Archive for January, 2017

CNN Announces New Post-Costello Lineup…

Posted in CNN on January 31, 2017 by icn2

CNN announced its new lineup after Carol Costello’s departure to HLN and it’s bigger than we surmised…

CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker announced today CNN’s new dayside lineup effective February 6th. John Berman and Poppy Harlow will co-anchor CNN Newsroom from 9-11:00am, replacing Carol Costello who moved to HLN. Berman co-anchored Early Start for the past five years and At This Hour since 2015 and Harlow has been a CNN weekend anchor since 2015. CNN’s Kate Bolduan will now be the sole anchor of At This Hour at 11:00am.

Dave Briggs will join CNN in February as co-anchor of Early Start alongside Christine Romans. Briggs was the co-anchor of Weekend Fox & Friends for five years, most recently co-hosted a program on the NBC Sports Network and was also a CNBC contributor.

4:00-6:00am: Early Start with Christine Romans and Dave Briggs
(beginning February 23rd)

6:00-9:00am: New Day with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota

9:00-11:00am: CNN Newsroom with John Berman and Poppy Harlow

11:00am-Noon: At This Hour with Kate Bolduan

The remainder of CNN’s dayside schedule will stay as is:

Noon-1:00pm: Inside Politics with John King

1:00-2:00pm: Wolf with Wolf Blitzer

2:00-4:00pm: Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin

4:00-5:00pm: The Lead with Jake Tapper

5:00-7:00pm: The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer

Moving Berman off early mornings was long overdue. A bit more surprising was having Kate Bolduan solo but not totally far fetched.

The only question left unanswered is who will get Poppy Harlow’s weekend slot?

CNBC is in Trouble…

Posted in CNBC, FBN on January 30, 2017 by icn2

The Wrap’s Brian Flood has a story which is baaaaad news for CNBC…

Fox Business is finally in a position to surpass CNBC as the go-to network for breaking business news.

The network soared above its arch rival in total viewers every hour of the day from 9 a.m. through 8 p.m. when the Dow Jones reached a record high of 20,000 points last Wednesday.

Fox Business averaged 253,000 business day viewers when CNBC averaged only 178,000. Among the key news demo of adults age 25-54, FBN also averaged 41,000, versus 26,000 for CNBC.

(snip)

Fox Business is on pace to close January with the fourth consecutive monthly win in business day in total viewers. Business day is essentially primetime for CNBC and Fox Business, as both networks focus the stock market and financial programming.

CNBC is expected to pick up a monthly win among the key demo, but Fox Business’ four straight total-viewer victories has never happened in the nine-year history of the network.

Though Flood’s opening sentence is dubious at best – ratings success is a separate issue from the one of who is outscooping whom – there’s enough bad news here that Comcast is going to have to take a keener interest in the goings on at Englewood Cliffs.

NBC Universal pulled CNBC out of Nielsen ratings over out of home sampling issues so they can stall for a bit on responding publicly to the fact that FBN may now be a serious threat to the network’s perceived dominance (though I remain somewhat skeptical when FBN does head scratching things like not offering west coast repeats for new episodes of its most successful taped show Strange Inheritance).

Ultimately, however, the fact that FBN is now pulling in big enough numbers to put CNBC into second place in P2+ means the network has a very large PR stick it can swing around and score real blows against its New Jersey based competitor. Out of Nielsen or not, that is something that the folks who run CNBC can’t ignore for long because nobody else is ignoring it. CNBC is in trouble and if things keep going like this much longer, heads are going to start rolling.

Carol Costello Moves From CNN to HLN…

Posted in CNN, HLN on January 30, 2017 by icn2

Ever since I discovered last year that Carol Costello’s husband had to move to the west coast for work, I have been waiting for the other shoe to drop and today it dropped. Costello announced on the air that she would be leaving CNN U.S. for a anchor role for a HLN show originating out of L.A.

“I have lived apart from my husband for many years,” Costello said at the end of her show today, “but he was always close by because he also lived on the east coast. But last year my husband snagged a fantastic job in Los Angeles, and I kind of miss him,” she said.”

