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Archives: April 2005

CNNer Complains About Judy-Bashing

“Today’s news of the departure of Judy Woodruff is a real loss for CNN. She’s one of the few legitimate journalists that we have,” an insider e-mails. “What amazes me is how both the left and the right are taking pleasure at her departure. What a bunch of f***ing idiots, on both sides! For example, this from members of the conservative Free Republic site:”

“The darling of the left! — back to NPR?”

“And this from members of the liberal Democratic Underground site:”

“She was one of the WORST of the pro-Bush shills. I’ll be glad to see her gone.”

“Ok, excuse me, but what the hell is wrong with these people? Both sides can’t be right. Which is she — a pro Bush shill or a liberal Democratic mouthpiece? Perhaps the reason she’s being called both is because she’s actually (overall) a fair, unbiased reporter.”

White House “Tried To Be Accommodating” For The TV Networks

pressconf1.jpgNBC, ABC, CBS, FNC, CNN, MSNBC and CNBC are broadcasting President Bush’s “press conference” live now. Send your comments about the coverage via the tip box.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that three of the four largest broadcast networks were planning not to cover the press conference until the White House shifted the start time to 8pm. pressconf2.jpg“The White House tried to be accommodating when it realized it had left the networks in a bind on the first night of the May ‘sweeps,’ when ratings are closely watched to set local advertising rates, said White House press secretary Scott McClellan. “I think this worked out for everyone involved,” he said.”

> Michelle Greppi notes that “the White House had given less than a day’s notice that it wanted the primest of prime-time clearance.”

> Update: 9:04pm: Variety’s headline: “Nets take ratings bullet for president.” The lead: “Peer pressure caused the major networks to cave in and carry President Bush’s hastily scheduled news conference Thursday night.”

What’s The Future Of Inside Politics? CNN’s Jon Klein Is “Weighing Many Outstanding Options For Recalibrating” Political


Judy Woodruff anchored Inside Politics today. But will CNN’s flagship political show survive her exit from the network?

“CNN remains firmly committed to remaining the best source of intelligent, unbiased, insightful information about politics,” chief Jon Klein said in an e-mailer to TVNewser this afternoon. “Judy’s departure, which I regret, marks the end of a brilliant career, but far from the end of CNN’s devotion to covering the political landscape, which is more dynamic today than it has ever been in my lifetime and yours.”

Klein told the AP that he is re-examining the network’s political coverage, and that IP may not remain on the schedule. So I asked him: “Have you committed to doing an hour of political news daily in some form?” He responded:

“As you know, we’re weighing many outstanding options for recalibrating our political coverage to have you committed reflect the new realities. We will definitely remain THE place to watch in the afternoon for the latest political info and insights.”

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: CBS Reverses Plan To Air ‘Survivor’ During Prez. Press Conference

> UPDATE: 5:54pm: This post has been rewritten.

The CBS television network WILL broadcast President Bush’s primetime press conference tonight, the network said this evening, hours after releasing a statement to the contrary. Bob Schieffer will anchor the coverage. CBS had planned to go forward with a new episode of ‘Survivor’ at 8pm; the reality show will now air at 9pm.

Earlier in the afternoon, CBS said it would air the event live on the “CBS Digital Television Network,” as well as the CBS Radio News network and “Devoting all three platforms to the press conference will assure widespread access to viewers, listeners or Internet users seeking CBS News coverage of the event,” a network statement said.

Google the term “CBS Digital Television Network,” and you get ZERO results. “It’s essentially the HD version of CBS,” CBS spokesperson Dana McClintock explained. “For example, if you have HDTV through your cable operator here in NY like I do, you’ll see Survivor and CSI on Channel 2, but the President on channel 163 or whatever your CBS HD channel is. The same is true throughout the country.”

> Update: 6:06pm: “You have to wonder what the White House said to CBS,” an e-mailer remarks…

Prez Press Conference: Plans

> On NBC, Brian Williams will anchor coverage on NBC from 8 to 9pm.

