ABC’s GMA3 Disaster: How Everyone Screwed Up

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on December 22, 2022 by icn2

In this business of media navel gazing, we like to pick winners and losers. No matter how messed up the story is, invariably you’ll see someone make every effort to opine that this is who won and this is who lost, no matter how tenuous the argument may be.

That is not possible with the hot mess that is GMA3. Everyone is to blame and everyone is a loser. However not all losers are created equal.

Let’s start with the biggest loser and that is ABC itself. No matter how this resolves itself ABC will have to dig itself out of a hole but it’s a hole largely of its own creation.

The network had an opportunity for a brief moment at the very beginning to nip this in the bud. It faced a choice: ride it out for a week or two until the tabloids got bored and moved on to something else or panic.

ABC chose panic. Top to bottom, starting with ABC News President Kim Godwin, ABC panicked.

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The Impending Fallout From James O’Keefe’s CNN Expose…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on December 1, 2020 by icn2

We still don’t know what will be in James O’Keefe’s CNN Editorial Meeting Expose but based on past behavior we can be relatively confident in making a few predictions:

  • The recordings will be cherry picked, edited, and possibly out of context. It’s fair to highlight bits and pieces but it’s not fair to highlight bits and pieces without providing some record of the full context so that the bits and pieces can be properly evaluated. I seriously doubt O’Keefe is going to do that, not necessarily because of him having an agenda (which he absolutely does have), but the infrastructure required to host this stuff in full context is probably beyond Project Veritas’ capability (or desire). And they won’t put it on YouTube because CNN will (rightfully) seek takedown notices and YouTube would comply.

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MSNBC’s Politics Conundrum

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects with tags on October 2, 2020 by icn2

In a must read, the Wall Street Journal’s Benjamin Mullin and Joe Flint write about how newly minted NBC Universal News Group Chairman Cesar Conde isn’t thrilled with how MSNBC’s reliance on politics programming impacts ratings when non-political news takes the forefront.

Mr. Conde is undertaking a review of NBCUniversal’s news operations that includes an analysis of MSNBC’s audience trends, according to people familiar with the matter. He wants to establish a brighter line between daytime news coverage and evening opinion analysis, they say.

This is nothing new for cable news or MSNBC in particular. That network has suffered for decades from this particular non-politics affliction and watched as rivals skyrocket in the ratings while its numbers don’t.

If you believe the Journal story, Conde is keeping his options open in ways that might seem surprising.

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The case for why CNBC was the best viable option for Shepard Smith

Posted in CNBC on July 8, 2020 by icn2

Today’s news that Shepard Smith is joining CNBC appears on its face to be a head scratching move of the highest order. Short of joining the constantly self-remaking-itself/can’t-stick-to-a-plan-for-long HLN, there wouldn’t seem to be a worse possible career move Smith could make for an anchor of his stature.

The network doesn’t bother with news on weekends or at night. Smith’s 7pm show will the latest CNBC has flirted with a newscast since The News with Brian Williams occupied the 9pm slot (moved eventually to 8pm) nearly two decades ago. And that was back when CNBC had an actual live evening lineup with The News, Rivera Live, and Hardball.

And then there’s the rumors that newly minted NBC Newsgroup Chairman Cesar Conde wants to put in a conservative leaning prime time slate of shows which raises the obvious question about how Smith’s liberally leaning newscast is going to work as a lead-in to a block of conservative programming.

It would seem Smith to CNBC really doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Now, having said all that, here are the arguments for why CNBC was Smith’s best option. Things become rather self-evident when we look at the networks Smith had to choose from:
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MSNBC Needs to Clean Up Its Dayside Scheduling Mess…

Posted in CNN, MSNBC on June 16, 2020 by icn2

Ever since COVID-19 mania swept over the nation and the world, two of the three cable news networks tore up their regular dayside scheduling. But the methods and tactics differed wildly.

Over at CNN the changes consisted of shifting some of its primetime talent into dayside in attempt to potentially juice their primetine show ratings long term (the tactic will fail to work as it has always failed to work for CNN whenever it tries this stunt…but that’s a story for another day). In addition Brooke Baldwin went down with COVID-19 for weeks which further disrupted the rotation. Months later, the schedule has not yet returned to pre COVID-19 order and it’s not clear when that will happen. It will happen at some point but COVID-19 isn’t the only thing impacting anchor rotation decisions now in the wake of George Floyd’s death and everything else that has happened since.

Over at MSNBC things have gotten rather messy for reasons that are no longer really operative. The single biggest driving factor that blew up MSNBC’s Dayside rotation was President Trump’s multi-hour daily briefings. When they were being held starting around 11:30am ET, they’d frequently run over Andrea Mitchell’s entire hour which caused the network to carve out the first half hour at 1pmET for her show before going into a half hour of someone else at 1:30pm.

But then Trump shifted his briefings to around 4pm which ran over Chuck Todd’s hour. So the network responded by putting Todd on at 1pm in a non-Meet The Press Daily format…so he wasn’t really doing his show at 1pm, he was doing whatever was news at that hour (basically COVID and later BLM).

Meanwhile, the network decided to lengthen Deadline: White House and have it start at 3:30pm ET. That left 3-3:30 as needing to be filled and MSNBC filled it by pairing Brian Williams with Wallace for the half hour as well as pairing Williams with Katy Tur in her own hour at 2pm.

That pairing didn’t work so well so MSNBC shook that up by pairing Todd and Tur together from 1pm-3pm ET. And Williams and Wallace from 3:00-3:30pm and Wallace solo from 3:30-5pm.

Except Todd doesn’t work Mondays. So Tur anchors 1pm Monday solo, right? Wrong! On Mondays they have Ari Melber solo anchor 1pm because…because…well just because dammit!

And that’s where we currently stand with MSNBC’s tortured dayside lineup.

What a mess. Melber anchoring solo Mondays at 1pm makes no sense. Pairing Todd and Tur and Williams and Wallace makes no sense, particularly when they aren’t in the same location. Watching the lags go on and uneven flow of the back and forth locations and segments is very awkward especially when you consider that these issues only became introduced because MSNBC decided to start remote pairing anchors.

Pairing Williams and Wallace for half an hour makes even less sense. There’s really no reason for it just like it makes no sense for MSNBC, or any network for that matter, to have a 1.5 hour program (Deadline: White House).

And all of this occurred because of Trump’s COVID-19 press briefings jumping around the day…briefings that aren’t even occurring any more.

MSNBC needs to restore order to the chaos and clean up its dayside anchor rotation and make something consistent out of it again.

CNN’s Unhelpful Death Clock Must Go…

Posted in CNN on March 20, 2020 by icn2

CNN has started keeping COVID-19 statistics on its screen full time. I’m calling it CNN’s “Death Clock” because basically that’s what it is…something that continuously updates the dead and infected COVID-19 cases around the world…and a special breakout for the US dead and sick.

And it’s on the screen




To say that CNN is being unhelpful here is to be charitable. The genius who thought this up should be put in quarantine for the rest of this crisis. Or be lobotomized so they never come up with another stupid idea like that again.

What on earth is CNN thinking here? Thats it’s helpful to further stress out an already stressed out nation by leaving those constantly updating stats on the screen all the time?

This isn’t a pledge break like the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon where we want to know how well we’re doing to measure our progress. This is life and death and any further increase in those figures just makes us feel worse and more h.

People are dying.


There is no journalistic benefit for this stunt. It’s fair to talk about the statistics periodically. But this ubiquitous saturation bombing of these stats is just a very sick twisted gimmick that does nothing to help us in what for many is the fight of our lives.

