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Chris Ariens

Chris joined Mediabistro in July 2007 as editor of TVNewser.com and executive producer of the blog network and was promoted to editorial director in June 2009. Before joining mediabistro, Chris spent seven years at MSNBC, as a producer, coordinating producer for the Olympics, and lastly as executive producer of daytime programs., Chris worked as a producer in local TV news in Green Bay (WLUK) and Tampa (WFTS). Email chris@mediabistro.com and follow @ChrisAriens on Twitter.

Beloved TV News Makeup Artist Killed in Car Crash

McKinneyAlexis McKinney, a make-up artist for several broadcasters, most recently at Al Jazeera America and NBC, was killed Christmas Eve as the result of a car crash in Virginia. McKinney, along with her 4-year-old daughter Sophia and her 19-year-old nephew Xavier Sanders were driving from New Jersey to Florida to be with family for Christmas.

According to Virginia State Police, the accident happened around 5am when Sanders, who was driving, ran off the road, returned to the southbound lanes, then hit a barrier wall. McKinney was ejected from the car. McKinney’s daughter and Sanders were not seriously injured.

McKinney’s husband Ray is an operations manager for CBS News digital in New York.

“Alexis was a bright star in the makeup room—always with a cheerful demeanor and a kind word to everyone,” writes AJAM president Kate O’Brian in a note to staff earlier today. “She was completely devoted to her daughters and shared stories and photos of their achievements with the team.” In addition to Sophia, McKinney also leaves behind a teenage daughter and her husband Ray, who is an operations manager for CBS News digital in New York.

McKinney’s friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for her family.

Evening News Ratings: Week of December 15

eveningnews2015“NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” won another week in both total viewers and the demo, delivering its biggest total viewer win over ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” in four months.

But compared to the same week last year Muir’s newscast showed the biggest growth in both total viewers and the demo. “WNT” was up +8% in viewers and up +11% in the demo.

“Nightly” was up +2% in viewers and down -4% in the demo. No. 3 “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley“ was up +4% in viewers and up +2% in the demo.

Numbers for the week of Dec. 15, 2014:

NBC ABC CBS
• Total Viewers: 9,360,000 8,520,000 7,333,000
• A25-54: 2,150,000 2,116,000 1,672,000

 

Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network Pulled From DISH Network

DishFox2At 11:50pmET last night, Dish network viewers lost Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network after negotiations on a new carriage agreement failed. Fox says DISH dropped the channel “prematurely.” Dish says “21st Century Fox blocked DISH customer access” to those channels.

“It is unfortunate that the millions of Fox News viewers on DISH were used as pawns by their provider, says Tim Cary, EVP of distribution for Fox News. “Hopefully they will vote with their hard earned money and seek another one of our other valued distributors immediately.”

Last Sunday, Fox began running commercials directed at DISH customers. But as the midnight deadline loomed, there was no movement toward an agreement. DISH, which has about 14 million customers, pulled several Turner networks, including CNN and HLN, in October. That blackout lasted a month.

DISH says it offered a short-term contract extension that would “preserve the channels as the two parties continue to negotiate.”

“It is disappointing that, after nearly two decades without a blackout, FOX News Channel has been blocked by DISH Network,” Carry adds. Read more

‘Caught on Camera’ Comes to NBC Primetime

CannonCaught“Caught on Camera,” a staple of MSNBC weekends and hosted by Contessa Brewer, is getting an NBC primetime run hosted by Nick Cannon. Like the MSNBC version, the two-part series, airing tonight and next Friday at 8pmET/7pmCT, is produced by NBC News’s Peacock Productions. NBC says the “high-octane series” will feature “everything from extreme rescues and white-knuckle car chases to merry pranksters, colossal crashes and viral sensations.”

The Scoreboard: Wednesday, December 17

25-54 demographic (Live +SD)

  • Total day: FNC: 266 | CNN: 129 | MSNBC: 85 | HLN: 96
  • Primetime: FNC: 398 | CNN: 178 | MSNBC: 128 | HLN: 109

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

218

TheFive:

396

Baier:

370

Greta:

270

O’Reilly:

494

Kelly:

402

Hannity:

293

O’Reilly:

222

Kelly:

174

CNN
Tapper:

116

Blitzer:

170

Blitzer:

192

Burnett:

190

Cooper:

190

Special:

204

Tonight:

140

Cooper:

117

Special:

90

MSNBC
Wagner:

43

EdShow:

42

Sharpton:

81

Matthews:

143

Hayes:

111

Maddow:

153

O’Donnell:

119

Hayes:

68

Maddow:

79

HLN
Now:

12

WWYD?:

28

Files:

62

Special:

43

Grace:

112

Dr.Drew:

80

Files:

134

Files:

201

Files:

233

Read more

Fox News Radio Hires Two Correspondents, Moves One

FoxNewsRadioFOX News Radio has made some hires.

