Don Lemon: Media Joke…

Posted in CNN on May 1, 2016 by icn2

It has been such a long time since I had last been forced to write about Don Lemon and his self-inflicted wounds. More than a year at least. I had begun to think our boy Don had turned a corner from having the reputation of being a media joke to someone who at least learned not to make brain dead ebarrassing mistakes on a regular basis.


I was wrong.

Yeah, it was beyond stupid for Lemon to flip the bird at the Correspondents’ Dinner…joke or no joke. There is no upside and a whole lot of downside from taking such action…specifically, reviving that meme that Lemon is a walking Hazard of Live TV. Just when I thought he was free and clear Don Lemon has another Don Lemon moment.

But that incident isn’t the big story. This is the big story

Lemon’s agent shot and then released a picture of Lemon and Wilmore together with Lemon counting to one for the second time that night.


Your agent is supposed to protect you from harm, to guard you, to steer you from potential danger scenarios.

Not pour more gasoline on an already raging fire.

What on earth was Lemon thinking? What on earth was Lemon’s agent thinking? You want to push this incident behind you as quick as possible, not extend its shelf life.

There are no positives to be had from photos of Lemon giving anyone the finger. Only negatives. One was bad enough. Two in one night? Are you insane?

The first finger could be chalked up to “being overly impulsive” to Wilmore’s pretty hard shot at Lemon. I could see that. It’s still childishly stupid that a grown adult and someone who allegedly wants to be considered a serious journalist can’t exercise basic self-discipline. But I could see it just “slipping out”…particularly from Lemon.

But the second incident is a whole other matter. That was deliberate. And nobody stopped to consider what that image would say about Lemon and how it would negatively impact him. Certainly his agent didn’t, that’s for sure.

If Lemon (and presumably his agent who is also Wilmore’s agent) wanted to establish that the first incident was all in fun and there was no animosity involved there were dozens of ways they could have gone about it without having to resort to a second crude gesture.

How about a photo of the two with their arms around each other? That gets the message out and does so without having to remind everyone about Lemon’s lack of self-discipline.

By opting to go with the option with the greatest potential for ridicule, Lemon shows he still hasn’t learned a damn thing from all the previous self-inflicted wounds he landed upon himself and his network. He still doesn’t understand the concept of optics.

As for his agent, if it were me I’d fire him. I want my agent to look out for me, to see the things I may not. Not to make life more difficult for me.

The Hazards of Not So Live TV: #25,147

Posted in Hazards of Live TV on April 27, 2016 by icn2

Don’t play hoops with Bernie

Andrea Tantaros off FNC due to vague “contract issues”…

Posted in FNC on April 27, 2016 by icn2

TVNewser’s Chris Ariens reports that Andrea Tantaros has been taken off FNC’s air due to some deliberately vague “contract issues”…

TVNewser got a tip earlier today regarding Tantaros. When we reached out to FNC, they sent us this statement: “Issues have arisen regarding Andrea’s contract, and Fox News Channel has determined it best that she take some time off. She is still under contract with the network.”

What makes this newsworty isn’t that Tantaros is off the air…it’s the reasons FNC gave. They raise more questions than they answer…

April Numbers: CNN…

Posted in Ratings Related on April 27, 2016 by icn2

Yes, I’m a day late on this. I’ve been sick as a dog. CNN is noting its April ratings…



CNN Posts Triple Digit Growth in Prime Time; Most in TV

Narrows Gap with Fox News in Total Day to Smallest in Over Seven Years

CNN also #1 on Weekends

CNN ranked #1 in cable news in prime time in April. CNN beat Fox News for the fifth time in the last eight months in M-Su prime time (four of the past eight in M-F prime) among adults 25-54. The last time CNN had this many prime time wins in an eight-month period versus Fox News was over 14 years ago (Nov. 2001). CNN also handily topped MSNBC this month in all dayparts, with CNN besting MSNBC for the 22nd straight month in Total Day (among both total viewers and among adults 25-54) and in prime time (among 25-54). In total viewers, CNN has now beaten MSNBC for the fifth straight month (or seven out of eight months) in prime time. CNN continued to top MSNBC by wide margins during the day (9am-4pm) – posting a +36% advantage in total viewers (630k vs. MSNBC’s 464k) and +58% more among adults 25-54 (161k vs. 102k).

In April, CNN had the most growth of any television network (cable or broadcast) among both total viewers and adults 25-54, increasing triple digits in prime time. Among ALL cable networks in April, CNN ranked #7 in total viewers in M-F prime time. In Total Day, CNN was also up vs. last year, increasing +59% in total viewers and +48% among adults 25-54.

Of particular note, CNN has narrowed the gap with Fox News (196k vs. Fox News’ 215k) to its smallest level (-9%) in over seven years (since October, 2008) in Total Day among adults 25-54. CNN beat Fox News in prime time this month among adults 25-54.

Even using the less inclusive measurement (Live+SD), CNN beats Fox News to rank #1 across cable news among in both M-Su Prime (372k vs. Fox News’ 344k) and M-F Prime (435k vs. Fox News’ 402k) among adults 25-54 this month. CNN beat Fox News for the fourth of last eight months in M-Su prime among adults 25-54 (April, February 2016 and December, September 2015) in Live+SD. CNN was behind Fox News by -1k (293k vs. 294k) in October 2015 (Live+SD), but ahead of Fox News (307k vs. 300k) in the more inclusive measurement (Live+7).