CNN must remove the “death clock”. It is repugnant…

Guerilla Journalism Goes Off The Rails…What Did You Expect Would Happen?

Posted in MSNBC on March 11, 2020 by icn2

I haven’t blogged in over a year. But this story got me back because it’s a case study on how non network news people don’t understand how news networks function as well as serve as a reminder that in today’s polarizing times that people who are the faces of network newscasts need to be on guard and exercise extreme self-restraint.

So yesterday after finishing her remote shift on the road in Michigan on MSNBC, anchor Chris Jansing was confronted by Jack Allison, a Bernie Sanders supporter and podcaster, about why the network didn’t cover someone bringing a Nazi flag to a Sanders rally. It didn’t go well as Fox News’ Joseph A Wulfwon reported

As the Michigan primary was underway, “JackAM” host Jack Allison approached Jansing at the Detroit Institute of the Arts (DIA) and asked her why the network chose not to dedicate any significant coverage to the disrupter who flew a Nazi flag at Sanders’ rally in Arizona last week.

“Hi, can I ask you a question?” Allison asks. “Why did your network not find it newsworthy to report on an anti-Semitic attack [at] the Jewish candidate’s rally on Friday?”

“[I] don’t make those decisions. So I can’t answer that,” Jansing responds.

“So who makes those decisions? Because I texted producer Daniel Arnall personally and told him about this information, so it’s not credible that no one in the building knows. So I want to know why the network made that decision,” Allison continues.

The full video was posted on Twitter by Allison so you can go watch it yourself.

My first reaction on seeing this was, and still is, what did you expect Jack?
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The Hazards of Live TV: #25,150

Posted in Hazards of Live TV on October 20, 2018 by icn2

It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these and if I hadn’t have stumbled upon it by accident yesterday, I never would have posted it. Contessa Brewer’s reaction is priceless…

HLN Blows Up Format…AGAIN! Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Posted in HLN on October 16, 2018 by icn2

HLN blew up it’s dayside lineup and format yet again and that got me off my ass and on to the keyboard.

I’ve lost count how many times HLN has blown up its format since it stopped using CNN Headline News’ half hour wheel format in the mid 2000s. It’s surely blown it up at least four times in the last 10 years. News…then opinion mixed with news…then more tape than news…then a horrid social media tie in attempt…then back to live news which was supposed to cover more flyover territory stories. And during it all a revolving door of shows and talent paraded on and off HLN’s airwaves.

The most recent news revamp just launched barely 2 years ago when CNN started sending talent over in the forms of Ashleigh Banfield, Michaela Pereira, and (last year) Carol Costello.

When Costello’s move was announced I said it was a risk.
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NBC’s Bungled Response to the Tom Brokaw Allegations

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on May 4, 2018 by icn2

I haven’t blogged in four months. But this story has brought me out because this story is begging for my attention.

I don’t know if Tom Brokaw did what Linda Vester claims he did. I can never know. Brokaw has a long pedigree of distinction both in and out of journalism, but then so did Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer. So did Roger Ailes. Vester has been out of the public eye for over a decade so why would she invite the kind of spotlight and all the negative crap that was guaranteed to come her way if there wasn’t maybe something to this. Vester isn’t an opportunist. She has more to lose than to gain by coming forward at this point in her life. Or so the conventional wisdom would go.

But, this is all idle speculation and extrapolation, not grounded in fact. The only two people who can weigh in to clear this up already have and, lacking another person coming forward on the record, this story isn’t going anywhere from a resolution standpoint.

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Jeff Zucker to ESPN?

Posted in CNN on January 19, 2018 by icn2

Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva writes that Jeff Zucker has been in talks with Disney about possibly taking over ESPN…

Reps at Disney could not be reached for comment, but multiple sources close to Zucker confirmed to Deadline that he has had conversations for the top job at the sports giant. I hear he met with Disney chairman and chief executive officer Bob Iger last week in New York.


Zucker, whose current CNN contract I hear is up at the end of the year, is an intriguing proposition. He has a higher profile than any of the other potential candidates. He was able to reverse CNN’s linear ratings declines even before the Donald Trump-fueled political coverage ratings bonanza. He also successfully built the cable news network’s digital brand, overseeing a big online expansion.

Those are things Disney wants to see ESPN achieve. The network’s ratings woes have been dragging down Disney’s stock price as the sports net has been shedding linear subscribers. Disney also has been looking to better monetize ESPN and its programming in a multi-platform universe, including via a recently announced ESPN-branded OTT service.

I agree with part of Andreeva’s retrospective of Zucker’s “accomplishments”. He did make a huge push into digital for CNN…the success of which is still to ultimately be judged. But don’t give him too many props for “fixing” CNN’s ratings. He never got CNN close to striking distance of FNC and though he did push CNN above MSNBC…that had as much, if not more, to do with MSNBC’s crashing and burning on its own than it did with anything Zucker did…a point reinforced by the NBC cable network’s rebound in the ratings.

I would also be remiss in not noting one of the things Zucker did over the air was basically kill CNN’s news brand. He pushed (exiled?) the bulk of the news, even major world news, to the digital platform. Under Jeff Zucker, CNN stopped being the cable network to turn to for straight news and became the network for watercooler news.

All of which makes his hiring by ESPN all the more questionable because ESPN’s problem is eroding viewership. Driving people to digital for sports won’t solve that problem. You don’t want to move your biggest sports assets to digital…right now you’ll lose out on that deal because there aren’t enough out there to make up for what you lose by cutting off cable distribution. Ultimately at some point that will change and digital will become to dominant distribution channel. But we are still years from that point.

In addition to spearheading CNN’s ratings resurgence, Zucker has been able to grow a slew of media stars, turning Don Lemon, Jake Tapper and Chris Cuomo into household names.

Oh please. None of these guys are household names. I love me some Tapper but even he isn’t a household name. And Zucker didn’t “grow” any of these guys. Lemon became “famous”, if you want to use that term, all on his own because of his gaffes. Tapper had a rep before he even got to CNN and that hasn’t changed since he’s been there. I see very little of Zucker’s imprint on Cuomo. And as long as we’re talking about profiles, what the hell has happened to Anderson Cooper since Zucker arrived? He went from being CNN’s go to, bounce around the country/world, news star to being a low profile desk jockey. Maybe that’s partly Cooper’s own doing/choice…but you can draw a dividing line between Anderson Cooper pre-Jeff Zucker and Anderson Cooper post-Jeff Zucker.

Update: CNN’s Brian Stelter, completely and irrevocably entangled in conflict of interest mode for this story for as long as it plays out, along with the similarly ensnared Dylan Byers note that CNN is denying the that Zucker is interested.

In response to questions, CNN spokeswoman Allison Gollust said, “Jeff loves his job at CNN, and has no interest in running ESPN.”

They also note that Andreeva updated her original story to remove the Iger sentence…

Deadline’s story, written by Nellie Andreeva, initially said “I hear that he met with Disney chairman and chief executive officer Bob Iger last week.” But that sentence was later cut from the story. Multiple sources denied to CNN that there’s been any in-person meeting between Zucker and Iger.

