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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

In Profile: Piers Morgan, Bret Baier

  • CNN’s Piers Morgan is profiled by the tabloid he once edited, the Daily Mirror:  ”I try and give them a good picture and they’re quite happy and move on,” he says. “I have no time for whinging hypocritical celebrities. I use the media to promote my TV shows and books and in return I expect they’ll want to cover my life. “If I don’t like what they write, tough. Fame is a two-way street.”

  • Fox News Channel’s Bret Baier returns to his alma mater, DePauw University: ”Listen, people meld opinion and news together,” he stated, adding that “they think sometimes it’s just one animal.  Rachel Maddow is not, you know, Brian Williams, and believe me, Brian Williams wants you to know that. I am not Sean Hannity, and I want you to know that.  So there needs to be a separation in the mindset that there is a news section and opinion section, just like a newspaper.”  But Baier says outlets have not done a good job of helping consumers of information make that distinction.

‘Fox & Friends’ Tops Primetime In The Demo, Highest Delivery Since Hasselbeck Started

hasselbeck debut_304x200On Friday’s edition of “Fox & Friends,” there wasn’t any huge guest or any groundbreaking news. That didn’t stop the program from delivering its highest adults 25-54 rating since Elisabeth Hasselbeck arrived as co-host a month ago, with 362,000 demo viewers.

In fact, the 6-9 AM program topped every primetime program on every channel in cable news, an extremely unusual feat. The only program to garner more demo viewers on Friday was “Special Report with Bret Baier,” which drew 398,000.

Not only was it the highest demo ratings since Hasselbeck, but it was the highest demo ratings this year, outside of the week of the Boston bombing, which saw extremely high ratings for all the channels.

Ratings: ‘Up Late with Alec Baldwin’ Debuts Up, Jonathan Larsen Named EP

AlecBaldwinFriday’s premiere of “Up Late with Alec Baldwin” on MSNBC drew 674,000 total viewers and 172,000 adults 25-54, according to data from Nielsen.

Compared to the average in that timeslot over the past few weeks, Baldwin’s show was up in both categories, although compared to only last Friday the program was down slightly in the demo. The Friday 10 PM timeslot has usually been filled with MSNBC’s crime documentaries, though “The Last Word” and other special programming has also aired in that hour on occasion.

For comparison: CNN’s “AC360 Later” averaged 347,000 total viewers and 265,000 demo viewers, while “Hannity” on Fox News averaged 1.45 million total and 336,000 demo viewers.

“Up Late” has also named Jonathan Larson executive producer. Larsen had been EP of “Up with Chris Hayes,” overseeing the transition to new host Steve Kornacki. He previously served as a senior producer on “Countdown,” a writer and producer for “AC360″ and a political producer for “The Daily Show.”

The PM Ticker: AJAM, Russert, Ashton

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Ed Henry On Walking Out Of WH Briefing: ‘It wasn’t a protest from me, I had a job to do’

henryFox News White House correspondent Ed Henry explained why he walked out of a White House press briefing on Friday. Henry walked out after Press Secretary Jay Carney did not call on him for a question during the first 40 minutes of the briefing.

“That was unfortunate, but it wasn’t a protest from me, I had a job to do,” Henry said on “Fox & Friend” host Brian Kilmeade‘s radio program this morning.

Henry told Kilmeade that he was trying to make a promised hit on “The Five.”

“I was going to be late,” Henry said. “I would have stayed longer if Jay had called on me. But he didn’t call on me, so I had work to do.”

“If you looked at the video, Chuck Todd was sitting next to me, he got a question or two and then he left,” Henry added. “I didn’t hear anyone saying, ‘Oh my God, he staged a protest or anything’ No, it was because Chuck Todd had to file a piece for ‘NBC Nightly News,’ just as I had to go do a live hit with you on ‘The Five,’ and I had to file my piece for Bret Baier and Special Report.”

Here’s the audio from Fox News Radio.

Bob Costas Makes News During ‘Sunday Night Football,’ Calls ‘Redskins’ Name ‘An Insult’

CostasRedskinsLast December, NBC Sports anchor Bob Costas used his halftime commentary segment during “Sunday Night Football” to advocate for gun control. The commentary made national news, and Costas went on other programs to explain his reasoning.

