight sarcasm [<=== not so slight sarcasm])…

But, FTVLive has learned FIRST and EXCLUSIVELY from CNN sources that Camerota will be soon headed to CNN.

“It’s still months away, but she is 100% going to end up on CNN,” our source tells FTVLive.

Many were shocked when Camerota announced that she was leaving Fox News after 16 years. She said at the time she would be “taking some time off before seeking out her next gig.”

She has already found the next gig and it’s at CNN.

Unless contracts have been negotiated and/or signed…she hasn’t found squat yet. Let’s not over-dramatize this. Obviously she has to sit out a non-compete clause…thus the delay in any move to anywhere. But if it is CNN, and I have no reason to doubt FTVLive, over-dramatization aside, on the central point of the story that this where she’s headed, I can think of two anchors who should be worried, one more-so than the other.

And Still More on CNN’s Flight Simulator…

Posted in CNN on March 28, 2014 by icn2

The AP’s David Bauder writes about that pesky Canadian flight simulator and a “trapped” Martin Savidge…

CNN initially sought to rent a real 777 airplane for its coverage, but found it impossible. Individual airlines were also reluctant to make their simulators available. So CNN arranged time with the company uFly, from Mississauga, Ontario, near the Toronto airport, which has a simulator that is the same model of the plane lost in Asia.

Savidge, who had been vacationing in Australia when the plane went missing on March 8, was sent to Canada for one day on March 14 and returned home for the weekend. The response to his reports was so positive, CNN sent him back on March 17, and he’s been there since. Other media organizations have sought to use the simulator but CNN blocks them by keeping it booked (the company won’t say how much this is costing).

Not anywhere near what it would cost to rent a 777 or time in a fully functional flight simulator. As to the other networks not having access to it…you snooze, you lose.

Greg D’Alba Out At CNN?

Posted in CNN on March 24, 2014 by icn2

Page Six’s Richard Johnson reports that Greg D’Alba is going to leave the network…

Look out for a big defection at Turner Broadcasting/CNN: Greg D’Alba, head of CNN ad sales, is leaving the company after 28 years.

“He can’t take it anymore,” a source close to D’Alba told me. “He can’t stand all the infighting and the politics.”

After Jeff Zucker became president of CNN Worldwide last year, Turner chairman/CEO Phil Kent was replaced by John Martin. One of Kent’s last acts was to promote David Levy to president of Turner Broadcasting System.

And it seems some of the execs don’t like each other.

“Greg is an incredibly well-respected guy and has had great success over the years, but it’s been very hard since Zucker came,” said my source.

Inside CNN’s Flight Simulator…

Posted in CNN on March 21, 2014 by icn2

The Toronto Star’s Oakland Ross writes about CNN’s Flight Simulator…or should I say Simulator Lite?

The U.S. broadcaster began monopolizing the Canadian Boeing 777 simulator shortly after March 8 when the Malaysian plane veered off course on a flight that was supposed to take the aircraft and its 239 passengers and crew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The plane’s present whereabouts remain a mystery.

Casado describes the machine as “the only open-to-the-public 777 simulator in the world.” That’s him in the pilot’s chair on the left-hand side of your TV screen, while Savidge speaks to the camera from the co-pilot’s spot on the right.

Ross goes on to explain something I had been wanting to know with increasing interest as the days of CNN’s use of the simulator kept on going and going…

The Mississauga machine is owned and operated by a company called uFly Simulator and provides a vivid experience, says Casado, but it is not a full-scale flight simulator — the kind used by airlines such as Air Canada to train pilots for actual flight.

“There’s a major difference,” says Casado. “This is a fixed-base simulator. It doesn’t move.”

In other words, it lacks the elaborate — and expensive — arrangement of hydraulic pistons and other machinery that enable official flight simulators to mimic almost perfectly the actual experience of flight.

“They are extremely expensive, $35 million apiece,” says Casado. “That’s a tenth the cost of a real airplane.”

By contrast, the Mississauga facility being used with such abandon by CNN cost somewhere between $250,000 and $500,000 to build and is not certified by Boeing or by any aeronautical authority. It is mainly used as an entertainment device for children’s parties or business outings.