CBS is about to make a mistake…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on November 27, 2017 by icn2

Broadcast TV usually falls outside of my coverage area but every once in a while something comes along that I just can’t ignore. Today it is the idea that Vladimir Duthiers is the front runner to get the CBS This Morning seat vacated by the departed in disgrace Charlie Rose. Said news comes from today’s Page Six

Sources told Page Six last week that the network was “begging” new “60 Minutes” correspondent Oprah Winfrey to fill in and team up with best friend King. But a network source says, “Oprah will continue doing work for ‘60 Minutes,’ but has no interest in getting up at 4 a.m. every day.” The source added of Duthiers, “Vlad is a front-runner at this point … Like Charlie, Vlad’s strength is as an interviewer.”

Duthiers is a Peabody and Emmy winner, and got high marks for covering the Black Lives Matter protests in Ferguson, Mo. He was also CNN’s West Africa correspondent.

This would be a mistake. Not because it would be Duthiers. This has nothing to do with Duthiers or his abilities at all.

It would be a mistake because it ignores the obvious; CBS doesn’t have a bench with anyone capable of replacing Rose and to try to replace Rose from the CBS bench would mean CBS has forgotten the very reasons for putting Rose there in the first place.

CBS This Morning started out as a Charlie Rose vehicle. Sure, it had Erica Hill at Rose’s side (for a while anyways) and Gayle King was there too. But King didn’t start out as a full co-anchor. She would appear starting at the 8am hour.

CBS This Morning was always a Charlie Rose vehicle. Rose was hired because of the pedigree he had cultivated over decades at PBS. Rose was the lynchpin…the glue that held the show together. Even as Norah O’Donnell replaced Hill and King was allowed on the air at the beginning of the show and that triumvirate gelled into the cohesive unit that drove the CBS morning show to ratings gains while its competitors lost views, it was still Charlie Rose’s show because he still had the most gravitas.

This is why picking a relative no-name off the CBS bench breaks everything CBS had built up to this point. Doesn’t matter if it was Druthiers or Jeff Glor or Anthony Mason…nobody on CBS’ bench has the gravitas to fill the gap that Rose’s exit created and which the CBS morning show depended on.

It’s not like there isn’t gravitas remaining on the show. In the intervening years both O’Donnell and King have carved out their own spaces on the show. The smart play here would be to turn the show into a tandem and build off of what they created. They have earned the right to go it alone.

By bringing in a new third wheel, but one lacking in Rose’s gravitas and stature, the dynamic CBS had created gets destroyed. The only way that dynamic continues is with O’Donnell and King going it alone.

By not going that route, by essentially throwing up their hands and saying, “well, let’s kind of start over” and bringing on someone who doesn’t have the profile or background to lead the show the way Rose did, and only be able to follow in O’Donnell and King’s wake, CBS is saying that not only does it not understand the dynamic that made the show work, it would rather set things back with an on set chemistry disruption that is going to happen as the three hosts figure out their roles all over again but it is also a big time no-confidence vote in both O’Donnell and King that they aren’t good enough to go forward on their own.

Believe me, that is exactly what CBS would be saying, for without a Rose replacement capable of keeping the existing dynamic going, the best option in preserving the CBS This Morning dynamic is not to replace Rose with someone who can’t fill the role he played but to go forward with the two who are best placed to preserve that dynamic.

Roberts Out, Gura In…

Posted in MSNBC on November 19, 2017 by icn2

Mediaite’s Justin Baragona writes, with some palace intrigue tossed in, that Thomas Roberts is out at MSNBC and Justin Gura is in. I knew about Gura because he tweeted it yesterday but the Roberts news I didn’t catch until today.

Yes, it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything here but I’ve been bored out of my skull at the lack of interesting cable news angles that don’t involve Trump or Clinton. Which makes Baragona’s article whet my appetite…

Per an MSNBC Spokesperson: “Thomas Roberts has decided to leave MSNBC for other endeavors. He’s been a valued member of the NBC News and MSNBC family since 2010, and we’re thankful for his contributions and Emmy Award-winning coverage for the news division. We wish him success in his new adventure.”

This version of events runs counter to what Mediaite has heard which is that Roberts was made many unfulfilled promises and that MSNBC staffers are upset that Roberts, a very highly regarded colleague at MSNBC, has been forced out.

I do not find it surprising that Roberts may be feeling like the victim of unfulfilled promises. Network history is replete with the bodies of talent who got run over after being promised all kinds of stuff. I find it a bit more surprising that anyone would be shocked that he has been (allegedly) forced out. He lost his M-Fr gig and wound up on weekends. That’s a demotion, pure and simple. Banishment, at that point, becomes a much more realistic outcome.

Another thing to notice with this move is that it is just a weekend anchor job and yet we are told it was made by Lack directly not MSNBC president Phil Griffin, something that an official MSNBC source disputes.</blockquote.

This doesn't surprise me. Lack has his fingerprints all over MSNBC as he continues to bring NBC News and its cable offshoot tighter together.

There is heightened sensitivity surrounding Lack’s role since many inside the network believe Griffin will soon be replaced by his “number two,” former CNN showrunner Jonathan Wald. Wald, who was also hired directly by Lack, left CNN earlier this year to become the SVP of Programming and Development at MSNBC.

This would surprise me, mostly because NBC just renewed Griffin so it would look very odd to move him off after just having re-signed him. Why rehire a guy you really didn’t want to keep around? But NBC could try to disguise the switch as a “promotion” though it’s kind of difficult to promote someone from being a network head to a higher position precisely because there aren’t really any viable higher positions at NBC than network head.

FNC Finally Finalizes Dayside…

Posted in FNC on September 26, 2017 by icn2

TVNewser’s Chris Ariens notes that FNC is finally setting its dayside lineup in stone. Dayside has been in a partial state of flux since Gretchen Carlson left the network…and that was over a year ago. With these moves FNC’s lineup will be complete.

– Harris Faulkner will get her own show at 1pm called…uh…Outnumbered Overtime. Question: If it’s her show how can she “outnumber” anyone? Just wondering. This does mean John Scott loses an hour since 1pm was his shift.

– Dana Perino will get her own show at 2pm called The Daily Briefing.

– Sandra Smith will get the permanent co-anchor gig with Bill Hemmer in America’s Newsroom at 9am.

This comes on the heels of the announcement that Shannon Bream is getting an 11pm show to go up against Brian Williams on MSNBC and Don Lemon at CNN.

September Numbers: CNN…

Posted in CNN, Ratings Related on September 26, 2017 by icn2

CNN is noting its September ratings…



Key Programs Set Record Ratings, Post Double-Digit Growth from Last Year

CNN Beats MSNBC for 14th Straight Quarter;
Cuts Deficit with Fox News to Smallest in 9 years


CNN had its most-watched third quarter ever. The quarter ended Sunday with record high ratings throughout key dayparts and programs.

In Total Day, CNN had its most-watched third quarter ever among total viewers and its highest 3Q delivery among adults 25-54 in 16 years (since 2001). In prime time, CNN delivered its second highest 3Q since 2008 in both total viewers and the demo (25-54). During dayside programming (9am-4pm), CNN had its best 3Q delivery since 1995 in total viewers and since 2001 among adults 25-54.

Several key CNN programs also posted their highest 3Q deliveries on record among adults 25-54, including CNN’s Erin Burnett Outfront, Anderson Cooper 360, CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, The Lead with Jake Tapper and The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. New Day posted its second highest quarterly performance on record among both adults 25-54 and total viewers.

CNN ranked #2 in cable news this quarter, beating MSNBC once again in Total Day and dayside programming among adults 25-54. In Total Day, CNN outperformed MSNBC for the 14th straight quarter (266k vs. MSNBC’s 216k), the longest quarterly streak since 2Q 2010. In daytime, CNN topped MSNBC for the 20th straight quarter among adults 25-54 (244k vs. MSNBC’s 177k). During prime time, the competition is close, with only 6k separating CNN from MSNBC and 58k from Fox News. CNN’s weekend programming was #1 in both Total Day and prime time, easily outperforming both MSNBC and Fox News.

