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Former WH Staffer Gets Nod as MSNBC VP of Communications

Rachel-MSNBCRachel Racusen was named the new VP of communications for MSNBC this morning.

Beginning December 8, Rachel will replace Lauren Skowronski, who was promoted to VP of corporate communications at NBCUniversal in July, and serve as MSNBC’s primary spokesperson. She will also handle communications and media strategy while partnering with editorial and business leads at the network.

Rachel previously served as associate communications director at The White House. MSNBC President Phil Griffin, who she will be reporting to directly, said: “I’m thrilled to add Rachel to our senior team. She has great experience, she’s creative, strategic and passionate about our brand. She’ll be a tremendous asset to the network.”

 

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CNN Asks Former Navy SEAL Robert O’Neill About ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

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In an interview today with Robert O’Neill, former Navy SEAL who claims to have killed Bin Laden, CNN asked ”But what about Zero Dark Thirty?” (1:15).

“It was a good movie,” said O’Neill, “I anticipated it. I enjoyed watching it. I’ve seen it more than once. I liked how they portrayed the CIA. I like how strong the woman was. She was.. She is, to this day, one of the strongest women I’ve ever met. As far as the SEALs, I thought they could’ve done a better job with the tactics and the actors, but that’s just me. I’m being nit-picky because that’s my former job. And I think that the mission on the movie might have last longer than the mission.”

I guess O’Neill was looking for someone more along the lines of Brad Pitt to play him.

Video Courtesy of CNN’s Digital Team:

‘Kissing the Ring’ – Face The Nation’s 60th Anniversary Celebration

105748_0258Bigwig politicians, reporters and DC socialites, all showed up Monday night to the Newsuem in downtown Washington to honor Bob Schieffer and 60 years of exceptional journalism by Face The Nation. In something rarely seen in Washington, the evening began with a moment of agreement and lightheartedness between partisans.

“I’ve had 101 appearances on ‘Face the Nation,’ which exactly matches my age,” joked Senator John McCain, ”The first time I was on, … Bob … and I had an in-depth discussion about the aviation policies of Calvin Coolidge. … I have been on a number of shows. Always I’m reluctant to do so, I’m sure you know. [Laughter.] … I want to thank Mary Hager, who has been with Bob as his producer for all this time. … For a very short statement, I think next is the Vice President. That will be interesting. [Laughter.]”

Read more

Luke Russert’s Final ‘Daily Rundown’ Sign Off

Luke-Russert2For its last broadcast to originate out of DC, NBC’s The Daily Rundown ended Friday morning with a Luke Russert monologue thanking  Savannah Guthrie and Chuck Todd. Russert said it was honor to guest-host the show.

Starting next Monday, the show, which began in 2010, will be hosted by José Díaz-Balart based out of Miami.

(Video via Mediaite)

CNN Renews ‘Parts Unknown’ and Two Others Shows

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Now, I know that this isn’t a DC story, or even a political one. However, as a huge fan of the man and the show (as I am sure many of you are), I am thrilled to be the 3,823,159th person to announce that CNN has picked up its original program “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown” for a fifth season.

From Russia to Iran, Bourdain has taken his audience to places some of us only dream, or fear, to go. His adventures have helped bridge gaps between cultures, and opened our eyes to a world much more complex than we often believe.

Good luck in your new adventures, Tony, we’ll be watching. Oh, and the more Zamir Gotta, the better.

“This is Life with Lisa Ling,” and “Somebody’s Gotta Do it with Mike Rowe were also picked up by the network, but I don’t watch those yet. Sue me.

Next episode: Jamaica. Sunday, November 16 at 9pm ET/PT

Fishbowl5 + 1 with (Now) CNN’s Maeve Reston

Another big get for CNN Digital Politics today. Maeve Reston, the LA Times political reporter and brains behind #campaignfashionreport, is joining the likes of Peter Hamby and Chris Moody at CNN Digital Politics.  In her new gig she will remain in LA, where she will write big-picture political stories, report on the intersection of Hollywood, politics and money, and contribute to both the net’s television and digital video coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign.  Rather than posting another boring memo, we decided to ask Maeve a few questions for our Fishbowl5 feature.

get-attachment.aspxWhat’s it like to report on politics 3,000 miles from DC?