Say no more. But there is a price to pay…

Costello goes from a network with incredible stability to one which has now eclipsed MSNBC circa 1998-2003 as the network with most glaring reboots since it blew up the CNN Headline News format. The only person there who is golden is Robin Meade. Everyone else isn’t safe…and you can add Costello to that list.

Jeff Zucker issued a statement on this news and said a few nice things about the 15 year veteran…

As many of you may have just heard, Carol Costello announced that her last day on Newsroom will be this Friday. While we’ll miss her unmistakable reporting, calming presence on the air, big smile and even bigger laugh on CNN, I’m happy to say she isn’t going far — she’ll be staying in the family and joining HLN in Los Angeles.

During her more than 15 years with us, Carol has been at the forefront of some of the world’s most significant news stories, including the Boston bombing, Pope Francis’ historic visit and our coverage of the Iraq war. She is all heart and grace, and the epitome of a seasoned journalist, making her the perfect fit to join HLN’s powerful bench of anchors.

Carol’s decision to leave CNN was a personal one. After many years balancing a long-distance marriage with her demanding career, she is cashing in her miles and permanently relocating to the west coast. Ken Jautz will be sharing more details about her new LA-based show in the coming weeks.

It’s with infinite gratitude that I thank Carol for being a friend to me, and an influential voice that has helped grow CNN and contribute to our success.

Please join Ken and me in congratulating Carol on this great new role.

Costello’s departure leaves a hole for which there is no clear unambiguous front runner to take over. I could think of half a dozen people who could get it…and still miss the actual choice. It’s pretty wide open.

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?

Posted in CNN on January 19, 2017 by icn2

The New York Post’s Daniel Harper breaks some extremely head scratching CNN news…

Valerie Jarrett’s daughter quietly joined CNN in September as a reporter in the network’s Washington bureau.

She came to CNN with no experience in journalism. But the Harvard educated lawyer defended companies and individuals against the Justice Department as a private litigator in Chicago.

Laura married fellow Harvard law grad Tony Balkissoon in 2012 at a Chicago ceremony attended by President Obama, her mom’s boss.

What

the

hell?

This is bad on two fronts, both of which make me question CNN’s standards.

First, CNN hired Jarrett’s daughter while Jarrett was still working for Obama. That should never have happened. If Obama had been out of office when the hire took place it the egregiousness of the hire would have been much less (though still a huge issue for ideologues).

Second, and even more troubling…is she has almost no journalism experience. And she’s writing about Trump’s ethics issues according to The Hill’s Joe Concha?

This has all the fingerprints of Jeff Zucker who seems to love hiring children of political figures with zero experience in the field. He grabbed Jenna Bush Hager and Chelsea Clinton for NBC. Now he’s grabbing Laura Jarrett for CNN.

Jeff Zucker Interview…

Posted in CNN on January 18, 2017 by icn2

New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman interviews Jeff Zucker. Most of it covers familiar well worn territory concerning the election and Trump. But there were a few bits that had me interested…

I noticed that Trump is sitting down with Fox & Friends. And in recent days, he’s given interviews to The Wall Street Journal and the Times of London, both Murdoch papers. What do you think of Trump’s alliance with Murdoch?

I think you’re trying to goad me here. But you’ve made the right observation. Look, I don’t think it’s any coincidence that friendly outlets have been the ones that have ended up with the interviews with Donald Trump. Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, the Times of London — the fact that they’re all Rupert’s publications — I don’t think it’s any coincidence those are the outlets that ended up with the interviews.

It was reported that MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski were at Mar-a-Lago on New Year’s Eve. They said it was because they were trying to get an interview with Trump. Was it appropriate for journalists to attend the president-elect’s private party?

I think in that case, optically, it would have been a lot better to have just made a phone call and ask for the interview.

Shots fired…and will probably be returned in short order…

You had the biggest night in cable-news history on Election Night, 13 million viewers. What’s your plan to maintain ratings in 2017?

Our viewership continues to be significantly higher than it was a year ago and frankly much higher than we expected it to be. There’s been no evidence of any falloff at all. I think people are coming to us because they know we’ll report both sides of the story. We expected we’d be down 25 percent from last year because you had all the election nights, debates, and conventions, but if the first three weeks of this year are any indication, I’m not so sure it will be down that much.