CNN cut the deficit with Fox News to it smallest in nine years (since 4Q-08) in Total Day among adults 25-54.

Several key CNN programs ranked #1 in cable news this quarter, posting higher demo audiences than both Fox News and MSNBC, including: Early Start with Christine Romans and Dave Briggs, State of the Union with Jake Tapper (noon) and Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter. CNN programming on Saturdays (11am-8pm and 9pm-5am) and Sundays (11am-1pm and 2pm-3am) also ranked #1 in cable news for the quarter.

Among ALL cable networks, CNN ranked #7 in Total Day and #10 in prime time among total viewers. This marks the fifth straight quarter and longest quarterly streak in nearly 22 years (since 4Q 1995) that CNN is a Top 10 Cable network among total viewers in Total Day.

(For context when comparing 3Q prime time a year ago – CNN had an unprecedented ratings lift and posted record high viewership due to the RNC and DNC convention coverage that aired during the third quarter last summer – which is why the network is down slightly vs. last year in the prime time daypart.)

Median Age:

Both MSNBC and Fox News’ audience skews much older than CNN’s as shown by the number of total viewers they attract vs. the key demographic adults 25-54. Year-to-date, CNN’s median age in Total Day is 60 years, Fox News and MSNBC are both 65. In prime time, CNN is 59 years, MSNBC is 65 years and Fox News has the oldest skewing audience at 66 years. CNN is tracking at its youngest yearly median age since 2008 in Total Day, while MSNBC is at its oldest on record.

CNN 3Q 2017 Program Highlights:


Early Start with Christine Romans and Dave Briggs (4-6am) ranked #1 across cable news with 155k among adults 25-54, Fox placed second and MSNBC was third. Early Start grew +13% in the demo vs. third quarter a year ago.

New Day with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota (6-9am) had its second highest quarterly performance on record (229k among 25-54, 644k in total viewers) and is posting its largest quarterly share (including ties) of the cable news audience on record among both 25-54 (25%) and total viewers (19%). CNN has cut the quarterly deficit vs. Fox & Friends to its smallest since 4Q-08 in the key demo (-33%). New Day grew double-digits vs. last year, increasing +36% among 25-54 and +23% in total viewers.

CNN dayside (9am-4pm): CNN dominated MSNBC during dayside programming this month among adults 25-54 (244k vs. 177k), posting it highest 3Q performance since 2001 among 25-54 and since 1995 in total viewers. CNN dayside programming also increased +17% in the demo vs. a year ago. CNN has now topped MSNBC for the 20th straight quarter.

The Lead with Jake Tapper (4pm) ranked #2 in cable news this quarter in the key demo 25-54 with 278k, MSNBC followed with 217k. The Lead posted its highest 3Q ratings performance in both 25-54 (278k) and total viewers (1.013m) this quarter. The Tapper-led program grew +14% in the demo compared to third quarter last year.

The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer also had a very strong quarter, posting its highest third quarter ratings on record at both 5pm and 6pm in the demo. The Sit Room at 5pm ranked #2 in cable news in the demo (298k), increasing +12% compared to last year’s busy election year. At 6pm, the Blitzer-led show also ranked #2 (323k), up +14% vs. third quarter a year ago.

Evenings/Prime Time:

CNN prime time (M-Su, 8-11pm) delivered its second highest 3Q performance since 2008 in both the key demo (388k) and in total viewers (1.099m). For context, when comparing 3Q prime time a year ago – CNN had an unprecedented ratings lift and posted record high viewership due to the RNC and DNC convention coverage that aired during the third quarter last summer.

Erin Burnett Outfront (7pm) posted its highest 3Q 25-54 delivery on record and the network’s best 7pm 3Q performance since 1995. The Burnett-anchored news program ranked #2 in cable news, averaging 365k among adults 25-54, MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews ranked third with 333k. EBOF has now topped MSNBC at 7pm for the 13th straight quarter. The program grew +12% in the demo compared to third quarter last year.

Anderson Cooper 360 (8pm) also posted its highest 3Q delivery on record, topping All in with Chris Hayes in the key demo adults 25-54 (421k vs. MSNBC’s 389k). The Cooper-led program has now outperformed MSNBC for 14 consecutive quarters. AC 360 was up +3% in the demo compared to last year’s busy political election year and was the highest rated CNN program in weekday prime time.

While MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show has had ratings success at 9pm, CNN’s live 9pm programming had double-digit growth this quarter, increasing +15% among adults 25-54 and +10% among total viewers vs. third quarter a year ago.

CNN Tonight with Don Lemon (10pm) had its highest 3Q delivery on record in both adults 25-54 (416k) and total viewers (1.161m) this quarter and grew the most of all CNN weekday prime time programming, increasing +17% in the demo and +13% in total viewers vs. 3Q-2016. At 11pm, the second live hour of the Lemon-led CNN Tonight (358k) ranked #2 in the demo (up +9%) and +8% among total viewers.


CNN weekend total day ranked #1 in cable news in the demo, averaging 273k, Fox News was second with 249k and MSNBC was third with 153k among adults 25-54 this quarter. CNN was up the most in cable news increasing +34% in the demo and +18% in total viewers vs. last year.

CNN weekend primetime was also #1 in the demo this month with 355k, Fox News followed with 278k and MSNBC had 147k. CNN grew +42% in the demo and +27% in total viewers vs. third quarter last year.

On Saturdays, CNN New Day ranked #2 this quarter, growing double digits each hour.

Smerconish (Saturdays 9am) ranked #2 in the demo 25-54 (297k vs. MSNBC’s 172k) and among total viewers (980k vs. MSNBC’s 733k). The program was up +33% in the key demo and +22% among total viewers vs. a year ago.

CNN programming on Saturdays, which includes Newsroom with Fredricka Whitfield and Newsroom with Ana Cabrera, all ranked #1 in the demo 25-54 from 11am-8pm and from 9pm-5am. Each hour was also up double-digits vs. last year. On Sundays, CNN ranked #1 in cable news each hour on Sundays from 11am-1pm and 2pm-3am in the key demo 25-54, growing double digits.

Inside Politics with John King (Sundays 8am) ranked #2 in both adults 25-54 (239k) and total viewers (798k). MSNBC ranked 3rd. The King-led program grew +27% among adults 25-54 and +15% in total viewers vs. last year.

State of the Union with Jake Tapper (Sundays) ranked #2 in cable news at 9am in both adults 25-54 (342k) and total viewers (1.022m). The program grew +50% in the demo 25-54 and +29% in total viewers compared to third quarter year last year. The noon edition ranked #1 in cable news in the demo with 335k, Fox News followed with 246k and MSNBC was third with 206k, growing +36% from a year ago. MSNBC was a distant third at both 9am and noon. SOTU has now ranked #1 at noon for the third consecutive quarter among 25-54.

Fareed Zakaria GPS (Sundays) ranked #2 in cable news at both 10am and 1pm among both the demo (267k/223k) and among total viewers (974k/832k). Among 25-54, the program was up double digits at 10a (+12%) and 1p (+15%).

Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter (Sundays, 11am) ranked #1 in cable news among 25-54, posting its first quarterly win since Stelter began hosting in 2013. For the quarter, Reliable averaged 284k, Fox News’ Media Buzz followed with 272k and MSNBC’s AM Joy had 229k. The Stelter-led media program was up +25% in adults 25-54 vs. third quarter last year.

CNN 3Q 2017 Original Series, CNN Films and CNN Special Reports Highlights:

CNN’s The Nineties (7/9-8/20/17, Sundays 9pm) was the most-watched CNN Original Series to-date (thru 9/24/17) among 25-54 and third most-watched among total viewers. The decade series ranked #1 in both demos across cable news in its time period, outperforming the combined 25-54 delivery of Fox News and MSNBC. Every episode also ranked #1 among 25-54 across cable news in its time period, outperforming the combined delivery of Fox News and MSNBC.

CNN’s The History of Comedy Season 1 (2/9-8/13/17, Thu 10pm/Sun 10pm) was the second most-watched CNN Original Series to-date among both 25-54 and total viewers. HOC also ranked #1 among 25-54 across cable news in its time period.

CNN’s Declassified: Untold Stories of American Spies Season 2 to-date (7/22-9/23/17, Sat 9pm) ranks #2 among 25-54 across cable news in its time period. Pacing above its Season 1 average on Sundays at 10pm by double-digit percentages among both 25-54 and total viewers.

CNN Films: Elian Premiere (Thu 8/24/17) and CNN Films: The Reagan Show Premiere (Mon 9/4/17) attracted the youngest audience across cable news in their respective time periods. The premiere of CNN Films: Legion of Brothers (Sun 9/24/17) ranked #1 in cable news among adults 25-54 and second in total viewers in its time period.

CNN Special Report: Secret State: Inside North Korea Premiere (Fri 9/15/17) was the #1 cable news telecast of the day among adults 25-54 and the second most-watched CNN Special Report so far in 2017 among 25-54.

End of Month September 2017 Highlights:

CNN beat MSNBC in Total Day, dayside and prime time (M-Su and M-F) demo 25-54.

CNN posts robust ratings growth in all key dayparts and programs

Tops MSNBC in Total Day for 39th straight month among adults 25-54, longest monthly streak since January 2010.

Tops MSNBC in M-Su prime time for second straight month and for 34 of the last 39 months among 25-54.

Tops MSNBC in M-F prime time for the first time since February 2017 among 25-54.

Tops MSNBC in daytime for the 43rd straight month among 25-54.

CNN cut the monthly deficit with Fox News in Total Day, the prime time hours of 8pm and 9pm and weekday mornings.

Ranks #5 in ALL of cable in Total Day and #7 in prime time in demo 25-54.

All CNN programs beat MSNBC in the demo 25-54, posting double-digit growth:

Early Start with Christine Romans and Dave Briggs (4-6am) ranked #1 in cable news in the demo (173k); up +50% vs. last year.

New Day with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota back on top of MSNBC’s Morning Joe (262k vs. 210k), growing the most in cable news in the morning (+74%). New Day also posted its largest monthly demo lead over Joe (+25%) since May, 2015.

The Lead with Jake Tapper (4pm) ranks #2 in cable news, growing +39% in the demo vs. last September. MSNBC was a distant 3rd.

The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer is #2 in cable news at both 5pm (+36%) and 6pm (+41%) posting the largest growth in cable news during those hours among 25-54. MSNBC ranked third.

Erin Burnett Outfront (7pm) ranked #2, beating MSNBC for the second straight month in the demo (408k vs. 296k), and for 38 out of the last 39 months. The program is up 48% from last year.

AC 360 (8pm) topped MSNBC also for the second straight month among adults 25-54 (485k vs. 344k), and for 37 of the past 39 months. The Cooper-led program is up +55% vs. last September.

CNN Tonight with Don Lemon (10pm) topped MSNBC’s Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell for the first time since February 2017 (446k vs. 440k), growing +26% from last year. At 11pm, the second live hour of Tonight ranked #1 in cable news with 380k,

Fox News followed with 344k and MSNBC’s 11th Hour with Brian Williams ranked third with 309k.

CNN’s weekend programming ranked #1 in Total Day (358k) and prime time (419k) among adults 25-54. MSNBC was third.
Smerconish ranked #2 in cable news at 9am (353k, up +69%) and at 6pm (210k) in the demo.

State of the Union with Jake Tapper ranked #2 at 9am (up +91%) among 25-54 (467k). At noon, the program ranked #1 in cable news among adults 25-54 (451k) and among total viewers (1.314m), growing +110% and +41% respectively from a year ago.

Fareed Zakaria GPS ranked #2 at 10am in the demo (268k) up +16% from last year.

Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter was #2 in cable news at 11am (259k), increasing +23% from last September.

September Numbers: MSNBC…

Posted in MSNBC, Ratings Related on September 26, 2017 by icn2

MSNBC is noting its September ratings…


MSNBC Weekday Prime Tops CNN in Total Viewers and A25-54, MSNBC’s Closest Position to FOX News in 17 Years

MSNBC Weekday Prime Finishes 1st in A18-49, Beating FOX News and CNN for 2nd Straight Quarter

“The Rachel Maddow Show” Dominates Cable News in Total Viewers and A25-54, 1st Time Any MSNBC Show is #1 for a Quarter in Cable News Among Total Viewers

“The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” Ranks #1 at 11pm in Total Viewers and for the 1st Time in A25-54
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FNC’s Unfamiliar Territory…

Posted in FNC on September 12, 2017 by icn2

I’d held off writing about Bolling’s departure from FNC, mostly because of what happened with his son. It’s bad enough to lose your job over something that will follow you around for the rest of your life and ruin your career in broadcasting anywhere close to the mainstream. But to lose your son the same day (which may or may not be related depending on who you read for information)…at that point I don’t feel like writing anymore about it.

I was surprised to see The Specialists get cancelled though. Yes, it all but confirmed that The Specialists was never an ensemble show and was always intended to be an Eric Bolling vehicle. But it also made for a big no confidence vote for both Kat Timpf and Eboni K Williams, whether that was FNC’s intention or not, because it basically said, “We don’t think you’re good enough to be able to maintain a show without an established talent like Eric Bolling to be the center of the universe”.

I’m not saying I agree with that. I am saying that’s how the optics of this move read. Or at least appeared to be read. It turns out there was an even bigger shoe to drop…

Last night CNN’s Brian Stelter and Hadas Gold broke news of a bigger shakeup in FNC primetime…

Laura Ingraham, the radio host and Fox News commentator, is about to become a prime time host on the conservative cable network.

Ingraham is expected to take over the 10 p.m. hour on Fox News, according to people who spoke on condition of anonymity.

While there may be one or two final details to negotiate, Ingraham has been telling friends that the deal is essentially done, the sources said.

Her new show will be part of a broader change to the network’s top-rated prime time lineup. Sean Hannity’s show, currently at 10 p.m., will move one hour earlier to 9 p.m., multiple sources confirmed.

Now, cancelling of an Eric Bolling-less The Specialists made more sense. Put the show that previously occupied that timeslot (The Five) back and slot Hannity in at 9 and Ingraham in at 10pm.

But this is really all about MSNBC and what Maddow is doing at 9pm. For the first time, going back to at least 2000, FNC finds itself in the unfamiliar position of having to react and adjust its programming based on damage being inflicted by another network.

The Five just wasn’t doing well enough against Maddow. FNC could ill afford to let things fester like this for much longer. Moving Hannity won’t rob viewers from Maddow but should bring in bigger viewers at 9pm than The Five could.