Jon Decker joins as a White House correspondent and Gurnal Scott joins as a national correspondent based in New York. At the same time, Fox News Radio’s Jessica Golloher will move from New York, where she was a national reporter, to Jerusalem where she will be Middle East correspondent.

Decker, who will represent FNR in the White House press corps, is joining FNR from SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s “White House Insider.” Scott joins from WUNC-FM in Chapel Hill, NC where he was assistant news director.

Morning Show Ratings: Week of December 8

morningshowanchors2014Each of the three morning newscasts dropped double digits in the demo that counts: the A25-54 news demo.

“Good Morning America” won the week in viewers and the demo, but was down -8% and down -13%, respectively, compared to the same week last year.

NBC’s “Today” show was down as well: -6% in viewers and down -15% in the demo. “CBS This Morning” was down -11% in the demo, but was the only morning show to grow its viewership: +3%. Season-to-date, “CTM” is the only network morning broadcast gaining viewers compared to the 2013-2014 season.

Meanwhile, “Today,” had its closest demo margin with “GMA” in eight months. Still, “GMA” is seeing its largest season margin over “Today” in the demo in 23 years – since the 1991-92 season.

The averages for the week of Dec. 8, 2014:

  • Total Viewers: ABC: 5.533M / NBC: 5.156M / CBS: 3.294M
  • A25-54 viewers: ABC: 2.055M / NBC: 2.001M / CBS: 970K

Megyn Kelly on White House Christmas Party: ‘Boy oh Boy Did I See a Lot of MSNBC Anchors’

Two primetime Fox Newsers turned up in late night last night.

In a coincidental booking, Megyn Kelly was on Jimmy Kimmel on ABC, while Bill O’Reilly dropped by “Late Night with Seth Meyers” on NBC. Both Kelly and O’Reilly were first time guests on Kimmel and Meyers, respectively.

Over on CBS, NBC’s Tom Brokaw paid a visit to “Late Show with David Letterman.”

With Meyers, O’Reilly talked politics, specifically Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and O’Reilly declared victory in the war on Christmas. With Letterman, Brokaw talked about his Presidential Medal of Freedom honor, his new NBC Sports Network show and his health: “Things are going along as well as they possibly could be. And I’m at a stage now where I really worry about other cancer patients because I’m on a good track.”

With Kimmel, Kelly talked about her experience at the White House Christmas party Tuesday night. “Is there a separate section for Fox News,” Kimmel joked. “You mean somewhere other than outside in the rain?,” Kelly said, adding, “Boy or boy, did I see a lot of MSNBC anchors. I think they got a few more invitations than we got.” WATCH: Read more

Greta the Diplomat

NYPGretaThe New York Post, which until last year was a corporate sibling of Fox News, says Greta Van Susteren would have been a better Cuban negotiator than Pres. Obama. In an opinion piece, the Post writes:

It’s hard not to note that in another recent case — Mexico’s jailing of Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi — Fox News’ Greta van Susteren helped get this US Marine freed without any of the compromises Obama agreed to in exchange for Alan Gross. Maybe next time the president needs a back-channel negotiation with some thug regime, he should send Greta instead of John Kerry.

The U.S. will be looking for an ambassador to Cuba in due time. Perhaps Greta is ready.

How ABC’s Jim Avila Broke the News of the Release of Alan Gross

AvilaJimMore than 20 trips in nearly 20 years of covering Cuba paid off for ABC’s Jim Avila this morning when he broke the news that American contractor Alan Gross would be released from a Cuban prison.

But it didn’t stop there. Gross’s freedom, in exchange for the release of the remaining so-called “Cuban Five” was the key to re-starting diplomatic relations with the island nation just 90 miles from Key West.

“I was told early on that this was not just going to be a prisoner exchange,” Avila told TVNewser from Havana, where he’d just arrived.

“We had information that Gross would be released this week, for about a month,” Avila says. “We held it back at the request of both the White House and the attorney representing Alan Gross for fear that it would cost him his life. That’s why were were able to break it first.”

Avila, a White House correspondent for ABC News, has been closely following Gross’s case. He’s made two trips to Havana in an effort to speak to him. Those requests were denied, but Avila saw something big on the horizon. Read more

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