Thus clears the air on how CNN could afford to hog simulator time so much and not blow huge holes in its budget. A full flight simulator would rack up a massive bill for the network after all this time. But this particular simulator…while still racking up a bill in the thousands…is peanuts by comparison.

MH370 Overcoverage for Ratings? Well, duh…

Posted in CNN on March 19, 2014 by icn2

FTVLive got its hands on an internal CNN memo to staff about the MH370 coverage…or overcoverage. I am disappointed the site did not publish the full memo instead of just summarizing it…

In the note obtained by FTVLive, in tops off with Digital saying they are having “one of the best weeks in traffic.”

Then it gets into the top stories and talks about the missing plane:

“On TV: we are wall to wall with the plane mystery; this is a strategy we are confident and comfortable with” the coverage note to the staff says.

It goes on to say “when a major story happens (ala Boston Bombing, Oklahoma Tornados, George Zimmerman) we go all in”

The next line says “That is our vision and our strategy”

As for those in house question CNN’s over coverage of the missing plane, the next line in the coverage note says “We are not ignoring other stories because we have multiple distribution platforms.”

Some CNN Staffers say the network is ignoring other stories and doing it all in the name of ratings.

Of course it is in the name of ratings. Every time CNN goes all in, it is in the hopes (expectation?) of getting a ratings bump. This is not a new malady, nor is it a byproduct of Jeff Zucker running the show…though it does seem a tad more blatant about it now that Jeff Zucker is running the show (i.e. tape, tape, tape)…

Inside CNN’s (Temporary) MH370 Ratings Bump…

Posted in CNN on March 17, 2014 by icn2

The New York Times’ Bill Carter writes about CNN’s frequently compelling but sometimes head scratching MH370 coverage and what it’s doing for the network’s ratings…

Another story of the moment, the crisis in Ukraine, has also demanded attention, and while CNN has covered developments there, the senior executive acknowledged newsroom decisions had made to emphasize the plane story over Ukraine coverage.

In this case, the executive said, the CNN president, Jeff Zucker, who has aggressively steered the network toward committing full resources — and airtime — to continuing stories of intense interest, did not issue a memo telling producers to go wall to wall on the plane story. “It was understood,” the CNN senior executive said.

“One way to define ourselves is to go all-in on stories of human drama,” the executive said. Another way is to find creative ways to illustrate the story, which accounted for the heavy use of the flight simulator, the theme song, and the “visual room” map.

The likelihood is that CNN will feature the story aggressively until the mystery has loosened its grip on the public. In the past, the network has seen these ratings surges subside as interest in the events faded, with no residual impact on CNN’s regular ratings.

Usually by this point in a story that doesn’t offer a lot of new revelations in a rapid fire fashion, I burn out because I can’t take any more. Not this time. Maybe it’s a combination of the mystery involved and the comparatively unique set of circumstances that surround it.

Whatever it is, I’m hooked…and I’m hooked on CNN as they have managed to keep the story, as slothily incremental as it has been unfolding, going…not by advancing the story much (how can you advance something that isn’t advancing much) but by advancing our understanding of the story in ways other networks either hadn’t or couldn’t. Yes, there have been times when CNN has tried my patience by taking the story in directions that neither make sense nor work. But their sucess/failure rate has been unusually high for an industry that normally has run out of angles by this point.

But this novelty is not exclusively the realm of CNN. Today, on Ronan Farrow Daily the segment with Lester Holt and his flight simulator which got noted by Mediaite. But the most interesting aspect of this on its face rather gratuitous display, something Mediaite failed to point out, was the reason why investigators might be interested in the simulator. If it had been used to work our flight planning scenarios that directly tied in with what happened with MH370, there would be a record of that in the software’s logs…unless they got deleted of course.

It is things like Holt’s flight simulator demonstration and Martin Savidge’s hours in a flight simulator in segments that span commercial breaks where cable news is really shining because they help to explain why the story is unfolding the way it is.

Ahhh…Humor….AR! AR! AR! AR!

Posted in CNN on March 17, 2014 by icn2

(mega bonus points if you can I.D. the source of the title)

The New Yorker’s Andy Borowitz chimes in with some satire at CNN’s expense…

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—CNN apologized to its viewers today for briefly airing a story on Sunday that had nothing to do with the missing Malaysia Airlines flight.

