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Alex Weprin

Alex Weprin is a senior editor at Mediabistro. He has written about television for Broadcasting & Cable magazine, Cynopsis: Weekender and other outlets, and is a big New York Mets fan. You can follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/alexweprin

Tom Brokaw To Host NBC News Special Remembering 50th Anniversary of JFK’s Death

Tom-BrokawNBC News will air a primetime special remembering the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Former “NBC Nightly News” anchor Tom Brokaw will host the special, which will air 50 years to the day Kennedy was killed in Dallas.

“Tom Brokaw Special: Where Were You?” will air Friday, November 22 at 9 PM ET. It will feature interviews with a wide range of people, asking them how Kennedy’s death affected their lives, and speculating about what might be different had he not been shot.

NBC is planning additional programming tied to the anniversary. Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer will be in Dallas, with Guthrie talking to one of Kennedy’s Secret Service agents, and Lauer interviewing a woman whose photo has become an iconic part of that day. The morning of November 22, Brokaw will be joined on “Today” by former CBS News anchor Dan Rather, whose report that day is one of the most widely remembered. “Meet the Press” will air a half-hour special, featuring three interviews Kennedy gave to the Sunday public affairs program.

More information, after the jump.
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The FNC Ticker: Mezzanine, Varney, Guilfoyle

As Debt Vote Looms, Cable News Channels Weigh Options

CapitolBuildingAs Congress prepare to vote on a possible compromise in the government shutdown/debt ceiling battle, cable news executives are keeping an eye on things to see how it develops. If the deal falls through, or the votes go late, expect live coverage through primetime and beyond.

As of now Fox News is planning live editions of “Hannity” at 10 PM, “Special Report with Bret Baier” at 11 PM, and “The Kelly File” at 12 AM ET. All three of its primetime programs will be covering the potential end of the shutdown. Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Michele Bachmann, who have played pivotal roles in the shutdown, will both be on “Hannity.” FBN will be live from 7-9 PM, with Rich Edson providing updates from that point on.

On CNN, Jake Tapper will anchor the 11 PM hour live, with Piers Morgan anchoring live at midnight. Tapper has been anchoring from 11-11:30 in recent days, with a replay of “Crossfire” airing from 11:30PM-12AM. He will anchor the entire hour tonight. CNN International will be simulcast with live coverage from 1-4 AM.

MSNBC is waiting to see how the news plays, but may go live.

Katie Couric’s Future At Disney/ABC: ‘It can go either way’

KatieCouric1TV Guide‘s Stephen Battaglio takes a measured look at the future of Katie Couric‘s syndicated talk show, and her future with Disney/ABC. At the moment, the scale seems to be tipping toward her program not returning for a third season, although it sounds like the door is open, provided Couric takes a pay cut.

With the soft ratings performance of this season’s freshmen talk shows (like Bethenny), Disney/ABC wants to see if it can make a Couric renewal work financially, something that will have to be determined in a matter of weeks. “The sales team is currently in the marketplace having conversations with our station partners,” the company says in a statement to TV Guide Magazine. “The viewer response has been great, and we’ve been very pleased with the creative changes and direction.” According to a Disney/ABC insider, “It can go either way.”

It isn’t clear what Disney would replace Couric’s talk show with on its local stations. The only sure thing: Couric’s future at the company will become clear within the next month or so. She has been rumored to possibly launch an online program for Yahoo! or to rejoin her old friend and colleague Jeff Zucker at CNN.

Piers Morgan To Howard Stern: Bill O’Reilly ‘is a dick’

CNN host Piers Morgan was a guest on Howard Stern‘s SiriusXM radio program this morning. As Stern often does, he got Morgan to open up about his future at CNN, and his thoughts on the competition.

Take for example this anecdote about Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, who ignored Morgan when the CNN host asked him to appear on his show, and then later asked if he would take a picture with his daughter.

“He’s not liking you because you work for CNN?” Stern asked.

“No, I think he is a dick,” Morgan responded.

Morgan did praise O’Reilly as a TV host, calling his program “fantastic” and saying he enjoys watching the Fox News host’s show.

WATCH:

Stern also asked Morgan about the reports that he would be leaving CNN. Morgan told Stern that he recently signed a contract extension that keeps him at the channel for an additional year.

