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2012 Conventions

DNC Day Two Ratings: MSNBC Tops on Cable, ABC on Broadcast

On day two of the Democratic National Convention, which featured a 48-minute speech from former Pres. Bill Clinton, MSNBC was once again the top choice for cable news viewers, while ABC News was #1 at 10pm. NBC was the big winner of the night, however, as it broadcast the first game of the 2012 NFL season. In the 10pm hour, NBC averaged 20.2 million viewers watching the Giants-Cowboys, while the combined averages of ABC, CBS, MSNBC, FNC and CNN was 20.6 million.

While MSNBC led the cablers again, only Fox News grew its audience from Tuesday night, in both total viewers (+7%) and demo viewers (+14%).

  • Cable News Primetime , Sept. 5, 8-11pm

MSNBC: 3,307,740 viewers (1,003,068 in 25-54)
CNN: 2,919,265 viewers (961,695 in 25-54)
FNC: 2,699,098 viewers (629,025 in 25-54)

ABC eked out a win over CBS at 10pm, by just +4%. MSNBC was third in Total Viewers while CNN grabbed third (a cable win) in the demo. All the networks gained viewers from Tuesday in the hour, not unusual since there was one less outlet to watch (NBC).

  • DNC Day Two / Sept. 5, 10-11pm:

ABC: 4,587,224 viewers (1,728,724 in 25-54)
CBS: 4,410,140 viewers (1,723,928 in 25-54)
MSNBC: 4,387,567 viewers (1,419,115 in 25-54)
CNN: 4,134,662 viewers (1,543,771 in 25-54)
FNC: 3,102,606 viewers (813,816 in 25-54)

Compared to Day 2 of the DNC in 2008, ABC, CBS, MSNBC and FNC are up. The growth can be attributed to NBC passing on the DNC for the NFL, and the fact that CNN is down -23% in total viewers and down -33% in A25-54 viewers, vs. 2008.

And even with football on NBC, the 10pm hour of the DNC’s night two still topped night two of the RNC a week ago: 20,622,000 vs. 20,049,000

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Piers Morgan’s Pub Politics: ‘Doing interviews in a bar is perfectly natural. I’ve been spouting rubbish in bars all my life.’

CNN host Piers Morgan slides into the seat across from me. We are sitting in a booth in a (relatively) quiet corner of the CNN Grill in Charlotte. Seconds after he arrives, a server brings over a cheeseburger for Morgan, who just finished a Q&A on Wolf Blitzer‘s show. During the RNC and DNC the CNN Grill has become a meeting place for media types. While there is a set in the restaurant, it feels more like a bar than a TV studio. Morgan says he feels right at home.

“I grew up in a pub, my parents ran a country pub, I owned a pub in London until recently, so doing interviews in a bar is perfectly natural, I have been spouting rubbish in bars all my life.” he quips. ” I quite like the idea of a grill too, grilling politicians. I think it is something we might adopt.”

Shorty after we sit down, Star Jones walks over to the booth to talk to Morgan about her appearance on tonight’s show.

For Morgan, the conventions have been an chance to showcase a more fun, less formal side of TV news.

“I don’t know how many cable news shows have pints of beer siting on the desk,” he says. “We have had some great guests, and lively end of the evening debate. It has been quite cool to ramp up the proceedings over a few pints with smart people, and having the kind of electricity of being in a bar and doing it live while it has been packed. It is actually quite exciting, I have really enjoyed that.”

He also cites his primetime newsmaker interviews as something he is particularly proud of during the conventions.

“To be the go-to person for the big interview hit is really important to me, because that is what I think I can bring to the network as well as anyone else,” he adds.

The conventions also allow a chance to grab guests you wouldn’t otherwise be able to secure. Morgan says he has two big, boldface names still on his list.

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Here’s What Happens When You Win in the Ratings

Today at MSNBC HQ, cupcakes for all. The occasion? MSNBC’s win Tuesday in primetime, beating CNN and Fox News for the first time ever when all three networks were in head-to-head programming. In the 10pm hour, MSNBC also beat ABC and CBS. Wednesday numbers should be out in a few hours. And because NBC did not air a 10pm special due to the Giants-Cowboys game, MSNBC might have an even better night.

Neil Cavuto: CNBC Has Peaked, FBN On a Faster Trajectory than Fox News Was

For Fox News and Fox Business anchor Neil Cavuto, the conventions are a chance to showcase the 5-year-old business network. Last week during the RNC, FBN topped CNBC head-to-head during convention coverage.

“I always like it when I see it, to be in the number of homes that we are in, and to score that,” Cavuto told me in the Fox News skybox in the Time Warner Cable Arena. “I don’t get ahead of myself, like I don’t obsess over every tick in ratings. Remember when I came here from CNBC for Fox News, there were years when people thought I had entered the witness protection program, so it does take time to register.”

Cavuto also has to juggle duties as an FBN anchor, an FBN executive and an anchor for Fox News, where he hosts the afternoon business program “Your World.”

On his program Wednesday, he lamented that he was having a hard time booking some Democratic guests.

“Just tell me if you hate me, tell me if you have a problem with us. I am a big boy, I can understand, we’ll move on,” Cavuto said on his program.

He told me that while he may not have gotten everyone he has wanted, he has been very happy with how the booking process has progressed since FBN launched, and with the viewer response.

“Last week at the RNC, we had all these big guests, standing in line like planes at LaGuardia. If we were such a waste of time they wouldn’t bother, we are not a waste of time, they do bother,” he says. “I think once they see you are here and you are serious, the audiences respond. The news audience and the business audience.”

Cavuto likened his experience at FBN to to his earlier efforts at CNBC and Fox News.