The story, which caused thousands of viewers to contact the network in anger, had something to do with Crimea, Ukraine, and Russia.

In the official apology, CNN chief Jeff Zucker wrote, “On Sunday, we briefly cut away from our nonstop coverage of Flight 370 to talk about something else. We’re not going to sugarcoat it: we messed up. CNN regrets the error and promises our viewers that it won’t happen again.”

Overkill? No way…

Posted in CNN on March 13, 2014 by icn2

The Huffington Post’s Jack Mirkinson makes a dumb comparison between MH370 and the cruise ship debacle…

CNN has found itself once again on the defensive about its round-the-clock coverage of a news story with seemingly little news in it. But this time, it’s not a doomed cruise ship that’s giving the network’s critics some pause. It’s Flight 370, the Malaysia Airlines plane whose mysterious disappearance has baffled the world.

Flight 370, the missing Malaysian plane that disappeared somewhere in the South China Sea, has been a major story around the world for days. But nobody has pursued the story with the devotion of CNN—even though there’s hardly any new information to be had.

On Thursday, BuzzFeed’s Dorsey Shaw tallied up CNN’s coverage of the plane on Wednesday (a day when there were plenty of other cable-friendly topics, such as the explosion in East Harlem, to compete with the story). He found that, “Between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Wednesday, March 12, CNN devoted 256 out of 271 broadcast minutes covering Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 which disappeared six days ago.”

Ok…so there may be a dearth of information on what’s going on with MH370 but to compare it to the disabled cruise ship coverage CNN did is crazy. This story is a big deal on so many fronts:

- What happened?
- Was criminal activity involved?
- Was terrorism involved?
- What this means for air travel and the business of same going forward?

With the cruise ship it was a totally different story. The ship wasn’t in danger. The passengers were merely inconvenienced. The facts were known and not really changing.

CNN Prime Experimentation…

Posted in CNN on March 5, 2014 by icn2

TVNewser’s Jordan Chariton writes about the experimentation that CNN will be doing at 10pm for the next month…

Starting Monday, CNN anchor Don Lemon returns to primetime with “The Don Lemon Show.” The half-hour program will lead in to another new weekly show, “Making The Case” at 10:30pm.

Tuesdays at 10pm will be one-hour special reports; Wednesdays at 10 will see “Death Row Stories;” “Chicagoland” airs Thursdays at 10; and on Fridays its “CNN Spotlight” followed by “Unguarded with Rachel Nichols” at 10:30.

But this is what caught my eye…

“AC360″ will return to the 11pm hour Monday through Thursday, a re-air of the 8pm hour (live in the event of breaking news.) Friday’s at 11pm is reserved for “Death Row Stories.” This will be the schedule for at least the next five weeks.

It’s not clear from this, but does this mean that Outfront has lost its repeat?

Jeff Zucker Interview

Posted in CNN on March 5, 2014 by icn2

TVNewser’s Alissa Krinski interviews Jeff Zucker…

As the network moves forward, though, one thing is clear: Zucker likes the ratings scored by series such as “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” and “Morgan Spurlock’s Inside Man”.

“Certainly, there’s an appetite and an audience that’s willing to come to CNN to watch that kind of programming, and I think that you’ll see more of that this year.” Zucker says he has “several other series in that vein that we haven’t even announced yet.”

And Zucker says that doesn’t mean CNN is moving away from being first and foremost a news organization.

“The fact is,” he says, “CNN is actually offering more hours of live news programming today than we have at any point in the last five years. So the two [live news and documentaries] are not incompatible. We are always there when news happens. We’re in Ukraine this week, and Crimea, in tremendous numbers, offering round-the-clock coverage, far more than anyone else.”

I don’t doubt that CNN is offering more hours of live news programming now than at any point in the last five years. Adding Early Start alone pretty much accomplished that. But that was not really the issue either. It was the increase in the frequency of tape in primetime that is the issue.