Incredibly refreshing. If I had my way, political reporters wouldn’t have desks – just a laptop, an aircard, and the freedom to roam the country finding the best stories.

Who gets more starstruck: politicians meeting movie stars, or movie stars meeting politicians?

Depends on the caliber of the politician and the caliber of the celebrity. Generally the politicians try to play it cool, while the celebrities are more honest about being starstruck.

How do you see Silicon Valley’s role in politics changing over the next few years? Read more

CNN Digital Politics Hires Metzler from U.S. News

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The digital hiring spree in CNN’s Washington bureau continues today with news that Rebekah Metzler will exit U.S. News & World Report for a gig at CNN. Currently a senior news editor, Metzler will take the role of breaking news editor for CNN Digital Politics.

For those of you counting, Metzler is CNN Digital Politics’ 200,698th hire in the past two months. I kid. But it seems that way, no?

Since poaching Politico‘s Rachel Smolkin and naming her executive editor this summer, the network has really been bulking up their digital team. You may recall that in addition to Smolkin, CNN snagged three more from Politico – Steven SloanJedd Rosche and Eric Bradner.  They also made big name hires like Chris Moody from Yahoo!, Ashley Codianni from Mashable and Stephen Collinson from AFP, as well as reporters and digital producers from WaPo, The Hill and C-SPAN.

Three Execs Upped at CNN

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Jeff Zucker shared with the network today news of a new leadership structure for CNN Digital — arguably the fastest growing division of the global media organization.  It seems Andrew Morse — the feisty former Bloomberg exec who joined the network last summer — will add to his full plate GM responsibilities for CNN Digital, globally.  Morse already oversees all domestic newsgathering – including CNN Digital editorial, as well as programming out of the Washington bureau.  This move solidifies Morse’s spot at the top of the network totem pole.

Meredith Artley is also getting a big bump, moving from managing editor of CNN.com to Editor-in-chief of CNN Digital.  The promotion will make Artley the worldwide edit lead for CNN’s web, mobile and  social products and platforms.  Joining Artley and Morse at the top of the Digital org chart is Alex Wellen.  The former DC bureau producer has made great strides since making the long move to Atlanta. Currently a VP in the network’s digital shop and the brains behind CNNgo – the tricked out app that launched earlier this year, Wellen has been named Chief Product Officer – the network’s first.

CNN to Cease Broadcasting in Russia

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CNN will be off the air in Russia as of January 1.

According to the Russian News Agency “TASS,” no reasons behind the move were given, but the decision comes in the wake of an advertising ban on Russian cable and satellite TV stations.

“Turner International is assessing its distribution options for CNN in Russia in light of recent changes in Russian media legislation,” a Turner spokesperson says. “We are bringing our existing distribution relationships to an end while we do that. We hope to re-enter the market in due course, and will notify our partners of any update about resuming these services.”

CNN’s Moscow bureau remains unaffected.

 

Massive Win for FOX News Channel’s Election Night Coverage

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FOX News Channel dominated primetime election night coverage as the most watched network among its broadcast and cable competition, according to Nielsen Media Research. In the 10 pm hour, FNC averaged 6,607,000 total viewers, exceeding both CNN’s 1,936,000 and MSNBC’s 1,594,000 average total viewers combined by more than 3 million. FNC also beat out CBS, NBC, and ABC in total viewers during that hour, with the highest of the three – CBS – garnering 5,408,000 average total viewers.

In the A25-54 demo during the 10 pm hour, FNC was again on top with 1,825,000 viewers, more than combining the demo numbers of CNN and MSNBC. This year also marks FNC’s first time during election night coverage of besting CBS, NBC, and ABC ratings in the A25-54 demo.

See the full 10 pm and primetime numbers after the jump. Read more

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