CNN’s Post Election Headache…

Posted in CNN on May 27, 2016 by icn2

Politico’s Alex Weprin writes about what CNN will do once the election gravy train ends…

For starters, CNN is taking one of the lessons it learned from this cycle and figuring out a way to apply it to a slightly less predictable news cycle. CNN’s strategy of booking frequent town halls with the candidates usually delivered strong ratings for the channel. Going forward, it hopes to host more live “events,” including, potentially, more town halls.

“I think you will see us try to do a number of events,” Zucker said. “The town halls all started with the guns town hall that President Obama did in January, that is where the town hall thing began. It doesn’t have to be completely tied to the election. We proved that with the guns town hall, the opiate town hall. I think you will see a lot more programming like that.”

Sadly there was no mention regarding the CNN’s serial abuse of countdown clocks…

Gabriel Sherman’s Unhealthy FNC Obsession…

Posted in FNC on May 20, 2016 by icn2

What’s happened to Gabriel Sherman? There was a time when I considered him one of the most dangerous media writers in America for articles like this. Back then nobody complained about Sherman’s writing being inaccurate or biased. They just marveled at all details.

But ever since Sherman’s FNC book on Roger Ailes came out (some would argue that it really began before that point) his writing has taken on more of a negative slant. How much of that slant is actual real negative dirt and how much of it is BS is hard to quantify. If you listen to people like Joe Concha it’s all mostly BS. But I’ve tried to give the benefit of the doubt when feasible.

But Sherman’s latest article has me non-plussed to say the least. It takes what can only be described as a very negative slant on Megyn Kelly’s special and what it means for her.

Megyn Kelly’s much-publicized broadcast special with Donald Trump was supposed to launch the Fox News star into the stratosphere of television anchordom. Instead, the widely panned show seems to have achieved the opposite result: It exposed the extent of her limited mainstream appeal. Kelly drew just 4.8 million viewers on Tuesday night, a number television executives say is a disappointment by any measure. Three senior executives I spoke with say an audience of 9 million would have been a success. “Not good for her at all,” was how one insider put it.

In the days since, Kelly has been working to contain the fallout. She took aim at critics on her cable show Wednesday night by deploying an age-old Fox News tactic: claiming the backlash was a result of liberal media bias. But behind the scenes, she is said to be worried about the response. “She’s very upset with the show reaction, and in hindsight with how it was produced,” one Fox veteran told me.


The question for Kelly and her agents at CAA is where to go from here. Before the special, she had maneuvered herself into a position of significant leverage over her boss Roger Ailes and seemed poised to land either a new deal from Fox with a salary in the $25 million range or a plum job at another network. Industry sources said Ailes couldn’t afford to lose Kelly. Now her advantage looks smaller — a turn of events that surely pleases Ailes. According to one Fox insider, Ailes was heard “snickering” in a meeting yesterday when the topic of Kelly’s special came up in conversation. (Ailes’s spokesperson Irena Briganti did not respond to a request for comment.)

There’s just so much that’s demonstrably wrong about Sherman’s piece, regardless of what his sources are saying.

For starters one special, whether it hit it out of the park ratings wise or not…and there are valid arguments to be had on both sides of that issue…isn’t going to decide Kelly’s fate for more specials nor is it going to materially impact Kelly’s shot at getting a mega deal from FNC. You don’t achieve Barbara Walters status based on a single special. It would take multiple specials over years to either get there or not get there.

Second, Kelly and FNC would be playing a long game. Unless the special was an out and out total disaster…and say what you will about the quality of the special and the guests and the interviews…it didn’t come close to that level of failure…there was little need to worry about the reaction from a single special. Kelly can only be judged on a body of work and you don’t get there based on a solitary special.

Third, you don’t build up a brand on another network on the back of just one special so any talk about having a sup-par ratings special (regardless of whether that’s what happened or not) expose “the extent of her limited mainstream appeal” is assinine. Maybe Kelly really does have limited mainstream appeal? Sure, it’s possible. But the sample size is way too small to make such a pronouncement and have it be viewed as anything other than negative spin.

Fourth, Kelly taking on her critics is not only fair but probably expected because this kind of instant reaction short game “you’re a failure if you don’t succeed overwhelmingly on the first try” TV world we exist in belies the fact that this is a long play. Some of the criticism leveled at Kelly, particularly over the Trump interview, shows a complete lack of understanding for what this special was supposed to be in the first place. It was never going to be the “hard hitting” style the Kelly File format is known for nor was it going to be a repeat of the first debate. That’s not why you do these kinds of specials.

People say that Kelly is angling for Oprah/Barbara territory. Uh…news flash…that territory is the territory of the softball interview. It’s about thoughtful semi-probing questions. It’s rarely about going for the jugular. People forget that both Walters and Oprah had built up reputations for big gets but mostly puffy banal interviews in their specials.

So when I see a Sherman article like this I roll my eyes. This article puts what can only be described as an un-charitable negative spin on a story that doesn’t justify it at all.

For their part, Kelly’s team doesn’t seem eager to talk about the program. When I called her CAA agent Matt DelPiano to ask him about the special, he hung up.

Maybe they didn’t want to talk to someone who was going to over negatively spin a story. Reading this article, I’d say they were probably justified.

Et tu, CNNI?

Posted in CNN on May 9, 2016 by icn2

Jeff Zucker is forcing CNNI to cover campaign 2016 in ever greater detail. It’s launching a new nightly show with Kate Bolduan to do the job. Broadcasting & Cable’s John Eggerton has more

“Every night we’re going to bring our international audiences along for the ride – offering the very latest developments from the campaign trail and giving them the inside scoop of what is really going on within the campaigns and in the minds of American voters,” said Bolduan in a statement.

The series will launch May 16th.

Aren’t you just tickled silly by this prospect international audience? Welcome to our cable news nightmare…

Addressing A NewsMax TV Rumor…

Posted in Miscellaneous Subjects on May 8, 2016 by icn2

Earlier this week I posted a rumor I had heard regarding Newsmax TV. I didn’t post it here on the blog but on Twitter in 3 parts.

Part 1

Rumor: Newsmax TV may soon lose DirecTV and Dish Network distribution. The alleged reason? Trouble making payments.

Part 2

Newsmax TV may also be looking to make staffing reductions as the network may alter its format to one emphasizing call-in shows.

Part 3

Newsmax’s highest rated show is Dennis Michael Lynch which averages 8k. But docs can draw double that number.

The reason I’m reposting this here is because I have received a statement from Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy regarding this rumor. Because making Ruddy’s statement fit in with Twitter’s character restriction would be difficult, I am forced to post it here.

Newsmax is not having trouble making its payments to Dish or DirecTV; we are in good standing with both companies.

Additionally Newsmax is not making any unusual staff reductions. We are actually planning to expand our original programming, which will include more interactivity with users via Call-ins, Skype, and other Internet platforms. We expect to be expanding staff, not reducing it.

According to Rentrak, our monthly cume is up to close to 4 million monthly, up from 500,000 monthly 18 months ago, and our advertising revenue has more than tripled in two years.

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…


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 266 other followers