However it’s not clear to me at the moment that this will be enough. Sure it makes FNC more competitive with MSNBC at 9 but it may not be enough to permanently put MSNBC back to 2nd going forward because Maddow’s momentum in a Trump world is hard to top.

Moreover, this yet to be announced move will give FNC the most single minded partisan line up in cable news for as long as MSNBC keeps Brian Williams on at 11. FNC’s lineup will never have been as monotone or more ideological than it will be with Carlson/Hannity/Ingraham. There was alsways one hour that wasn’t as ideological or as uniform as the others. Not anymore.

This is also unfamiliar territory for FNC. For over a decade FNC’s programming rarely changed. There was tinkering on the periphery but not wholesale changes. Give credit to Roger Ailes maintaining his vision or credit to a lineup that didn’t need to be adjusted because it was that powerful…but the bottom line is that it wasn’t broke so nobody fixed it.

Those days are over. In a post Ailes, post O’Reily world, FNC has now shaken up its prime time twice this year. It may not be the last.

Cable News Is Broken…

Posted in CNN, FNC, MSNBC on August 11, 2017 by icn2

The Washington Post’s Paul Farhi writes about what has turned me off of cable news…

Last year was a busy one for Hank Bargine, a freelance TV-news cameraman based in Colorado. The networks kept calling as the presidential candidates crisscrossed the country on the campaign trail. Bargine worked and traveled constantly, shooting rallies and other political events.

Now? Things are as slow as Bargine can remember in his 20 years as a news photographer. Bargine estimates he’s worked about 20 percent as much as he did last year. And he has no doubt what, or who, is responsible. “The Trump factor,” he calls it.

As in: The cable networks, in particular, have devoted so much time and attention to President Trump in his first six months in office that they have little time or interest in covering much else. Cable news has been so packed with Trump — wherever he might be, whatever’s he’s doing — that stories far afield from Washington don’t make the cut.

The current Trump-centric focus is an extension of the 2016 campaign, when the cable networks drew criticism for devoting disproportionate amounts of airtime to Trump, the candidate, at the expense of his political rivals. The networks — addicted to the improved ratings that all things Trump brought their way — seemingly couldn’t help themselves. “These are very good times for us, and the money is following,” CNN President Jeff Zucker said in February.

If anything, 2017 has been more of the same — much more.

I’ll say.

There’s been a direct 1:1 correlation between the lack of output I have lacked to put out on this blog since the beginning of 2016 and the decrepit state of cable news.

Unlike Mediaite, TVNewser, and just about everyone else in media writing who has kept up with covering cable news and its incessant obsession over every Trump detail, be they pro or con, taken to absurd levels of scrutiny, I am completely apathetic about the whole thing.

To devote time to the latest Hannity ass kissing of Trump or the Joe and Mia fight or Tucker Carlson, Eric Bolling, and Jesse Watters’ hystrionics or CNN’s endless panels of too many people (many of which shouldn’t be there to begin with) on Trump news or MSNBC’s A, B, C, D, and E Trump centric blocks and squeezing six people on the screen all the time (even though only one is talking at any given time)…

…to write about cable news and its off kilter, out of proportion everything Trump does is news mantra and to do so with a straight face as too many of my colleagues have is to give legitimacy to something I find inherently illegitimate.

So that’s why I haven’t been blogging much. When you restrict your attention to areas cable news isn’t paying much attention to anymore, you don’t have a lot to write about.

Not that I expect others to follow suit. Ad dollars are at risk. I don’t make money doing this so I can afford to go take a powder purely on principle. Mediaite can’t. TVNewser can’t.

But just because I refuse to play ball and treat cable news’ lack of self-restraint and piss poor journalistic judgement as “the new normal” doesn’t mean I can sit by and watch cable news presidents take victory laps for said bad behavior…

“We’re reflecting the biggest story of our lifetime,” said Zucker in an interview on Thursday.

No on two counts. You aren’t reflecting the biggest story of our lifetime…you are unabashedly chasing ratings in a niche area in lieu of a global journalism approach. And this isn’t the biggest story of our lifetime.

But cable’s reliance on Trump is as much a programming strategy as a reflection of the news of the moment. Zucker acknowledges that the audience’s response to all the Trump news on cable validates the approach. Only a few years ago, “writers wrote that cable news was irrelevant, that it was being overtaken by the Internet,” he said. “The fact is, cable news has never been more relevant or more successful than it has been for the last two years.”

First of all few were writing that cable news was irrelevant and being overtaken by the internet because it simply wasn’t the case. It was the case for the broadcast networks nightly news shows but that story has been written and re-written going on for a decade now. Most were writing that print journalism was irrelevant and that it was being overtaken by the internet. That one may still bear out.

Cable news is more successful…I’ll give Zucker that. But that is not saying much either. I can make cable news very successful if I had my anchors all go topless. Doesn’t mean I should.

But cable news itself has never been more irrelevant than it is now for everyone but ideologues and political junkies. It is broken. People tune in not because they get informed…no they find the news faster via the internet…People tune in because they want their bubble-ish world views affirmed and for the entertainment factor of watching two sides disagree with each other.

People want to hear over and over again how bad Trump is doing on MSNBC and CNN. They want to hear about the latest dysfunction in the most dysfunctional White House of all time. They want the mindless endless speculation and prognostication from the know nothing cookie cutter paint by numbers panels that appear incessantly like penguins lining up to jump off an ice flow.

People want to hear over and over again about why Trump is getting a raw deal on FNC. They want the Hannity ass kissing, the Tucker Carlson elitist smugness, and the Fox and Friends brown nosing. They want to hear about Seth Rich. They want to know about the latest threat and outrage from the now impotent Hillary Clinton. They tune into a network full of fake news journalists to hear people scream about fake news. They tune in to watch mindless conservative pundit-toids beat up on feckless liberal zombies incapable of independent thought.

How is journalism served by any of this?

It’s not. And no amount of chest beating and self-crowing by Jeff Zucker is going to change that…not to mention this bit of self-serving banality from Phil Griffin…

“We try to squeeze in major stories that need to be told,” MSNBC President Phil Griffin said Thursday, “but there is one story that is dominating.” Besides, he adds, “We don’t want to do 20 stories with drive-by reporting. [Cable news] is much better when it picks a few and goes deep, looking at it from all sides.”

Or, in MSNBC’s case, picks one with a few variations on the one, and drones on about it ad nauseam.

There is one story that is dominating because you decided to make it dominate. This self-fulfilling prophecy that is the Trump phenomenon has always been a media generated issue. The supply has always come before the demand.

Most of the White House’s daily briefings have been devoid of real news value and yet cable news has covered them live far more times in the past six months than ever before in a similar timeframe. Not for the news. For the entertainment value.

Journalism works best when it presents as much of the news as possible and lets the reader/viewer digest the whole picture. It fails miserably when it cuts back on story count in order to pursue one lucrative but narrow demographic.

I haven’t seen cable news lose itself this badly and fail the viewer so utterly since the Florida recount. In that case, as with this one, cable news took a legitimate story of national import and perverted the hell out of it, losing all perspective and judgement while turning it into a spectacle designed to entertain rather than meaningfully inform.

For 40 something days we were inundated with images and words that we have since long forgotten.

