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2012 Conventions

MSNBC Wins Night One from the DNC

MSNBC was the #1 cable news channel last night in primetime. We’re checking records, but it may be the first time in the network’s 16 years of existence it has ever won a night.* With coverage from the first night of the DNC, MSNBC averaged 3.298 million total viewers and 1.067 million demo viewers, ahead of CNN (3.003M / 1.002M) and Fox News (2.515M / 554K).

Compared to night one of the 2008 DNC, MSNBC was up +53% in total viewers in primetime while CNN was down -23% and Fox News was down -17%

In the 10pm hour, NBC led the way followed by MSNBC, which drew a combined 9.1 million viewers. MSNBC was the only network to grow vs. 2008, with NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN and FNC down.

  • 10pm, Sept. 4, 2012. Night one of the DNC:

NBC: 5,021,551 viewers (1,929,345 in A25-54)
MSNBC: 4,106,622 viewers (1,431,929 in A25-54)
CNN: 3,887,789 viewers (1,367,998 in A25-54)
ABC: 3,236,553 viewers (1,142,927 in A25-54)
CBS: 3,268,520 viewers (1,056,844 in A25-54)
FNC: 2,397,710 viewers (550,149 in 25-54)

22 million watched the 10pm hour on the commercial broadcast and cable networks last night. In comparison, night one of the RNC a week ago was watched by 20.5 million, mostly on Fox News Channel, which averaged 5.15 million viewers in primetime.

  • 10pm, Aug. 28, 2012. Night one of the RNC:

FNC: 6,878,804 viewers (1,679,763 in 25-54)
NBC: 4,770,050 viewers (1,725,282 in 25-54)
CBS: 3,118,927 viewers (938,237 in 25-54)
ABC: 2,862,656 viewers (920,346 in 25-54)
CNN: 1,473,885 viewers (413,467 in 25-54
MSNBC: 1,468,348 viewers (411,738 in 25-54)

On night one of the 2008 DNC, CNN drew the most viewers on cable news, and also beat ABC and CBS in the 10pm hour. In 2008, the cable networks saw triple digit viewer growth and double digit A25-54 growth from night one of the 2004 DNC.

* MSNBC last won primetime Sept. 7, 2011 when the network aired a GOP primary debate from the Reagan Library. This is the first political convention night and first head-to-head programming win for the network since it launched in July, 1995.

50 Years of ‘Evening News’ Now with Scott Pelley at the Helm

It is 6:25 PM, and Scott Pelley is calmly reading notes, as he fiddles with his glasses in his right hand. Next to the “CBS Evening News” anchor, his colleague and “Face the Nation” moderator Bob Schieffer waits for the program to begin. We are in what was once a skybox in the Time Warner Cable Arena. As usual with the political conventions, they have been transformed into television studios and production offices, with the small space filled with people and equipment.

The lead story on this evening’s newscast was an excerpt from Pelley’s interview with the Navy SEAL who wrote the tell-all book about the Osama bin Laden raid. The Pentagon announced that he revealed classified information, and threatened to take action just hours earlier.

It was a huge get for Pelley, and for “60 Minutes,” which has had more than its fair share of huge gets.

“We had been working on it for six weeks, maybe two months,” Pelley told me after the program. His name already changed for the “60″ story, one of his other concerns was his appearance, which had to be disguised. The traditional methods weren’t enough.

“He was scared for his safety,” Pelley said. “We told him we wouldn’t turn on the cameras until he was satisfied with his appearance.”

The end result, Pelley said, was “amazing.”

Read more

Late Night, Early Morning for Charlie Rose

It’s day two of the DNC, and Charlie Rose is burning the candle at both ends, anchoring in both the morning and evening for two different networks. Rose co-anchored Bloomberg TV’s coverage of the speeches last night with Trish Regan

…and was back behind the anchor desk bright and early today for “CBS This Morning.” Read more

A Kennedy Spits up on Andrea Mitchell

On MSNBC tonight, Andrea Mitchell got a little too close to the newest member of the Kennedy clan. Just as Chris Matthews tossed to Mitchell, on the floor of the DNC for an interview with the sons of Edward Kennedy, young Owen Kennedy spit up, grazing Mitchell’s right hand. “I’m here with Teddy and Patrick and Owen. The youngest, four months old. And he’s been wonderful up until now,” joked Mitchell.

The DNC Ticker: Sawyer, Williams, Muir

  • ABC’s Diane Sawyer talks with San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro for tonight’s “World News.” Castro is the DNC’s keynote speaker tonight.