Horrible Timing…

Posted in CNN on March 4, 2014 by icn2

Sunny Hostin put out a tweet this morning announcing a new 10pm CNN court show eith Mark Geragos that starts next Monday…(via J$)

The secret is out! Making the Case w/ Sunny Hostin & @markgeragos debuts on Monday, March 10th at 10pm @CNN Spread the word!! #savethetape

Horrible horrible planning and timing by Jeff Zucker. All hell is breaking loose in Ukraine and he slots a court show for Monday primetime.

Piers Morgan News…

Posted in CNN on March 2, 2014 by icn2

Showbiz 411′s Roger Friedman has news on Piers Morgan…

CNN’s Piers Morgan, who is ending his nightly show on the network, isn’t going anywhere. He told me last night that he’s staying at the network. “I’ll make a deal to do 20 ro 25 shows a year, all interviews with big names. That’s what I wanted to do in the first place, not reports on snow storms and that kind of thing.”

Morgan said his producer, Jonathan Wald, has already made a deal to stick around. What does he think will replace his current show? “A news program of some kind,” he said. He also acknowledged that his campaign for gun control was like “beating my head against a wall.”

CNN to Launch Indonesian Channel…

Posted in CNN on February 28, 2014 by icn2

Variety’s Patrick Frater writes about CNN coming to Indonesia…

CNN will launch an Indonesian version of its 24-hour news channel from 2016.

The local-language version will be hatched in partnership with PT Trans Media Corpora.

“This agreement with one of the country’s largest media corporations puts CNN in a unique position to reach millions of Indonesians in a way that we have not been able to previously,” Jeff Zucker, CNN Worldwide President. “The combination of the strength of the worldwide newsgathering power of CNN with the local perspective and sensibility that Trans Media will bring to the partnership enables us to provide important news and information to this enormous, non-English speaking audience.”

Trans Media is a leading integrated media group with two nationwide free-to-air television station (Trans TV and Trans 7), a leading pay TV operator, TelkomVision, and the most visited online portal,

The new channel launch will be accompanied by the debut of a major digital presence, headed by

Trans TV and Trans 7 hold the top positions in the Indonesian FTA market in terms of market share and profitability respectively. TelkomVision is the second largest pay-TV operator in Indonesia in terms of number of subscribers. Detik is Indonesia’s online portal.

Miles O’Brien’s Forearm Loss…

Posted in CNN on February 25, 2014 by icn2

Former CNNer, Miles O’Brien; one of the good guys and a loss that CNN still has yet to recover from inflicting upon itself all those years ago, blogs a scary tale that resulted in an amputation…

I wish I had a better story to tell you about why I am typing this with one hand (and some help from Dragon Dictate).

A shark attack would be interesting. An assassination attempt would be intriguing. Skydiving mishaps always make for good copy. An out-of-control quad copter that turns on its master would be entertaining (and would come complete with a grim, potentially viral, video).

No, the reason I am now one-handed is a little more prosaic than those scenarios.

You can read about what happened to O’Brien at his site. I’m amazed at the attitude he seems to be projecting here. I don’t think I could have handled it this well…

So I woke up to a new reality in the hospital. It’s been a challenging week dealing with the phantom pain, the vicissitudes of daily life with one hand and the worries about what lies ahead.

But I am alive and I’m grateful for that. Please don’t worry about me. I’m sure I can cope just fine. If I need your help, I promise I will ask.

Life is all about playing the hand that is dealt you. Actually, I would love somebody to deal me another hand right about now – in more ways than one.

Greg D’Alba On Thin Ice?

Posted in CNN on February 25, 2014 by icn2

FTVLive has a story about Jeff Zucker and Greg D’Alba not seeing eye to eye…

Word is that Zucker does not believe that D’Alba is on board with CNN’s new plan to move away from covering news.

D’Alba is well liked both inside and outside at CNN, but sources say Zucker has had some quiet talks about replacing the top sales guy.

This all comes as the up fronts are just around the corner and CNN doesn’t have winning successful show to sell.

One network source thinks that alone is causing much of the tension between the two.

D’Alba is also very close friends with New Day Anchor Chris Cuomo and sources tell FTVLive, he played an integral role in helping bring Cuomo over to CNN. Which has not worked out very week at all.