> On ABC, Elizabeth Vargas will anchor. She will be joined by George Stephanopoulos and business correspondent Betsy Stark.

> Fox broadcast network: Fox News will provide a Level 2 cut-in, which gives affiliates the option of broadcasting the event. The coverage will be anchored by Shepard Smith.

> On FNC, the O’Reilly Factor will be pre-empted for live coverage. H&C and Greta will air as usual, and the event will reair at 11pm.

> CNN’s coverage will be anchored by Paula Zahn and Wolf Blitzer. It will begin at 7:30pm. Larry King will take over at 9pm. At 11pm, CNN will air “highlights” from the press conference.

> Update: 5:30pm: CNBC is airing a special report from 8 to 9pm. Anchor Ron Insana will be joined by Larry Kudlow, Steve Liesman, Melissa Francis and Rob Reynolds.

> MSNBC will begin its coverage at 7pm with a Hardball “special report.” After the press conference, Chris Matthews will wrap-up until 10pm.

> “The conference has created a conundrum for the broadcast networks. Tonight is the first night of May sweeps, after all, and it’s a Thursday, a top-dollar ad night for the networks,” Media Life Mag says.

> “The White House asked television networks to broadcast the news conference, scheduled for 8 p.m. ET in the East Room of the White House,” the AP reports. The press conference WAS scheduled for 8:30pm, but was moved up to 8pm, possibly for the TV networks.

Wednesday Ratings: Raw Numbers

For all the talk about CNN’s ratings successes, Wednesday’s numbers show FNC’s clear dominance:

Total day, total viewers: FNC: 845,000 / CNN: 372,000 / MSNBC: 175,000

Total day, 25-54: FNC: 291,000 / CNN: 93,000 / MSNBC: 52,000

Primetime, total viewers: FNC: 1,851,000 / CNN: 780,000 / MSNBC: 307,000

Primetime, 25-54: FNC: 481,000 / CNN: 172,000 / MSNBC: 90,000

“I Can’t Say Yet Where I’ll Be,” Judy Woodruff Tells IP Viewers

FishBowlDC quotes Judy Woodruff’s closing on today’s Inside Politics: “I can’t say yet where I will be, but I will stay in journalism to do long-form projects, and I will teach, and I will do some speaking, and some writing,” she told viewers. Garrett has the rest…

Woodruff Leaving: Notes & Quotes

> Woodruff is leaving the network in June, when her current contract expires, according to the AP.

> In April, IP averaged 512,000 viewers, and 140,000 in the 25-54 demo.

> Woodruff has appeared on IP only sporadically in the last two weeks. She anchored from Atlanta on Tuesday.

> The rumors about Woodruff leaving have been swirling for months. (In fact, several people predicted she’d leave this year, when I asked for TV News predictions back in January.)

> Matthew Sheffield: “Instant reactions from Free Republic and Democratic Underground seem to indicate that both sides of the spectrum didn’t have much use for her show.”

CNN Offered Woodruff A New Contract…

“This gives me the opportunity to sit back, take a deep breath and think about what I want to do,” Judy Woodruff tells the Associated Press. “I do want to stay in journalism. I’m not leaving journalism. I’m just leaving daily journalism.” David Bauder says that “CNN offered Woodruff a new contract, but she had decided to leave before those discussions began.”

After Thirty Years Of “Daily Journalism,” Judy Woodruff Is Leaving CNN

judywoodruffnew.jpgThis message was just sent on CNN’s internal messaging system: “To my colleagues and friends at CNN: I’ve decided to leave daily journalism after 30 years, 12 of them at this network. I’ve had challenging and exciting opportunities, been supported by an amazing and talented group of people, and made lifelong friends. I wish them the very best. I’m discussing several long-form projects in television. I’ll also teach, do some writing and be an occasional consultant and contributor to CNN. To all of you at CNN who have been so wonderful to me, I can’t begin to thank you adequately. But thank you. We will stay in touch and we’ll always have memories of good journalism, good times and a few laughs together.”