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Archives: February 2005

FNC’s Baier Breaks bin Laden News

Fox News correspondent Bret Baier was the first to break the news about the new message between bin Laden and Zarqawi. It happened just after 3:30pm on Studio B — almost an hour before CNN and MSNBC. An e-mailer notes that CNN’s new America Bureau seems to have been scooped in its first week…

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Ratings: Friday 8pm Demo #’s

Has Nancy Grace’s premiere bounce subsided? Check out these Friday ratings in the 25-54 demographic:

8pm, 25-54 demo: O’Reilly: 588,000 / Zahn: 235,000 / CNBC Apprentice: 146,000 / Countdown: 99,000 / Grace: 89,000

Wherever she averages out, though, it’ll probably be an improvement for HLN. THR notes that, through last Thursday, Grace averaged a 0.3 cable rating and 362,000 viewers — “up 50% compared with what ‘Headline News’ was doing the week before.”

BTK: CNN’s Affiliation Pays Off

This Wichita Eagle story sums up cable news coverage of the BTK killer arrest over the weekend. “Fox News Channel and and MSNBC were left in the dark,” an e-mailer noted, because CNN has a tight relationship with the local affiliate KAKE — the station that communicated with the serial killer. CNN dipped into local coverage at some points, and on Sunday their lead anchor came on CNN to share some exclusive tidbits, half an hour before he told local viewers on his evening newscast. CNN was also the first to broadcast a picture of the suspect, the story notes…

> Today’s “Fox Fan Speak Out!” question: “…Tell us what you think – If the BTK had been your neighbor, would you have known? E-mail us at”

Ratings Race: “Certainly Is Not Balanced”

The New York Times takes stock of the “Fox factor,” and says Jonathan Klein’s efforts to close the ratings gap between CNN and FNC have not succeeded yet. “Anderson Cooper 360 failed to make any significant gains on The Fox Report with Shepard Smith, while Paula Zahn Now, competing with The O’Reilly Factor on one side and Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC, lost 22 percent of its viewers. Even Larry King’s program lost 25 percent of its viewers. The ratings race may be fair, but it certainly is not balanced.” Here’s the graphic…

Biz News Icon Myron Kandel Retiring

“Financial news icon Myron Kandel is retiring from CNN after 25 years,” the NY Daily News scoops. He will deliver his last report March 11, but will stay at the network as a consultant. Kandel, who had a distinguished career in print before joining CNN in 1980, launched “Moneyline” and hired Lou Dobbs. More…

Evening News: NBC Can “Lay Legitimate Claim” To First Place

The New York Times says it’s time for Brian Williams to “lay legitimate claim to an early lead in the only race that really counts: the ratings.” Williams has “drawn more viewers than Mr. Jennings during each week since he succeeded Mr. Brokaw, at least through Feb. 18.” But, the Times notes, several statistical trends suggest that the race has tightened. “The success we’ve had in the first couple of months has been very pleasing for us,” WNT EP Jon Banner says…

Liz Marlantes Joins ABC News

“Liz Marlantes will join ABC News as a general assignment correspondent based in the network’s Washington, D.C. bureau,” the network announced today. She was formerly a national political reporter for the Christian Science Monitor. She’s had plenty of experience as a TV commentator…

Nancy Grace: CNN Diva?

In Broadcasting & Cable, John Higgins dishes about Nancy Grace: “Just one week into the prime time show (which got off with a rocky start with a glitch-filled premiere), Grace has already had her make-up person reassigned, and laced into a production staffer so mercilessly that he quit the show. In a departure for the traditionally low-glitz CNN, Grace has commanded a room of her own for makeup. But it’s not as if she wants privacy; the host calls her staff in for meetings while she’s being spruced up.”

Targeting Journalists In Iraq

In a TV Week guest commentary, Danny Schechter says “a number of journalists covering Iraq — not just [Eason] Jordan — continue to believe journalists were targeted.” “Mr. Jordan’s remarks about the targeting and killing of journalists were not invented out of whole cloth,” Schechter explains…

Is The Media ODing On Entertainment News?

CNN’s Reliable Sources analyzed media coverage of entertainment “news” on Sunday morning:

 KURTZ: Let me just turn to Sharon Waxman now. We have all of these award shows these days — the Golden Globes, the Grammys, MTVs and many others, and as Jake alluded to, we have all of these program — “Entertainment Tonight,” “Access Hollywood,” “Extra,” now HEADLINE NEWS has “SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.” Could we all be OD-ing on this stuff and that kind of dilutes the value of it, because it’s just everywhere?

WAXMAN: I mean, I think that that’s exactly what we’re starting to see. So you’re talking about the hype of the media, which is going to be lagging behind a little bit. If there is a point that we’re reaching now that is what is maybe awards overload or awards fatigue. And I think that the Academy is feeling it. The Golden Globe are feeling it. Even the Grammys this year, their ratings really dropped — dropped by big numbers. The Golden Globes dropped by nearly 40 percent this year. And we’re talking about the same movies.

So I wanted to make the distinction between what you’re talking about between celebrity versus the movies. What Jake is talking about is this obsession and this constant public hunger for celebrity, for news about celebrities, and this year the Academy Awards don’t have as many celebrities at them as they’ve had in years past. You’ve got stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, you got stars like Annette Bening, but there aren’t any really great big movies that have really captured the mainstream, blockbuster audience, and this is a concern.”

God forbid we have a lack of celebrities to cover. Here’s the transcript…