We are due for at least another three and a half years of off kilter Trump coverage on all three cable news networks. Have a nice day…

Sloppy, sloppy…

Posted in FNC on August 11, 2017 by icn2

The Cut’s Amy Larocca writes the latest “There are a lot of blondes on FNC!” story…

Normally I wouldn’t give a story like this the time of day. Yes, there are more contractual employees in key on air journalism positions on FNC who are blonde than there are on all the other channels combined. And though that ratio of blonde to non-blonde has gone down the past 10 years it’s still large enough that only a blind person would deny the prevalence. Or, if you want to be generous, the coincidence.

So the story on its face is not worth my time. What is worth my time is how the writer and the site’s art team has stacked the deck against FNC.

Take a look at the first image in the article. There’s sooo much wrong with it…

– Everyone’s hair has been colorized to the same monotone color. Jenna Lee may be a blonde…in a dark blonde sort of way…but she’s not THAT blonde!

Update: Ok, she’s a redhead. That’s what I thought but some of these images didn’t look very red…and I got fooled.

– Page Hopkins? Gee, couldn’t you get examples who have worked at the network in the past four years?

– Katherine Timpf, Lis Wiehl, Margaret Hoover, etc… – Gee pad out your image with contractual analysts and contributors, why don’t ya?

And then there’s the second image which features Rita Cosby…

…who hasn’t worked at FOX in over a decade.

I could go on…but you get my point.

The images make it out like the article is all about FNC women but the author only devotes a single paragraph to the network.

Too much Schadenfreude…

Posted in CNN, FNC on August 11, 2017 by icn2

CNN’s Oliver Darcy writes in detail about what allegedly happened at FOX with the Seth Rich story…

For more than two months, Fox News has declined to explain the story behind one of its most high-profile journalistic disasters — the publication of an article that aimed to tie slain Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich to Wikileaks. Now CNN has learned the details and is disclosing them for the first time.

Read the rest if you want to know what (allegedly) happened.

Instant Take #1: CNN publishes a flawed story online (Scaramucci), retracts it fast, and three people are fired resign shortly thereafter. FNC publishes a flawed story online, waits a week to retract it, and so far nobody has been held accountable.

Instant Take #2: CNN seems to have no qualms about digging into the behind the scenes of a competitor’s misfortune and lack of disclosure and accountability. But when you mention the words “Fareed Zakaria” you will get stonewalled. It seems that, for CNN, not all media failure stories are created equal or merit the same level of scrutiny and disclosure.

Instant Take #3: If I’m FNC, I’m going to come after CNN’s “flaws” as publicly as CNN has come after mine.

Jeffrey Lord Fired by CNN…

Posted in CNN on August 11, 2017 by icn2

This is stupid. CNN dropped Jeffrey Lord from its roster over a “Seig Heil” comment? Of all the things in the world Lord has done both on CNN’s air and off it, and they only fire him because he makes a sarcastic quip on Twitter?

Lord was an embarrassment for CNN in particular and the conservative cause in general and should have been dropped years ago. But the fact that this is what got him fired says a lot about the state of the network. You can repeatedly dumb down the on air discussion…a discussion the network repeatedly has tried to sell as a plus in its journalistic coverage…and the network won’t care but you do something stupid on Twitter and you’re dead meat.

The Bolling Situation…

Posted in FBN, FNC on August 11, 2017 by icn2

I have held off writing about the Eric Bolling situation because, frankly, I don’t know what to make of it. Bolling was suspended pending an investigation by FNC after a Yashar Ali article came out in the Huffington Post saying that Bolling engaged in some rather Anthony Weiner like behavior a few years ago with a few FNC/FBN female colleagues.

Bolling has proclaimed his innocence and filed a 50 million dollar defamation lawsuit against Ali.

Usually with this kind of story you can get an idea early on which way things are headed but this time I’m just not sure.

On the one hand we have Ali’s story which allegedly has been corroborated in some way by over a dozen anonymous people.

And yet this story is coming out differently from what happened with the Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly (and even the Charles Payne) stories. In those, either lawsuits were filed (Ailes), legal settlements were paid out (O’Reilly), or a complaint had been lodged with FNC’s outside lawyers (Payne) before the story broke in the press.

But in this case it’s the opposite…the story has come out before anyone apparently filed any kind of complaint against Bolling. And the fact that said alleged photo, if it indeed exists, didn’t leak out after several years is…odd. These types of incidents usually do get out into the public domain by now.

That in itself does not repudiate the story outlined in the Huffington Post but it does make me sit back and go, “Hmmmmm…”

Just as FNC scrubbing Bolling’s name off The Specialists Twitter feed makes me sit back and go, “Hmmmm…”

…though not so much when you consider that The Specialists’ web page is 100% intact.

Update: Not 100% intact. Some changes were made. But not all traces of Bolling were expunged either so…somewhat inconclusive.

In a post Gawker world, the landscape for public defamation lawsuits has changed, particularly where web journalism is involved. Gawker’s demise has emboldened others to take a shot at cases that prior to Hulk Hogan’s legal take down of Gawker would not have been contemplated. Not that this means Bolling’s suit is meritless nor is that what I’m saying. But the idea of multi-million dollar defamation suit as intimidation weapon is a concept we can’t dismiss as easily as before.

One of two things will happen. Either FNC’s investigation clears Bolling (and any clearance better contain details as to why the charges don’t hold up) or the investigation turns up something and then FNC is in a pickle.

Losing Bolling would hurt…especially after Ailes and O’Reilly were forced out and Payne currently twists in the wind. It would permanently damage The Specialists which, despite FNC making this out to be a panel show, is really a Bolling vehicle. He’s the heart of it and if you search Twitter you’ll see a lot of tweets demanding Bolling be brought back.

The lawsuit itself is thorny. Either its an intimidation bluff attempt that will wither and die the moment the discovery process is opened or it’s the real deal and Ali’s in big big trouble. We won’t know for sure which way this is going until/unless it makes it all the way to court.

The lawsuit may actually complicate matters for the network. It would be particularly bad if FNC let Bolling back on the air but the defamation suit went ahead and Bolling lost after evidence came out in court refuting Bolling’s denials. That would put FNC in a bind. This possibility is one reason the investigation may take a long time to resolve itself because FNC may wait to see what happens with the court case.

HLN Officially Announces Costello/Cupp Launch Date…

Posted in HLN on August 7, 2017 by icn2

HLN announced that Carol Costello and S.E. Cupp’s shows will launch on August 21. Given that this was an official press release, we can be certain that the shows will indeed launch on that date. The prior dates (April, early July) were never officially announced.


‘Across America with Carol Costello’ (11am ET) and ‘S.E. Cupp Unfiltered’ (7pm ET) Join the Network

HLN adds two dynamic personalities to its live programming lineup it was announced today by Ken Jautz, EVP, CNN. Launching Monday, August 21, Carol Costello brings her journalistic prowess to “Across America with Carol Costello” (Monday – Friday, 11a – 1p ET) and S.E. Cupp delivers her candid point-of-view nightly on “S.E. Cupp Unfiltered” (Monday – Thursday, 7p – 8p ET).