Jeff Zucker and Rick Kaplan…

Posted in CNN on February 25, 2014 by icn2

FTVLive has a story on a meeting between Jeff Zucker and Rick Kaplan…

Many wondered what the former failed CNN President was doing talking to the current failing CNN President?

CNN sources tell FTVLive that Zucker was talking to Kaplan about struggling morning show ‘New Day.’

Without a doubt, New Day has been Zucker’s biggest failure so far at CNN. The network spent millions of dollars on the show and it has flopped.

Word is that Zucker is contemplating taking Executive Producer Jim Murphy off the show.

Piers Morgan to Quit CNN Show?

Posted in CNN on February 23, 2014 by icn2

Ok, normally I don’t fall for these “sky is falling” Piers Morgan stories because there have been so many of them that the story has taken on “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” status. However this is The Sunday Times so I have to pay attention. The Times’ Will Pavia has the story, which is unfortunately hidden behind a pay wall that I can’t circumvent they way I could other newspapers’ pay walls…

Three years after he launched himself on an unsuspecting American public as a prime-time interrogator of politicians and celebrities, Piers Morgan has admitted defeat in the nightly ratings battle and plans to step down from his CNN show.

The former tabloid editor, who has transformed himself into a cable news personality, said that dwindling viewing figures and an anti-gun campaign that alienated a vast swath of his audience had led him to conclude that his show had “run its course”.

“It’s been a painful period and lately we have taken a bath in the ratings,” he said. “I am a…

Not much to go on based on this snippet. I would however point out that alienating a vast swath of your audience is pretty damn near a requirement to get anywhere in cable news primetime so I wouldn’t factor that into my decision to leave if I was Morgan. Then again this all could be Morgan positioning his exit as “his decision” rather than Jeff Zucker’s…

Update: The New York Times’ David Carr also writes about it so this is for real…in fact the Sunday Times story is a regurgitation of Carr’s story…

“It’s been a painful period and lately we have taken a bath in the ratings,” he said, adding that although there had been times when the show connected in terms of audience, slow news days were problematic.

“Look, I am a British guy debating American cultural issues, including guns, which has been very polarizing, and there is no doubt that there are many in the audience who are tired of me banging on about it,” he said. “That’s run its course and Jeff and I have been talking for some time about different ways of using me.”

Mr. Morgan said that his show, along with much of the rest of CNN, had been imprisoned by the news cycle and that he was interested in doing fewer appearances to greater effect — big, major interviews that would be events in themselves. Although a change has long been rumored, it was the first time that both he, and the CNN executives I talked to, acknowledged that his nightly show was on the way out. Plans for a replacement at the 9 o’clock hour are still underway, but Mr. Morgan and the network are in talks about him remaining at CNN in a different role.


Posted in CNN on February 14, 2014 by icn2

The Sunday World has an uncredited…

…let me repeat that….


…article stating that Piers Morgan could face repercussions at CNN over being interviewed “under caution” over the phone hacking scandal.

The Sunday World is an Irish tabloid…

…let me repeat that…

…an Irish tabloid…

CNN talk show host and former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan’s contract with the U.S. broadcaster is in jeopardy after his questioning by has been questioning under caution by the Metropolitan Police over phone hacking.

Do note the badly mis-formatted sentence above…

The conservative and ethically sensitive CNN which proudly holds its standards in high esteem is likely to suspend the journalist and presenter who has made a €64m fortune while many of his former colleagues have been under the cosh of an intensive investigation into phone hacking by the News of the World and the Sunday Mirror.

That CNN is sensitive is putting it mildly. It runs away like the plague leaving staffers twisting in the wind over the slightest negative self-inflicted wound…unless you are juiced in with the corporate parent and have a Sunday show in which case you are safe

Nontheless, it is this aversion to risk combined with the fact that this interview took place last year…

…let me repeat that…

…last year…

…which makes the Sunday World’s article a total joke. CNN had to have already been made aware of this interview and all that happened during it by Team Morgan…because it would be starting a time bomb to not make them aware. Ergo, today’s “revelation” is already baked in and CNN is going to do nothing based on this news and the Sunday World is just making mischief…or…speculating wildly without having a clue about what’s going on. Pick one… (via J$)


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