Let’s wait a quarter or two and see. I still expect the numbers to tail off though the way the press covers Trump and the way Trump plays the press and all the hostility between the two will probably keep the numbers higher than they would be for any other incoming administration that doesn’t have to deal with a raging crisis.

MSNBC Changes…

Posted in MSNBC on January 18, 2017 by icn2

TVNewser’s Chris Ariens writes about changes to MSNBC and how some of NBC News’ staff is being redeployed…

Hallie Jackson, who covered Donald Trump’s campaign for NBC News, has been named White House correspondent for the network. Meanwhile, MSNBC correspondent Kasie Hunt has been named Capitol Hill correspondent. Katy Tur, who had covered Trump’s campaign from day one, will remain in New York and will anchor MSNBC’s 2 p.m. ET hour during Trump’s first 100 days.

Left out of this was the fact that Jackson will continue to anchor MSNBC at 10am, which she confirmed via Twitter.

I was actually surprised by this news. I expected Tur to get the White House gig but maybe she didn’t want it after all the crap she had to deal with covering Trump during the election. Jackson getting the gig AND keeping 10am is both noteworthy and not novel. It’s noteworthy because it puts her on the “NBC grooming train” for a bigger role at some point down the line. It isn’t novel because both Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie had similar roles for a couple of years. One difference however is that Todd and Guthrie had the 9am slot and not the 10 which one would think is the better slot to have from a logistical standpoint if you’re going to have both roles but evidently NBC thinks it can still work with one hour less separating the two duties.

It’s also interesting that MSNBC would not fully commit to Tur full time. The press release says it’s for at least the first 100 days and maybe that’s just bet hedging and she will probably stay on. But from an optics standpoint it’s not much of an endorsement.

Selective Memory…

Posted in MSNBC on January 18, 2017 by icn2

I was going to comment on this Joe Concha article in The Hill on Tucker Carlson’s ratings rise and the (predictable) comparative ratings decline Greta Van Susteren has had to contend with on MSNBC since she started but Concha referenced this ridiculous Daily Kos column which was basically tossing a giant hunk of red meat on my empty plate.

Sorry Joe…but thanks for the meal.

Anyway, the Kos article makes an all too predictable appeal for Joy Reid instead of Van Susteren. Nothing noteworthy about that…in fact it’s expected a left wing site would clamor for a left wing host over a host whose actual ideology and affiliations are far less predictable to pin down (sometimes maddeningly so). No, it’s the justification for why Reid should have gotten the slot that deserves strict scrutiny…

She’s also given MSNBC some of their highest numbers in over a decade:

Airing on the weekends from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., AM Joy delivered the time period’s biggest total viewer audience since the 1st quarter of 2003 and biggest A25-54 audience since Q4 2012.

Despite a crushing election, this nation leans left. Trump was beaten in the popular vote by 3 million votes, and Democrats won the majority of votes in the Senate and House as well. If ratings were based on arcane rules or gerrymandering like our national elections, then yes, MSNBC’s strategy would make sense. But they aren’t. Ratings are actually based on popular opinion. There is a huge market for the American progressive audience—one, I might add, that is not currently being filled.

Reality check #1: That’s weekend mornings. Weekend morning ratings on MSNBC are miniscule compared to what early prime and primetime deliver. If Reid’s show had knocked CNN out of second, the article’s argument would turn from a plaintive plea to real substance. But that has not happened.

Reality check #2: MSNBC already tried Reid on weekdays and the jury came back with a death sentence. It got cancelled and one of the reasons was poor ratings. Reid’s show was part of that idealogical block experiment MSNBC tried which dragged down all of dayside. MSNBC would be insane to try that again barring some new development and as I already pointed out statistical improvement in the 10-12 hour on weekends that does not dislodge CNN isn’t enough of a persuader.

It’s way too early to render a judgement on Van Susteren’s show. It is silly to argue MSNBC made the wrong call at this point but it’s preposterous to argue that what Reid has done on weekends justifies MSNBC bringing her back to weekdays at this point.