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…