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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.

Stelter: Network Anchors Have Met with Michael Brown Shooter Darren Wilson

DarrenWIlsonCNNCNN’s Brian Stelter reports that several network news anchors have met with Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, MO police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown on Aug. 9. As a grand jury decides whether Wilson should be charged with a crime in the case, Stelter named at least five news anchors who have met in secret with Wilson. “Because it was off the record, those anchors can’t talk about the meetings and their networks can’t really even confirm the meetings happened,” Stelter says:

Here are the anchor names I know with the caveat that others may have met with him. NBC’s Matt Lauer, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, CBS’s Scott Pelley and both the prime time anchors at CNN: Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon. Maybe other anchors as well. I have a feeling someone at Fox, I just don’t know the name but that’s what my sources are telling me.

Weather Channel Serves up Reality Show Leftovers, and Maybe Some Weather

FatGuysintheWoodsIn addition to weather forecasts — because that’s what they do — the Weather Channel is serving up re-runs of its reality shows this Thanksgiving weekend. Starting Thanksgiving day and continuing through Saturday, from 2pmET-4amET, the network will air episodes of “So You Think You’d Survive?,” “Fat Guys in the Woods,” (at left) and “Highway Thru Hell.”

‘Sunday Morning’ Dishes

Sunday MorningTomorrow is the annual Eat, Drink and Be Merry edition of “CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood.” From the evolution of Spam to the mechanics behind menus, the food-themed show arrives just in time for Thanksgiving week. In the ratings department, so far this season “Sunday Morning” is up +3% in viewers compared to last year. Last Sunday, the show drew 6 million viewers, making it the #1 Sunday morning program.

CNN to Announce New Bill Weir Show Monday

In the last four months Bill Weir has traveled to six continents. “It’s the longest I’ve gone without having to put on a tie and be a prompter monkey,” Weir told his former colleagues at WGN in Chicago this morning. Weir said CNN will be revealing details about the new show Monday. The CNNCommentary blog writes the show will be called the “Last Chance Diaries.” “It’s the most exciting project I’ve ever had,” Weir says. WATCH:

Weir has been a journeyman TV journalist. After Chicago, he worked for KABC in Los Angeles, then to ABC News in New York where he anchored “Good Morning America” Weekend and, later, “Nightline.” He joined CNN a year ago, and did some fill in anchoring before beginning work on the new CNN Originals show. Weir was on WGN to celebrate the show’s 20th anniversary. Before Chicago, he was a sports anchor in Green Bay. In a Media Beat interview a few years ago, he told us about his transition from “smart ass” sports guy to ABC News anchor.

On Cable, FNC is Most-Watched for Obama Immigration Remarks

O'ReillyImmigration4.3 million viewers tuned in to Fox News last night for Pres. Obama’s remarks on his immigration executive action, more than MSNBC and CNN combined. FNC drew 958,000 in the A25-54 demo, again more than CNN and MSNBC combined. As we reported earlier, 6.8 million watched on the two U.S. Spanish-language broadcast networks.

  • 8-8:15pm | Network: Viewers / A25-54

FNC: 4,294,000 / 958,000
CNN: 1,678,000 / 637,000
MSNBC: 1,758,000 / 320,000

  • 8-9pm | Network: Viewers / A25-54

FNC: 4,153,000 / 885,000
CNN: 1,652,000 / 578,000
MSNBC: 1,452,000 / 283,000

Obama to Heckler: ‘I’ve Been Respectful to You. I Want You to be Respectful to Me’

ObamaHecklerImmigrationDuring his remarks in Las Vegas this afternoon explaining his immigration executive action, President Obama was heckled by a student who says the plan doesn’t go far enough.

“Not everybody will qualify under this provision,” Obama said directly to the student. “That’s the truth. That’s why we’re still going to have to pass a bill. So listen…” Obama said, as the crowd’s cheers drowned out the insistent heckler. “I heard you you and what I’m saying is we’re still going to have to pass a bill. This is the first step. It’s not the only step. We’re still going to have to do more work.

So, I’ve heard you. I’ve heard you young man. I’ve heard you. And I understand. I’ve heard you. But what I’m saying is this is just a first step. So young man, I’m talking to a lot of people here. I’ve been respectful to you. I want you to be respectful to me.”

