Good Cop, Bad Cop

FTVLive, which has owned the Erin Burnett story since last week, has a must read tick-tock of how this mess erupted…

FTVLive got word that Zucker had thrown in the towel on Burnett and had started looking elsewhere. We reported that Burnett going to mornings was “dead in the water.”

Others picked up on the story and started get information of their own. Stories appeared on other websites and it newspapers. The problem was most of the stories casted Burnett as trying for a money grab and making her look like a “greedy bitch.”​

Burnett’s agent should have been the one taking the heat. That is what all good agents do for their clients. They make themselves out to be the bad guy, while the client stays clean. That wasn’t happening here and Burnett was not happy in the light she was being cast.

Burnett reached out to Zucker without her agent. The two started talking again and maybe working towards a deal. Burnett told Zucker she did not want him to start his reign at CNN with such a negotiating mess.

Yesterday, I suggested that FTVLive was “hedging” about the Burnett/Zucker mess but it’s obvious from reading this that if there has been any hedging it wasn’t coming from there. What a mess. Not only has this saga cast Burnett in a bad light, deservedly or not, it’s also raised the bar for everyone to nearly impossible to achieve levels.

Let’s say that somehow a deal does get worked out now and Burnett ends up joining Cuomo in the mornings on CNN. If things get off to a rocky start or, worse, the chemistry between Burnett and Cumomo is rocky, the blowback to everyone will be insane. Zucker will get it bad for being so single minded in pursuing Burnett. Burnett will catch a ton of flak as being the “problem” in the new show because of the way these negotiations have dragged out whereas Cuomo will, comparatively, get a pass precisely because his move to CNN was handled quietly without any speedbumps. This has really turned into an “all or nothing” proposition for CNN, something the network really does not need in Jeff Zucker’s young tenure at the network. Expectations have now been set way way too high because of what has gone down between Burnett (or her agent) and CNN. Under such circumstances, Zucker is probably better served by dropping the idea of getting Burnett and moving on. This deal is now riddled with potential boobytraps…


7 Responses to “Good Cop, Bad Cop”

  1. bushleaguer Says:

    How are Burnett’s ratings at 7pm?

    If they’re bad enough Zucker could use that as leverage….that is, tell her or her agent that the show is failing and that either she’s moved to mornings now or her show is canceled later and she is relegated to spending the rest of the contract time reporting from the field or hosting documentaries.

  2. Kevin E. Says:

    She is a greedy b*tch… and there isn’t much else to say about that.

  3. There is no real evidence that Burnett and Zucker will not come to a satisfactory deal. At the moment all we have is a lot of rumor and idle speculation by who knows who. No one with actual knowledge of the discussions has said anything as yet, that I can see, so I’ll continue to wait for some real info and ignore the BS from FTVLive and Page 6.

    “How are Burnett’s ratings at 7pm?
    If they’re bad enough Zucker could use that as leverage….”

    ^^ Ratings from a hosts PrimeTime show have no relevance at all to how they will perform in a morning show. Joe Scarborough had a terrible show – and awful ratings – when his show was in the evening but came into his own when he moved to AM and was paired with a co-host who he could play off.

  4. bushleaguer Says:

    Fritz – my point was not to use her 7pm ratings as a gauge to determine whether or not she’ll succeed in the mornings. The point was that Zucker could use bad ratings as leverage…..he can tell her she moves to mornings now (i.e. jump from a sinking ship) or she can stay at 7pm and watch her show get canceled.

  5. ^^ My thinking is that the discussion is not about whether or not she will move to mornings but rather what CNN has to pay for her to give up her current one hour 7 PM show, of which she is the sole host and over which she has a very large say in the format, guests and subjects discussed.

    In moving to AM she will become a co-host (a la Mika B.) to a very ambitious and dominate male host, be required to get up at 4 AM, host for an extra two hours and lose much of the say over the format, guests and subjects discussed of the new show. I would be asking for a lot more money, a long guaranteed contract and lots of perks.

    This is a contract negotiation and the one that looks bad to me is not Erin Burnett but rather CNN; who obviously leaked this story to pressure Burnett into signing a contract that is not favorable to her. I’m sure Zucker was just a tough on CNN when he negotiated his contract with the network.

    This whole story is sexist and we wouldn’t be discussing this if it was Piers Morgan or Jake Tapper being asked to move.

  6. bushleaguer Says:

    ^^ Good points made, Fritz, re: why Burnett should hold onto her 7pm show.

    The reason I asked about her ratings is because if she is trailing behind MSNBC’s Harball repeat on a consistent basis then I would consider her show to be in trouble and thus a move to the mornings might be a strong argument for Zucker to make. Her contract apparently has a clause that says she is on in prime time but I would imagine that CNN put in language that says that situation can change if she under-performs during that time period.

    I like Erin Burnett and I think he show is promising but I think she needs to cover different stories and make the show unique as compared to what’s covered on Blitzer’s show and Cooper’s show. What I’ve always found befuddling is that she worked in the financial sector for years yet when a story about the financial sector comes up she plays a straight journalist and lets her guests tell the story… would be more interesting to me if she would inject her knowledge into it.

    And I don’t think this is a sexist story…..if CNN was considering moving Morgan or Cooper and either of them was resisting the move I think it would get as much attention.

  7. “And I don’t think this is a sexist story…..if CNN was considering moving Morgan or Cooper and either of them was resisting the move I think it would get as much attention.”

    ^^Maybe; but i doubt they would be calling either Piers or Anderson a “greedy bitch” which is how they refer to Erin in the FTVLive story above.

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