On “Sunday Night Football” last night, Costas once again used the platform to talk about a controversial issue: the name of Washington DC’s football, team, the Washington Redskins.

“Objections to names like Braves, Chiefs, Warriors and the like, strike many of us as political correctness run amok–these nicknames honor, rather than demean–they are pretty much the same as Vikings, Patriots or even Cowboys,” Costas said. “But think for a moment about the term Redskins, and how it truly differs from all the others. Ask yourself what the equivalent would be, if directed toward African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, or members of any other ethnic group. When considered that way, Redskins can’t possibly honor a heritage or noble character trait, nor can it possibly be considered a neutral term.

“It is an insult, a slur, no matter how benign the present day intent,” Costas added.

WATCH (warning, video plays automatically):
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Isaac Lee: Fusion ‘Is not going to be traditional news’

isaac lee_304x200Fusion CEO Isaac Lee talks to B&C’s Jon Lafayette about the plans for the channel, including distribution and ad sales. Lafayette also asks about how much of Fusion’s programming will be news, and how the parent companies will come into play.

How much of what you’re going to be doing is going to be traditional news?

I think that the key part is not going to be traditional news. We are going to be covering current events, but we are going to be doing it through the filters that I mentioned. Things do not have to be boring to be well done. You can be funny and relevant. You need to be consistent and you need to be outstanding and perceived to be authentic as well.

Will viewers know Fusion is the product of Univision and ABC News?

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Review Roundup: ‘Up Late with Alec Baldwin’

AlecBaldwinUpLateOn Friday, MSNBC debuted “Up Late with Alec Baldwin,” its weekly talk show hosted by the former “30 Rock” actor. You can read Gail Shister‘s review for TVNewser here, but we also wanted to see what some of the other critics are saying.

The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove called the debut episode a “snooze,” and was confused as to why the first guest was New York City mayoral candidate Bill De Blasio:

Baldwin’s debut as a TV talk show host didn’t do him or his audience any favors. The choice to launch a much-hyped national program by devoting a full hour to a candidate for local office—in the midst of a titanic struggle in Washington, no less—was eccentric to say the least, even if you believe (as I do) that New York is the greatest city on earth.

The New Republic‘s Laura Bennett says his podcast has shown what he is capable of, even if the first episode didn’t quite live up to some of his better interviews:

But it’s reasonable to have higher hopes for “Up Late” because Baldwin is not just an appealing presence and a smart, informed person but also a skillful host. He’s proven it on his WNYC podcast, “Here’s The Thing,” for which he has interviewed bigwigs like David Letterman, Chris Rock, and David Simon, always with easy charisma and an ear for propelling the story. Despite his habit of finishing his guests’ sentences, his style is casual and engaging without being ingratiating. And unsurprisingly, his interviews with conservatives have made for some of his most interesting shows.

Time‘s James Poniewozik generally likes the format, particularly its focus on longform interviews:

Baldwin’s a talented talker, though, so I’m hoping he can find that balance—and, maybe, encourage other cable shows to experiment with dialing down their metabolism and letting a conversation run for a while. Whatever’s in those coffee cups, I wouldn’t mind slipping it into a few other cable hosts’ mugs.

(h/t Johnny $)

The Sunday Ticker: O’Brien, Morgan, Henry

  • Former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien contributes to CNN, HBO and Al Jazeera America. Now she can add another channel to her résumé: Sundance Channel. O’Brien will appear in an episode of “Dream School” on the channel Monday, working to inspire kids.

  • CNN’s Piers Morgan tells The Guardian that the HBO drama “The Newsroom” is what inspired him to take a stand against the U.S. gun lobby on his primetime program, and in his new book Shooting Straight.

NBC’s Andrea Canning Expecting Fourth Child

CanningNBCNBC News “Dateline” correspondent Andrea Canning and her husband Tony Bancroft are expecting their fourth child, due in February.

The new baby, a girl, gives the couple four daughters age four and under. Anna (age 4), Charlie (age 3) and Kiki (age 1).

Canning married Bancroft–then a U.S. Marine Corps fighter pilot–in 2008. She left ABC News for NBC News last year.

Canning also secured a scoop for New York station WNBC this week, when she happened to be on the same flight as a suspect being brought back to Long Island to face murder charges.

TVSpy has that story.

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