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Tom Brokaw Rushed to Charlotte Hospital

NBC News special correspondent Tom Brokaw was taken by ambulance to a Charlotte hospital this morning after an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Brokaw, 72, who stepped down as anchor of “Nightly News” after the 2004 election, has been working a break-neck pace the last two weeks first at the RNC and this week at the DNC. Brokaw has been up early, appearing on “Morning Joe,” then reporting throughout the day and into the night. Last night, he appeared on Sean Hannity‘s Fox News show.

An MSNBC spokesperson tells TVNewser, “On the set of ‘Morning Joe’ this morning, Tom Brokaw felt light-headed. Out of an abundance of caution, he was taken to a hospital and is being evaluated.”

A gifted storyteller, and best-selling author, during his 7am appearance, Brokaw relayed a story involving former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin:

“There was a party at the top of a hotel yesterday,” said Brokaw. “A very sleek, modern hotel, and the glass is not exactly clear in terms of where you step next. So Bob Rubin, former Secretary of the Treasury, stepped confidently into the party room and deeply into the pool.”

> Update: At 10amET, Brokaw tweeted:


> Update: 12:30pm: Brokaw discharged from hospital. From NBC News president Steve Capus: “After medical evaluation and a round of tests, Tom was pronounced in great health and has been discharged. We’re immensely grateful to the team at Carolinas Medical Center for their excellent care and professionalism.”

Balancing Work, Family, the President And the DNC All Part of The Job For FNC’s Ed Henry

To say Fox News Channel’s Ed Henry has been busy these past few months is something of an understatement. While it is hardly unusual for TV reporters to find themselves on the road for weeks or months at a time, it is an especially tough proposition when you have young children at home.

Before the election got into full swing, Henry took his kids to a Pancake House near their home in Maryland.

“I just said to them, look I am going to be away for the next couple of months. And my son said to me–he’s 11–’Oh, the election,’ and I said yeah, but there’s an expiration date,” Henry recalled. “It is a sprint, not a marathon, and at the end of the rainbow I will get to see my family again.”

I consider myself lucky, my colleague Carl Cameron covering the Republican side, those primaries went on and on,” he added.

We are standing on the floor of the Time Warner Cable Arena. Right now it is a mix of journalists testing out equipment and looking for people to speak to, with a handful of politicians wandering about. In a few hours it will be full of delegates, waiting to hear former President Clinton, among other speakers.

Above us, in what were once the luxury boxes, are the network sets and studios, including Fox News and Henry’s former home, CNN. Henry jumped from CNN to Fox in June of 2011, surprising many in the TV business. He told me he has no regrets.

“It is my first convention with Fox, and I am excited, the move has been great,” Henry says. “I feel like I have so much freedom here, it is exciting and the numbers don’t lie. We are no longer competing with other cable networks, we are competing with big three and beating them.”

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Brokaw on ‘Hannity:’ ‘If you want to be a good news consumer, you’ve got to get aggressive’

Tom Brokaw crossed the media aisle tonight and appeared on Sean Hannity‘s show on Fox News. The two discussed politics and the media. Hannity asked Brokaw if he believes journalism has changed for better or worse with the increase of  more media outlets.

“I actually think it’s for the better,” Brokaw said. “You can no longer be a couch potato. If you want to be a good news consumer, you’ve got to get aggressive … and find what works for you.”

Watch here

Brokaw was also on ABC tonight, sort of. As Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos anchored coverage, a video in the big screen behind them flashed images from the 1992 campaign, and included shots of Brokaw and Dan Rather.

Cable Ranker: During RNC, Fox News is Top Cable Network; Has #2 Show on all of TV

Coverage from the Republican National Convention made Fox News the #1 cable network last week. FNC also had the #1 cable news telecast, Thursday’s 10pmET hour which drew 9.06 million viewers. That broadcast ranks as the #2 show on all of TV last week, behind Tuesday’s edition of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” which drew 9.9 million viewers. This was Fox News’s most-watched week in nearly four years, since Sept. 29, 2008, which saw the Sarah Palin-Joe Biden VP debate.

Read on for the cable network ranker and also the combined broadcast and cable rankings which shows all three of Fox News’s 10pm RNC broadcasts made the Top 10…

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Phil Griffin on MSNBC’s DNC Win: ‘Probably the Best Day in our 16 Year History’

After much of the day spent inside Time Warner Cable Arena (interviews with FNC’s Ed Henry, FBN’s Neil Cavuto, and CNN’s Piers Morgan to come) we stopped into the NBC News/MSNBC workspace where we talked with MSNBC president Phil Griffin about his network’s first ever head-to-head primetime win.

“This is a big day for MSNBC, probably the best day in our 16 year history,” Griffin tells TVNewser. “It is not just that people are tuning into us, but they are tuning in because they believe they are getting something they can’t get anywhere else, and that is really powerful.”

We also caught up with NBC News president Steve Capus, a top producer in the early days of MSNBC. “I think it is a sign that NBC has easily the best political team going, and we are fortunate to have the NBC network and MSNBC as two very strong platforms for them to showcase their work, that is what this shows,” says Capus. “We have easily the best teams here.”

The DNC Ticker: Halftime, Watters, Gregory

  • Brian Williams will anchor a DNC update during halftime of NBC’s broadcast of the first NFL game of the season tonight. Williams interviewed former president Bill Clinton, and because of the game, NBC will not be airing Clinton’s DNC speech.

  • FNC’s Jesse Watters was spotted outside the CNN Grill in Charlotte this afternoon interviewing passersby and waiting for delegates, and others, to emerge.

  • NBC’s “Meet the Press” is looking beyond the DNC and has booked GOP nominee Mitt Romney for Sunday’s show. It’s an exclusive.