HLN Announces New Shows…

Posted in HLN on April 10, 2014 by icn2

HLN announced some new programming today…

HLN ANNOUNCES NIGHTLY NEWS PROGRAM, THE DAILY SHARE & UNVEILS 2ND DEVELOPMENT SLATE UNDER NEW BRAND AT 2014-15 UPFRONT

*Projects Include: 2 Spouses, 3 Houses; America’s Most Liked; What’s Trending; The Indie Machines Project; Wkly M@shup with Chuey Martinez;
Natural Born Mixer With Alex Ott; Web Mysteries; News or Not; The Social Life; Beyond The Like; Trip Traders

HLN dives further into a social media filter with a wide-ranging mix of programs in development to be announced by Albie Hecht, executive vice president and general manager, HLN, at today’s CNN Worldwide Upfront presentation in New York City.
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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…

CNN ANNOUNCES NEW PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

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…

MIKE ROWE BRINGS ORIGINAL SERIES TO CNN

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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Q: When Is A Fundraiser Not A Fundraiser?

Posted in MSNBC on April 10, 2014 by icn2

A: When the fundraiser’s organizers decide to change it from being a fundraiser to a non-fundraiser of course. Politico’s Dylan Byers has more

UPDATE (10:55 p.m.): Within an hour of this post, New Hampshire’s Cheshire County Republican Committee issued a press release noting that the event in question would no longer be a fundraiser, and that they would lower the price of tickets to $25, which would merely cover costs — thereby allowing MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough to speak at the event without forcing MSNBC to change its policy. The post has been updated to reflect that change.

MSNBC will allow host Joe Scarborough to deliver the keynote address at what was originally slated to be a political fundraiser next month, even though it denied that privilege to host Ed Schultz earlier this year.

“Joe isn’t participating in a fundraiser. MSNBC hosts often participate in events where there is a nominal fee for registration or tickets that basically cover the cost of the event. There has been no change in policy,” Lauren Skowronski, the network’s vice president of media relations, wrote in an email late Wednesday night, bringing an end to nearly 36 hours in which the network did not respond to requests for comment.

Uh-huh. Looks like someone caved to me…

Free for All: 04/09/14

Posted in Free For All on April 9, 2014 by icn2

What’s on your mind?

DirectTV Wins?

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on April 8, 2014 by icn2

The Wall Street Journal’s Suzanne Vranika, Shalini Ramachandran, and Ryan Dezember write about The Weather Channel returning to DirecTV…

Nonetheless, DirecTV’s decision to bring the Weather Channel back to its lineup gives a boost to Blackstone and its fellow owners, Bain Capital LLC and Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal, which paid about $3.5 billion to acquire the business in 2008. DirecTV wanted to cut the fee it paid to carry the Weather Channel, which would likely have prompted a string of other TV providers to ask for a similar reduction. DirecTV CEO Mike White said in a public letter to customers earlier this year that the Weather Channel was worth only “one quarter of the price” the channel wanted the satellite operator to pay.

Any reduction in the Weather Channel’s fees would hurt Weather Co.’s bottom line at a time when its private-equity owners are pondering an exit from their investment. The price of Weather Co.’s debt jumped higher on news of the agreement with DirecTV, according to data provider S&P Capital IQ LCD.

If a deal hadn’t been reached, the Weather Channel stood to permanently lose about one-fifth of its potential audience. DirecTV is the second-biggest pay-TV operator, serving about 20 million subscribers.

As things turned out, DirecTV agreed to a small increase in the fees it pays to the Weather Channel, although the increase will be less than the penny per subscriber a month the channel wanted, one of the people said. The Weather Channel now receives about 13 cents per subscriber a month, estimates research firm SNL Kagan.

I’m going to score this as a win for DirecTV on points. Not an overwhelming victory but certainly better than a draw. DirecTV got the Weather Channel to offer more weather which made the channel a more attractive property from its point of view and it didn’t have to pay the amount The Weather Channel wanted. It’s a win-win for both channels but more of a win for DirecTV.

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