CNN Layoffs…

Posted in CNN on February 10, 2016 by icn2

CNN Commentary notes that the network just laid off a bunch of people at its International Desk…

Deborah Rayner, the SVP of international newsgathering for CNN, broke some painful news to the staffers of the international desk on Monday, according to sources.

According to our sources, the entire international desk based in Atlanta was laid off and encouraged to apply for new jobs and positions. The international desk is tasked with coordinating the network’s newsgathering and to work with its international correspondents.

This move is seen as part of the network’s restructuring, and some of the work is expected to be taken up by employees out of the network’s London and Hong Kong bureaus.

Yes, CNN Has Gone Off The Countdown Clock Rails…

Posted in CNN on February 10, 2016 by icn2

New Republic’s Alex Shepard is the latest to note CNN’s Countdown Clock addiction…

Yesterday, CNN ran a countdown clock to the start of today’s New Hampshire primary. This morning, CNN ran a countdown clock to the start of its coverage of said primary, at 4pm. At 4pm, CNN ran a countdown clock to when the first exit polls would come in, at 5pm. At 5pm, CNN ran a countdown clock to when the first polls would close, at 7pm. At 7pm, it ran a countdown clock to when all polls would close, at 8pm. At 8pm, it will probably start a countdown clock to the South Carolina primary.

The worst thing about all of these clocks is that none of them have been particularly accurate! Yes, CNN’s coverage did begin at 4pm, but exit polls didn’t come in until well after 5pm, and as of 7:30pm, we still haven’t seen any primary results, which CNN has been teasing for hours. I would be upset that the countdown clocks haven’t been accurate, except the clocks are so clearly meaningless—though in an almost profound, Beckett-ian sort of way—that it doesn’t matter, because CNN’s endless countdown clocks are proof that nothing matters in this cold, senseless universe.

Everyone knows I have a long time hatred for CNN’s countdown clock overuse. I’ve been squawking on Twitter about it for months. Now others are jumping on the network.

NO…MSNBC Has Not Found Its New Late Night Show…

Posted in MSNBC on February 10, 2016 by icn2

TVNewser’s Chris Ariens writes about MSNBC’s late New Hampshire coverage last night and then extrapolates…

Hours after New Hampshire had been called for Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders, MSNBC convened many of the NBC News campaign correspondents to talk about state of the race. It just turned to out that all six reporters are women.

“This is what the Boys on the Bus looks like this year,” said Rachel Maddow, referring to the 1973 book on the coverage of he 1972 election. “Thanks for asking a man to attend,” added Brian Williams who, along with Maddow, anchored MSNBC’s prime time coverage, and moderated the discussion with the correspondents.

Among those taking part (l-r, above) Hallie Jackson, Chris Jansing, Kristen Welker, Katy Tur, Andrea Mitchell and Kasie Hunt. The correspondents were assembled in a circle, seated on folding chairs, with the discussion captured on a steadicam not far from the main MSNBC set in Manchester.


“Perhaps we’ll start doing more of this,” said Williams as the half-hour conversation wrapped just before midnight. “Remember, the political season is just getting started.” For now, these six NBC Newsers are back on the campaign trail covering the candidates.

First of all, last night was noteworthy…for getting Brian Williams out of 30 Rock. For Iowa Williams and Maddow were stuck at MSNBC HQ and I thought their coverage suffered as a result. I even speculated on Twitter that NBC was afraid of putting Williams in a live audience situation out of fear that someone would start blurting out “Liar! Liar! Liar!” or something similar. Last night wasn’t a live audience situation so that question is still operative. But putting Williams on the road was the right call.

I also found the roundtable fascinating…and that’s not something I just toss out willy nilly given my natural deeply rooted aversion to most 2016 coverage. This wasn’t your typical View/Talk/Five/Outnumbered scenario. It was of a different vein…more of a cross between GPS and Morning Joe.

It may be that MSNBC will use this format in the future as 2016 progresses…but I don’t believe the network, as Ariesn posits as a question, has found its new late night show. Given who was there it was a lineup that is unsustainable going forward for logistical reasons. Half the people there last night are D.C. based with other duties. The other half are either New York based or normally national correspondents. I don’t see how you can keep this group intact on a regular basis given all that. MSNBC may try a subset of this group in a new show as a fallback but it wouldn’t be as good.