  • NBC’s Brian Williams interviews former President Bill Clinton for Wednesday’s “Nightly News,” a few hours before Clinton’s keynote address to the DNC.

  • Also Wednesday, ABC’s David Muir speaks with Caroline Kennedy for “World News.” Kennedy addresses the DNC Thursday evening.

A Day in the Life of George Stephanopoulos

ABC’s George Stephanopoulos is off to Charlotte for the DNC this week with good preparation under his belt: last week’s busy RNC coverage in Tampa. ABC details a day in the life of the “Good Morning America” anchor, shot by Kate McCarthy and edited by Matt Knox, during last week’s convention:

Chris Matthews at the DNC Rain or Shine … But Mostly Rain

“There is no way they did this in Tampa,” the 20-something man quipped to me in the courtyard of The EpiCentre.

It is 4 o’ clock or so, and MSNBC’s Chris Matthews has just taken the stage/set that MSNBC erected in the shopping center. The crowd, around 150 strong, starts erupting into wild cheers, save for one older gentleman towards the back of the throng, who was booing very loudly.

Matthews was just taping a brief live-shot, but the crowd was excited. Even as it started to rain (and it really started to rain, watch the video below) a few dozen people stayed in their spots right behind the anchor desk, simply putting up their umbrellas, while the crew covered the equipment with tarps and closed off the set with plastic.

Finally, at 4:50, the main event began. Matthews again emerged from MSNBC’s workspace and walked to the set, and again there were cheers. Also getting loud cheers when they appeared on stage: Jesse Jackson, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx and NBC’s Chuck Todd. Yes, this was clearly a wonky crowd.

As “Hardball” continued through the 5 PM hour, the crowd outside seemed to keep growing, swelling to about 400 on the three levels of the EpiCentre that overlook the stage. “Who is that?” one woman asked her friend as they walked by. “Oh, I think it’s Chris O’Donnell,” said her friend, who meant to say Lawrence O’Donnell.

Towards the end of the hour, some of Bloomberg TV folks decided to have a little fun. As rain again

Read more

Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert Tops in Younger Demo During RNC

While Fox News Channel cleaned up in Total Viewers as well as the Adults 25-54 and 18-49 demos during the RNC, the Comedy Central combo of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report” were #1 in the even younger Adults 18-34 demo, beating FNC, MSNBC and CNN in the 11pm hour. Stewart and Colbert also topped MSNBC and CNN in the A18-49 demo.

Expect more of the same as Stewart originates from Charlotte tonight for coverage he’s calling “DNC 2012: Hope and Change 2.”

Need a Lift at the DNC? Call on Fox News

As they did in Tampa for the RNC, Fox News has decked out a fleet of SUVs for use by delegates and attendees of the DNC.

I noticed the SUVs parked in downtown Charlotte, and the drivers asking people if they wanted rides. Fox News tells us they have 10 cars offering free rides. All of the vehicles are fully marked with Fox News hosts and shows: two for Bill O’Reilly, and one each for hosts Sean Hannity, Neil Cavuto, Greta Van Susteren, and Shepard Smith; also one with the “Fox & Friends” hosts, one for “The Five,” one for  Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum and, the one you see here emblazoned with primetime hosts Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly.

The cars will shuttle attendees to hotels, bars and restaurants in Charlotte through Thursday evening.

Obama For America Press Secretary: ‘Some networks have a different business model’

At the Bloomberg Link Monday, a panel of journalists convened to talk about politics and media in the 21st century. During the Q&A portion, a guest asked the panel if the trend of ideological cable news programming was harmful to the public discourse in this country. Opinions were divided.

“You look at those television ratings last week, Fox was off the charts, MSNBC did ok, and there was CNN, which tries to play it straight, and sometimes does so succesfully, but other times is down in the dumps,” said Al Hunt, Bloomberg News Washington editor. “That is what cable news is all about.”

“I guess it is just an extension of this other idea: people go where their ideas are going to be reinforced,” said Washington Post executive editor Marcus Brauchli. “I dont think it is going to change, in some ways it favors those of us who stick to the facts, because a substantial portion of the electorate just wants to know what’s true, and hopefully they will come to us.”

Then there was Ben LaBolt, the national press secretary for Obama for America, President Obama’s re-election campaign.

“I think there are news shows, and other shows,” LaBolt said. “And most networks try to contain that, some networks have a different business model, but you know who you are dealing with, and it is straightforward going in.”