What’s Hot/What’s Not: 09/13/09

What’s Hot:

Glenn Beck – Beck continues to dominate the news and is starting to displace O’Reilly as the face of FNC. Some people are no doubt unhappy with this development but the numbers Beck is turning in are telling.

John Stossel joins FBN/FNC – File this one under “What took so long?” as it’s been speculated for years that Stossel would be a perfect fit on FNC. Stossel joining FBN is a pretty big get for the fledgling network and takes some of the sting out of the hiring of Don Imus (see What’s Not below).

What’s Not:

Don Imus joins FBN – I don’t care how much FBN tries to spin it, it’s still a bad idea in my book and a sign that the network’s early attempts at making a run at CNBC have not worked to the point that the network is willing to damage its brand as a business news channel in the critical early morning time period by putting a non-business show on the air for three hours in what looks like a desperation throw to get eyeballs. The eyeballs may come for Imus, but will they stay after Imus? That’s a question that can’t be answered accurately yet. But if history is any guide Imus doesn’t appear to have coat tails. 10 plus years on MSNBC didn’t do a darn thing to boost the network’s dayside numbers. And I can’t wait until Imus start verbally assaulting some of the talent on FBN like he would do on MSNBC.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss – The rapid fire cancellation of Carlos Watson’s hour on MSNBC has me left with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I’m glad because he never should have been put in the anchor chair in the first place. On the other hand, this is the second time that Phil Griffin has shown an unusually quick trigger finger since he took over at MSNBC. The first time was the cancellation of Dan Abrams and his 6pm 9pm (got the old east coast/west coast time period confusion…6pm PT = 9pm ET) show Verdict which had only been in existence a few short months (though Abrams had been in the slot for nearly a year but I consider Verdict as a new show since it was a fresh branding PR launch). Now Watson gets bumped off in less than four months. Four months. This is the sort of thing we saw quite often in the bad old days of MSNBC when shows came and went so fast you needed a score card to keep track of them.

What this says to me is that 9am-1pm is in big trouble but only Watson was expendable. Ratigan’s shift has dropped like a rock in the ratings and Snyderman’s doing worse but there’s too much publicly riding on them to throw in the towel at this point, particularly for Snyderman since her show is rumored to be part of a GE initiative. While Snydermann’s free fall is not unexpected (I called it before the show even launched), Ratigan’s decline is somewhat surprising because the show isn’t that bad. Ratigan has proven to be a capable news host. The problem has been consistency. The show has been tinkered with constantly behind the scenes in who gets booked and who appears when and for how long. That’s not a winning recipe for success. The announcement of a lack of a solid anchor set up at 11 to replace Watson, with Hall being paired with either Witt or Novotny, suggests that this is only a temporary move until a new program can take its place. If we take a step back and look at the big picture on the 9-1 time period we see a pattern of serious tinkering but without an apparent long term gameplan. Again, this is not a recipe for long term success.

Full Circle? – The story of CNN looking for hosts to do a left/right debate show reminiscent of the cancelled Crossfire, although partially shot down by anonymous types at the network, is not welcome news for those who want less opinion in their news…

Olbermann’s hollow Fatwa – Keith Olbermann’s declaration to get any dirt possible on Glenn Beck, Beck’s producer Stu Burguiere, and Roger Ailes is all noise. The chance of anyone digging up anything incriminating on either Beck or Ailes, who have been through the public microscope for so many years now, is all but impossible. If there was dirt, it would have come up already. Burguiere, on the other hand, may not be so lucky since he hasn’t had that kind of light shown upon him. Nontheless, this is a stupid idea. If you want to defeat Beck you have to defeat him on the issues. It can be done (and some have succeeded to some degree). Digging up dirt isn’t the solution.

14 Responses to “What’s Hot/What’s Not: 09/13/09”

  1. Since Stossel is going to be on FBN I guess I’ll want to figure out what channel that is on my cable service.

  2. Spud, you missed the Beck website as a BIG not.

    It does not bode well for civility and maturity, especially on cable news.

  3. Spud, would it be safe to assume that the legal wrangling over your prized snorkel is not over, and that’s why you’re not commenting on it?

  4. Eager to read the ongoing fish story…er, snorkel story.

  5. Will there be a TV movie on your missing snorkel? This has Hallmark Channel movie written all over it. Spud, which actor will be playing your role for this truly inspiring film? πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  6. Celine Dion will sing the theme song for the soundtrack of this love story.

  7. Still with the Imus bashing. FBN finally does something smart in their 2 year history and they keep getting bashed by some for doing the right thing.

    Imus makes sense on so many levels. Look at the increase in carriage RFD got in the 2 years it had him on the air. What did they pick up during that time? About 20 million homes? Not bad at all. How many people will be saying it was a dumb move when 2 years from now FBN is in 70 million homes instead of 50M? Those extra 20 million homes will be worth around $36 million a year in license fees. Or that would mean they will be doing around $125 million a year from fees alone. That should put them in the black even with the Imus and Stossel signings.

    Of course another thing not mentioned is that FBN’s morning ratings are so low they don’t register. They do their best in prime time (unlike CNBC). Of course, FBN’s competition in the morning might want to do something different. They only do around 55,000 in the demo. Imus could give them a run for their money.

    One can be sure that when Imus goes on the air, FBN will start a new marketing campaign. They finally have a reason to push the channel.

    Instead of conceding anything to CNBC, they are finally starting to put up an actual fight. That’s what CNBC is scared about now. That’s why you see all the “exclusive” nonsense they are trying to get away with. While some bloggers might not know the threat, NBC suits know what this could mean.

  8. I fail to see how a fledgling business network is going to become a bigger force in the market by blurring its image with an aging radio talker. CNBC didn’t get its legs until it dropped its non-bussiness talk shows. Anyone remember The Charles Grodin Show? A truly bizarre experiment.

  9. CNBC has legs at night now? Not judging by their ratings. Best show on CNBC was “The Dennis Miller Show”.

  10. Better than “The John McEnroe Show”? πŸ˜‰

  11. Yes, better than Big Mac.

    But look at the outrage because FBN wants to have Imus (complete with business reports etc during it). Some people are having little fits. Why was it ok for CNBC to try all those different shows. It wasn’t that long ago they were running game show reruns which was getting close to double the ratings of their next highest show.

    If anything, FBN should be given more leeway because its such a young network. CNBC had been on the air over 15 years when they were adding shows like that.

    So until FBN hits 98 million homes, lets cut them some slack.

  12. OK, Star, I aint cuttin’ anybody any slack that hires that bitter old jerk.

  13. Supposed to say “Sorry, Star”, but you get my drift.

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