Obama Immigration Remarks Draw 6.8M on Spanish-Language TV

RamosImmigrationPres. Obama’s immigration remarks drew 6.85 million viewers on two Spanish-language U.S. TV networks last night, according to Nielsen overnight time-period data.

With 5.055 million viewers, Univision saw a +49% increase in viewership from Wednesday’s 8pm half hour, while NBCU-owned Telemundo’s 1.8 million viewers was a jump of +38% from the night earlier.

With a 2.1 rating and a 9 share in the A18-34 demo, Unvision was second only to CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” in the half hour. It was fourth in total viewers, behind CBS, ABC and NBC.

The broadcast networks chose not to carry network-wide special reports at 8pmET, but that didn’t stop many local stations in big markets from producing their own specials. That alone will dent the national ratings, especially for NBC and ABC. (Final numbers will be released Tuesday.) FOX, too, will see an effect as many stations in big markets carried a Shepard Smith-anchored report.

Another interesting note for Unvision, following the president’s remarks, anchor Jorge Ramos wrapped up the news at 8:18pm. At that point the network moved on to the Latin Grammy Awards broadcast. The 8:30pm half hour actually lost viewers: from an average of 5.055 million to an average of 4.799 million. The younger demos (18-49 and 18-34) also each dropped one tenth of a ratings point from 8 to 8:30pm. Some of those Univision viewers may have switched to Telemundo which produced a one-hour special averaging 1.98 million viewers.

  • 8-8:30pm | Program: Viewers (Millions) / A18-49 / A18-34

The Big Bang Theory (CBS)….14.647 / 4.0 / 2.6
Informe Especial (Univision)……5.055 / 2.2 / 2.1
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)………….8.242 / 2.3 / 1.8
Bones (FOX)……………………..5.001 / 1.3 / 0.9
The Vampire Diaries (CW)……..1.721 / 0.8 / 0.8
The Biggest Loser (NBC)………5.324 / 1.3 / 0.7
Accion Ejecutiva (Telemundo)…1.800 / 0.7 / 0.5

CNN, HLN Back on Dish Network

CNN HLNDISH Network and Turner Broadcasting have mutually decided to restore service of CNN, HLN and six other networks that were pulled from the satellite service a month ago today.

Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, truTV, TCM, CNN en Espanol and Boomerang are also back on Dish. The companies also faced a Dec. 5 deadline which could have meant the removal of two other Turner networks: TBS and TNT. Today’s deal extends that carriage agreement to Dish’s 14 million subscribers. Neither company released details of the terms. Earlier this month, Dish Network CEO Charlie Ergen called the loss of CNN a “non-event.” “Things like CNN are not quite the product that they used to be,” Ergen said on Nov. 4.

Rachel Racusen Leaves White House for MSNBC

Rachel-MSNBCPRNewser reports Rachel Racusen has been named VP of Communications for MSNBC.

Racusen joins the network from the White House where she has been Associate Communications Director. Prior to that, Racusen was Deputy Communications Director for Pres. Obama’s re-election campaign. Racusen takes over for Lauren Skowronski who was promoted to VP of Corporate Communications for NBCUniversal.

“I’m thrilled to add Rachel to our senior team,” says MSNBC president Phil Griffin. “She has great experience, she’s creative, strategic and passionate about our brand.”

As Networks Pass on Immigration Address, Local Stations Produce Special Reports

While ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX chose not to interrupt primetime with Pres. Obama’s immigration executive action remarks, many local stations interrupted network programs anyway, producing their own specials. NBC stations in Washington, DC and New York produced special reports, so did ABC’s WLS in Chicago, which meant pre-empting the “Grey’s Anatomy” “winter finale.” FOX produced an optional special report anchored by Shepard Smith but aired broadly across the country in markets including New York, Boston, Washington, Atlanta, Detroit, and Miami.

Because of the timing, during the local evening news in the Mountain and Pacific time zones, many of those stations incorporated the remarks in their newscasts. CBS’s Scott Pelley anchored a special report that aired on many western stations including KCBS in Los Angeles, KCNC in Denver and KOVR in Sacramento.

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