‘Johnny Carson’ Author On Late Night, And Kathie Lee Gifford

johnny-carson-book-coverMediabistro’s “So What Do You Do? column this week talks to Henry Bushkin, the former attorney and confidant to late night legend Johnny Carson. We talk to Bushkin about his book Johnny Carson, including the revelation that Carson’s wife apparently had an affair with NFL legend Frank Gifford. Gifford’s wife, Kathie Lee Gifford, reportedly confronted her husband about it.

Did you read Kathie Lee Gifford’s reaction to Chapter Two?
No. As far as the media coverage of Chapter Two, that’s something that happened 43 years ago and the point of me writing that chapter was not to create controversy between Carson fans and myself, or between Frank Gifford and me, or whoever. It was to really show how I met the guy. That’s how I met him! What am I supposed to do, not write it? I don’t know what more to say other than to me, Gifford was not the punchline of the chapter at all. The punchline of that chapter is the bar scene, where we’re sitting in the corner of the place at 3 a.m., and there’s nobody else there “except you and me.” That’s what I thought the telling part of that chapter was. And the fact that the media focused on Joanne Carson and Frank Gifford, to me that was like the “So what?” part of it.

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The AM Ticker: Matthews, Murrows, Kurtz

  • MSNBC’s Chris Matthews was feted at a book party in Washington DC. “He also beats everybody in the competition — meaning Fox, our big challenger — one out of three nights. And we hope to do that regularly,” Phil Griffin said, as recounted by Politico. TVNewser will be at Matthews’ New York book party tonight.

The Scoreboard: Monday, October 14

25-54 demographic (Live +SD)

  • Total day: FNC: 285 | MSNBC: 164 | CNN: 141 | HLN: 70
  • Primetime: FNC: 361 | MSNBC: 252 | CNN: 116 | HLN: 52

4p: 5p: 6/6:30p: 7p: 8p: 9p: 10p: 11/11:30p: 12a:
FNC
Cavuto:

234

TheFive:

385

Baier:

432

Greta:

361

O’Reilly:

439

Megyn:

379

Hannity:

265

O’Reilly:

306

Megyn:

290

MSNBC
Bashir:

155

EdShow:

183

Sharpton:

200

Matthews:

308

Hayes:

219

Maddow:

295

O’Donnell:

242

Hayes:

114

Maddow:

144

CNN
Tapper:

215

Blitzer:

170

Blitz/Cross:

180/150

Burnett:

170

Cooper:

140

Morgan:

89

Cooper:

120

SD/Cross:

101/97

Morgan:

72

HLN
America:

49

Express:

42

Express:

43

Jane:

61

Grace:

49

DrDrew:

60

AfterDark:

48

Showbiz:

51

DrDrew:

42

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MSNBC’s New Website Goes Live

MSNBCPageSmallMSNBC flipped the switch on its new website today, launching a public preview at www.msnbc.com/preview.

You can read more about their plans for the site from our report last week.

As we noted, the company is putting social front and center, both building its own social network built out around politics, while integrating with the leading social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

It is also compiling a trove of data on its users, starting with their emails. msnbc.com executive editor Richard Wolffe says that in the first 10 days since they posted a sign-up feature, the company saw 30,000 subscribers, representing a 10% signup rate. They expect more than a hundred thousand people to subscribe by the end of the year.

Nielsen Investigates Megyn Kelly Ratings Surge, Confirms Numbers

megyn kelly kelly file 1Late last week MSNBC president Phil Griffin quipped that the ratings for Megyn Kelly‘s Fox News show on the Tuesday of her debut week were “impossible.”

“Monday we had a really good day in the key demographic, on the night that Fox News debuted their three shows, we either tied or beat them in those hours,” Griffin said. “Tuesday–you guys should be doing some investigations–I have never seen it in all my years of cable, same overnight, same everything, and they doubled their ratings in a day? It is impossible.”

Well, apparently Nielsen took the issue seriously, because they looked into Tuesday’s numbers. According to the Daily NewsDon Kaplan, “The investigation has revealed that the numbers for Kelly are accurate.”

On her debut night, Kelly fell to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in the demo, but on Tuesday, her ratings more than doubled. As we speculated at the time, popular programming like “Monday Night Football” may have drawn a lot of attention Monday night, so the curiosity tune-in could have been delayed til Tuesday.

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