January Numbers: MSNBC

Posted in Ratings Related on February 2, 2016 by icn2

MSNBC is noting its January ratings…


MSNBC Beats CNN in A25-54 Growth in Prime

“Morning Joe” and “The Rachel Maddow Show” Top CNN in A25-54, Best Month Since 2014

NEW YORK – February 2, 2016 – MSNBC saw the most growth in cable news for January 2016 during “Morning Joe” and Monday-Friday dayside programming (M-F 9a-5p). MSNBC’s dayside programming (M-F 9a-5p) was up 60% in A25-54 and 46% in total viewers while Fox News was up only 27% and CNN was down by 9%. MSNBC’s M-F 8-11p was up 44% in A254-54 and 45% in total viewers over last year, topping CNN which was only up 16% and tying Fox News which was only up 44% in A25-54 over last year in M-F 8-11p. January 2016 was the best M-F 8-11p demo performance for MSNBC since February 2014 and in total viewers since October 2013. M-F 9a-5p saw the highest A25-54 since March 2014.
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January Numbers: CNN…

Posted in Ratings Related on February 2, 2016 by icn2

CNN is noting its January ratings…


Ranks #1 across Cable News in Weekend Total Day and Prime in Demo

CNN Special Events Programming Tops Competition

January was another strong month for CNN with the network kicking off the year ranking #2 in cable news and growing double-digits vs. a year ago. For the month, CNN ranked #2 in cable news in Total Day and Primetime in both total viewers and the demo 25-54. CNN has now topped MSNBC for the 19th straight month in Total Day among both total viewers and the demo, and in Primetime in the demo – the longest winning streak in almost eight years (since Feb. 2008). CNN has now beaten MSNBC in Primetime in total viewers for the second consecutive month. Also in January, CNN ranked #1 in cable news on weekends (Sat/Sun) in both Total Day and Primetime among 25-54.

Of particular note, CNN special events programming all ranked #1 across cable news in their time periods this month:
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Don’t Give Trump The Satisfaction…

Posted in CNN, FNC, MSNBC on January 27, 2016 by icn2

So it appears as of this writing that Trump is going to schedule an event during the timeframe that FNC is airing its now Trump-less GOP debate. And of course he’s openly courting other networks to carry it.

They shouldn’t…at least not live. Don’t give Trump the satisfaction of dividing and conquering the networks. I fully expect CNN to not adhere to this because of how it swooped in and grabbed NBC’s GOP debate. MSNBC will probably carry it too.

They shouldn’t for the simple reason that it could happen to them at some point down the road if they allow for this precedent to be set. They should boycott Trump’s speech. Or at the very least, they should air it tape delayed until after the FNC GOP debate is over.

Not that I’m expecting this to happen. I’m no fool. Ratings and the possibility of revenue enhancement will win out over network solidarity. But they’re just shooting themselves in the foot in the long run.

Short Term Memory…

Posted in FNC on January 27, 2016 by icn2

Mediaite’s Joe Concha writes about recent issues involving the national Republican and Democrat parties…which doesn’t interest me much. But this part does…

As for Fox, know this: It has absolutely every right to defend Kelly against Trump’s barbs. But this particular and most recent retort went too far, made it way too personal (and arguably proved Trump’s point to his supporters around being treated unfairly by the network). Per a Fox statement Tuesday afternoon:

We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president — a nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings.

Sorry… that’s just not how a news organization should conduct itself regardless of how many times Trump has insulted the network or one of its moderators. Roger Ailes’ statement Tuesday afternoon on the matter was the proper one: “Megyn Kelly is an excellent journalist and the entire network stands behind her — she will absolutely be on the debate stage on Thursday night.” In being stern and professional, that should have been the only statement made by the network. But Fox decided to go another more personal route and got down in the mud with Trump instead. This doesn’t excuse Trump’s petulant antics or bizarre one-way attacks on Kelly (who has stayed above the fray since this began six months ago after the first debate). But two sides can be wrong in any instance, and this is no exception.

I don’t disagree that this is not how a network should respond. But I would point out that this is not exactly out of character for this particular network…if you examine its PR history…albeit not much of its recent history.

If you look at the snark that came out of FNC’s PR going back 10 years you’d see that this statement, while maybe not what we want from a network’s PR operation, is totally in line with how this network reacts when attacked. And sometimes even when it isn’t. This is one of those times I wish I still had access to the old ICN 1.0 site because I could easily pull up a dozen or more quotes that you’d never find emanating from any other news network’s PR operation.

So I don’t react to this statement the same way Concha does. Yes, it’s over the line. But it’s just the latest example in a long rich history of over the line remarks that are beneath a news network.


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