“Adding Carol and S.E. to HLN further strengthens our powerful bench of journalists and hosts, and delivers on the network’s promise to add more live hours of news programming,” said Jautz. “Carol and S.E. are two of the most respected and recognized voices in the business, and we’re excited to bring their smarts and passion to the HLN audience.”
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July Numbers: MSNBC…

Posted in MSNBC, Ratings Related on July 31, 2017 by icn2

MSNBC is noting its July ratings…


MSNBC Dayside Leads CNN in Every Hour Among Total Viewers; Scores 2nd Highest Rated Month Ever in Total Viewers

MSNBC Weekday Prime Ranks #2 Across All Cable Networks in Total Viewers; Draws More Audience Than HGTV, History and TBS

“The Rachel Maddow Show” is the #1 Show for All Cable News in A25-54, A18-49 and Total Viewers

“Morning Joe” Bests CNN in A25-54 and A18-49 for the 2nd Straight Month and in Total Viewers for the 29th Straight Month

“The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” Tops FOX News and CNN in A18-49 and Total Viewers at 11pm for the 3rd Consecutive Month

More People Watch MSNBC Than CNN for Every Single Hour Weekdays from 6am Through 2am
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Andy Levy To Join S.E. Cupp’s Show…

Posted in HLN on July 26, 2017 by icn2

TVNewser’s Chris Ariens writes that former Red Eye Ombudsman Andy Levy is joining S.E. Cupp’s HLN show when it launches.
“When” being the operative word here…

It’s been many months in the making but it now looks like two new HLN shows, one hosted by S.E. Cupp and another hosted by former CNN anchor Carol Costello will launch next month, on the same day. HLN doesn’t yet have an exact launch date.

But an HLN spokesperson confirmed that Andy Levy, formerly of Fox News Channel’s Red Eye, is joining Cupp’s show as a senior producer and panelist.

Levy should make for an interesting panelist on Cupp’s show. But if I was holding my breath waiting for Costello and Cupp’s shows to launch since their announcement…I’d be long dead and buried by now.

Yeah…I’m being more cynical and sarcastic than usual. But CNN deserves it. It set up these shows long ago and then…and then…we waited as blown launch date after blown launch date passed by. I’m now thinking this was a money thing…that CNN didn’t give HLN the budget to launch these shows when they were supposed to launch.

If that’s the case it really tells you all you need to know about how CNN corporate views HLN.

Not very highly.

What a soap opera this has become.

What Is Going On Over At HLN?

Posted in HLN on July 18, 2017 by icn2

These are confusing times over at HLN. The network is showing signs of internal dissaray…or at the very least teetering on the edge of limbo.

How else to explain what’s happened since the network announced the arrival of Carol Costello and S.E. Cupp’s shows almost six months ago with deadlines that have since been blown and blown badly.

Cupp’s show was set to debut in June. It still hasn’t.

Costello’s show has fared even worse. First it missed a planned April launch. Then it missed an early June launch. Yesterday, TVNewser reported that it may launch in late August.

“May launch”.

Something very odd is going on over at HLN and it’s not set issues and probably not staffing issues…not after six months it shouldn’t be.

No…this is something…else.

So let’s speculate about what the “else” could be? We appear to have nothing but time to kill waiting for these shows to launch…

1) Budget realignment – The money isn’t there, for whatever reason (resource realignment, shifting priorities, etc…) and until it is Costello and Cupp’s shows are stuck in limbo, unable to launch.

2) Collateral damage from the AT&T/TW merger – The theory here is that the merger still being finalized (and not yet approved by the governmenet) has frozen HLN’s plans for the moment. I’ll admit that this theory is rather thin. I mean…HLN is still considered CNN’s bastard stepchild these days but it’s not that far gone that a merger should freeze new program launches. Unless…

3) Another network makeover is coming – I know, I know…that would be like what…the fourth or fifth makeover in the last 10 years? It would seem highly unlikely…and yet that could explain why neither show has launched if the new format would be incompatible with both shows. But this theory is undercut by the fact that we just got a new launch timeframe and the network has to be cognizant by now that each new launch timeframe that comes (and goes) makes the network look more and more feckless.

I’m thinking it’s some combination of 1 and 2. I think HLN is waiting…what for I’m not sure…but maybe its waiting for the merger to go through…

…and whether AT&T will be forced by the Trump administration to sell off CNN to have the merger approved. That is something I could easily see forcing HLN into “wait and see” mode.

Dana Klinghoffer to NBC News PR

Posted in FNC on June 30, 2017 by icn2

TVNewser’s Chris Ariens writes that Dana Klinghoffer, formerly with FNC PR, is joining NBC to handle PR for Megyn Kelly’s upcoming weekday show, among other things…

Dana Klinghoffer, who spent her entire professional career in the Fox News PR shop, is joining NBC News, TVNewser has learned.

Klinghoffer will oversee public relations for Megyn Kelly‘s new 9 a.m. hour of the Today show, as well as other PR duties. Klinghoffer left Fox News several months ago and has since married and was taking some time off before jumping back into the TV news game.

I normally wouldn’t write about this, despite the FNC angle, because it doesn’t really involve cable news. But this is not your typical movement story. If memory serves, Klinghoffer was essentially the #2 at FNC PR behind Irena Briganti. Her exit from FNC should have made news but apparently it went under everyone’s radar and that’s not easy to pull off.

But it’s a lot of PR firepower to bring to Kelly’s show. Don’t underestimate the comfort factor at play here. NBC could have easily put Kelly with its regular Today PR team but it probably wouldn’t click as well as bringing Klinghoffer in would.

There will be some who look at this move sideways as the latest example of NBC playing favorites with Kelly. To that I say…well YEAH…they just shelled out big bucks to bring her over from FOX…they better be doing whatever it takes to try and make it work. If bringing in Klinghoffer helps make it work, so much the better…

Greta Van Susteren out at MSNBC…Ari Melber In at 6pm.

Posted in MSNBC on June 29, 2017 by icn2

Well that was insanely fast…like itchy trigger finger insanely fast. I’m not sure that wasn’t a premature move on some level. Short of cratering outright, which Van Susteren’s show didn’t do, it’s hard to kill off a show after only six months.

But, what’s done is done. TVNewser’s Chris Ariens writes that Ari Melber will be taking over the 6pm slot.

June Numbers: CNN…

Posted in CNN, Ratings Related on June 27, 2017 by icn2

CNN is noting its June ratings…



Key Programs Surge This Quarter, Posting Record Performance

The Lead with Jake Tapper Up +54%
The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer Up +63%
Erin Burnett Outfront Up +65%
Anderson Cooper 360 Up +52%
CNN Tonight with Don Lemon Up +52%
New Day Grows the Most in Cable News in the Morning, Up +77%

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June Numbers: MSNBC…

Posted in MSNBC, Ratings Related on June 27, 2017 by icn2

MSNBC is noting its June ratings…

MSNBC Weekday Prime Tops FOX News and CNN in A18-49 for the 2nd Straight Month in June 2017

· MSNBC Weekday Prime Also Beats CNN in A25-54 and Total Viewers
· More People Turn To MSNBC Than CNN for the 4th Consecutive Month in Total Day
· “The Rachel Maddow Show” Wins June as the #1 Show Across All Cable News in A18-49, A25-54 and Total Viewers at 9pm
· MSNBC Dayside Posts Best Total Viewer Delivery Ever in Time Period and Improves Cable Network Ranking from #10 to #4 in Total Viewers, and Delivers Best A25-54 Since Nov. 2012
· Morning Joe Outpaces Third-Place CNN in A18-49, A25-54 and Total Viewers – Marking the Show’s 28th Straight Month Over CNN in Total Viewers
· “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” is #1 in A18-49 at 10pm for 2nd Month in a Row
· “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” is #1 in Both A18-49 and Total Viewers at 11pm
· Four Other MSNBC Shows Beat CNN in Total Viewers: Weekdays at 9am, 7pm, 8pm and Saturdays at 10am

NOTE: June to-date ratings are based on Nielsen Live+Same data day for 5/29/17-6/25/17. Individual show data represents regular programming only, excluding specials and breaking news.
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