CNN April 2016 Program Highlights:
Continue reading

More Zucker Analysis…

Posted in CNN on April 25, 2016 by icn2

The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple takes aim at Jeff Zucker over his Guardian interview…

Zucker told the Guardian that CNN was holding Trump’s “feet to the fire” and cited a town hall event in which Anderson Cooper fired tough questions at the candidate. And he spoke of an evolving approach to doing cable news: “It used to be CNN and other television outlets were founded on this idea of a news wheel. You give us 22 minutes and we’ll give you the world. But that’s not the way people consume news and information any more. So on television we are going to go much deeper on the one, two or three stories of real significance or interest that day, and we are going to satisfy all your news needs and questions digitally.”

Bolding added to dispute a talking point: Sure, TV news may be focusing its coverage more on just a couple of stories, but that’s not to say that the treatment is “deeper.” It’s just often more repetitive.

Spin Control…

Posted in CNN on April 25, 2016 by icn2

Jeff Zucker gives a self-serving interview to the Guardian’s Jasper Jackson…

“We are covering the story, and he’s been the Republican frontrunner for almost a year now. I only wish that CNN had that much power to be able to create a frontrunner on either side … The critics of Donald Trump are looking for people to blame for his rise. There are many people who are either surprised by his strength, or don’t like him, and want to blame someone to explain why he has been this popular.”

Nice way to reframe the issue. Only an idiot is going to blame cable news in general for Trump’s rise. But that dodges the central question which Zucker does not want to answer…was CNN’s Trump coverage proportional to the front runner or over the top even by front runner standards?

And while critics have highlighted CNN’s wall-to-wall Trump coverage, filling the airwaves with what Zucker describes (along with the war on terror) as one of “two amazing stories in the world right now” fits the strategy he has pursued since taking over in 2013. “It used to be CNN and other television outlets were founded on this idea of a news wheel. You give us 22 minutes and we’ll give you the world. But that’s not the way people consume news and information any more. So on television we are going to go much deeper on the one, two or three stories of real significance or interest that day, and we are going to satisfy all your news needs and questions digitally.”

Translation: We are in it for the ratings and only the ratings. News doesn’t matter. We want your eyeballs and so we will stick to the three biggest water cooler stories of the day. You want news? Piss off to your computer or tablet…

The news wheel may or may not be dead but it’s not the reason why Zucker is doing this. And we know this is the case because of what CNNI covers. If going three stories deep at the expense of world news is the silver bullet Zucker makes it out to be, CNNI should be aping this model.

That CNNI still follows the news wheel says all you need to know about how “poeple consume news and information any more”.

What Zucker is really saying here:

Americans are stupid people. We are betting against you by giving you twaddle instead of news. We figure you’ll be more interested in watching stuff that distracts or entertains you over being actually informed. The rest of the world doesn’t operate by this standard which is why we have CNNI. But in this country, we want big ratings so that means cutting back on news and giving you Trump 24/7. And you suckers will go for it because you don’t know any better. We aren’t leading this revolution. We’re following you. And that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

The irony in all this: The Guardian is an international paper filled with readers who crave the very news CNN US is all but abandoning. Talk about the wrong audience for this interview…

Changes in FNC Executive Ranks…

Posted in FNC on April 21, 2016 by icn2

TVNewser’s A.J. Katz writes that FNC’s Michael Clemente is being moved from Executive Vice President of News Editorial to a new unit inside FNC. Clemente will be EVP of News Specials.

In the shift, Jay Wallace (pictured) has been upped to evp, news and editorial overseeing all daytime weekday and weekend news shows. Wallace has been with the network from the beginning, starting as Shepard Smith‘s ep. Bill Sammon, vp and managing editor of the D.C. bureau, will now report to Wallace.

This kind of move naturally will spark a bunch of “What’s it all mean?” kibitzing. One of the first out of the gate is New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman who takes a familiar path…

This afternoon, Fox announced that Clemente is being moved to a new “longform unit” at the network. Veteran Fox executive Jay Wallace will replace him as executive VP of news. For Fox, the shake-up has wide-ranging implications. Until today, Clemente was seen inside and outside the network as a leading contender to replace Ailes, who turns 76 next month. “He’s out,” a Fox host told me. “He’s been kneecapped.”

While the suddenness of Clemente’s ouster stunned Fox hosts and producers, Ailes’s very public backing of Clemente in front of his colleagues might have been seen as an omen. “Roger is very needy and insecure,” one Fox veteran said. He’s often nicest to you when you’re on the way out.

One Fox anchor told me that Ailes suspected Clemente of leaking to the press over the past year. Inside Fox, where executives use burner phones because they fear their corporate lines are monitored, there’s not much worse than being labeled a leaker. Another mark against Clemente is that he had a relationship with Rupert Murdoch. Ailes is said to dislike executives who build up independent power bases, and talking to Murdoch, Ailes’s boss, would be seen as a threat. Lastly, Clemente, a former ABC News executive, never fully shed the stigma that he was an outsider. (Politically, he’s a centrist). His replacement, Jay Wallace, is a longtime Fox executive, who’s risen up through the ranks over the past decade.

Upcoming: Joe Concha’s “Sherman is lying again” rebuttal in 3…2…1…


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