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Archives: June 2005

Stanley On ‘Situation:’ “All Cross & No Fire”

“The Situation with Tucker Carlson,” starring the former Crossfire host, “is all cross and no fire,” Alessandra Stanley writes in one of her most scathing reviews since her “gratuitously nasty” NYT column about Katie Couric in April. She calls MSNBC the “River Styx of television talk shows” and says “washouts often get a second chance” on MS and CNBC. She says the discussion on The Situation is “as hurried and abrupt as an auction at an agricultural fair.” And she concludes that “MSNBC should follow Crossfire’s lead and end the misery. The Situation is too light a cross to bear, and now its time to fire.”

MSNBC’s Countdown: “Takes Its Information Seriously, But Not Itself”

TV Guide has named MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann one of their “Best Bets For Summer.” In the July 3 issue, they say: “The Best Way To Keep News From Getting You Down: Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Not as glib as The Daily Show but hipper than the evening news, MSNBC’s daily news hour manages to do the impossible: Take its information seriously, but not itself. What other news show would dare mix hard-hitting investigative stories about presidential voting irregularities with features like a stick-puppet reenactment of the Michael Jackson trial?”

People Tune Out The President

The AP says President Bush’s Tuesday night speech attracted 17.9 million viewers, according to the preliminary figures from Nielsen. “By comparison, an April 13, 2004, news conference which started with a Bush statement about the war, drew 41 million viewers to eight networks. The president’s April 28 news conference, which also was carried on eight networks and focused on Social Security and energy legislation, drew 32.7 million viewers.”

Positive Reviews For David Faber’s “eBay Effect,” Tonight On CNBC

ebayjune292.jpgDavid Faber‘s latest CNBC documentary, “The eBay Effect,” premieres tonight at 8pm. It has received generally good reviews:

> Hollywood Reporter: “Although he reaches no conclusions, Faber offers a generally balanced and well-organized look at eBay from inside and out.”

> Kansas City Star: “This shockingly balanced, unworshipful treatment of one of the Internet’s biggest success stories is the latest in what I hope is a long line of business profiles by CNBC correspondent David Faber.”

> Toledo Blade: “…If just a fraction of the people who use the Web site tune in, it could turn out to be a ratings giant.”

> South Florida Sun-Sentinel: “The special…is a positive portrayal but not a puff piece.”

> Newsday: “Much like the sprawling online marketplace on which it reports, CNBC’s The eBay Effect jumps all over the map. This makes it fascinating, surprising, even enlightening. But it’s also inconsistent enough to drive you to distraction.”

You can find more reviews via Google News…

“But Gosh, ABC Had George Lopez:” A Friendly Letter From The Folks At NBC News

Yesterday, ABC’s Note included a “Dear Mr. President,” complete with a three paragraph description of “Average Joe: The Joes Strike Back.” You see, NBC was planning to air its regular primetime schedule, so the Note said: “At this writing, as far as we know, here’s what is on NBC instead of you.”

Of course, NBC decided to air the President’s speech after all, and it aired a post-game show until 9pm, while ABC returned to sitcoms. So, with that said, this is the letter that’s floating around NBC News today:

 Dear Mr. President:


Just wanted to correct any misimpression you may have gotten from that cute letter you received yesterday from our friends at ABC’s THE NOTE … you know, the one that tweaked us here at NBC for allegedly deciding to run “Average Joe” while ABC carried your speech at Fort Bragg?

I’m sure the folks at THE NOTE are even now writing a follow-up letter apologizing for their mistake, and explaining ABC’s peculiar decision to skip in-depth analysis of your speech so that they could get to their own breathlessly anticipated re-run of GEORGE LOPEZ. (“George takes a stroll down Memory Pain when Benny demands cash for a box of George’s childhood memorabilia. George gets to the bottom of some painful moments and truths from his boyhood.”)

While Charlie Gibson was going off the air and ABC viewers were settling in to explore George’s boyhood (George Lopez, not you), NBC viewers watched Brian Williams lead full coverage of the speech including analysis from Tim Russert, live reaction from House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, live reaction from the front lines in Iraq, discussion between Senator Joe Biden and Senator John Warner, and actual breaking news from Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski (reporting on the chopper crash in Afghanistan), White House correspondent Kelly O’Donnell (reporting on the response among Army personnel in the room) and Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell (reporting on the administration’s planned reaction to the Silbermann/Robb commission). If you wanted to see how real Americans reacted, you could watch MSNBC, where Chris Matthews led a fascinating town hall meeting from Nashville, Tennessee with hundreds of people who watched your speech. And of course, you could get our coverage in your limo on NBC Radio, NBC Mobile and MSNBC.COM.

But gosh, ABC had George Lopez.


The Folks At NBC News

(I added the bold — but it’s bold enough on its own!)

Tuesday Ratings: For The Primetime Prez

I can’t post the usual hourly ratings because all the cablers adjusted their schedules to cover the President’s speech. So here’s a breakdown by network of their primetime ratings:

> FNC: Number one, it goes without saying. The pre-show coverage from 7:55 to 8:02pm attracted 2,293,000 viewers; the speech itself averaged 3,410,000; and the Brit Hume post-game show delivered 3,266,000. At 9pm, Hannity & Colmes held onto 2,332,000 viewers; and Greta stayed strong at 10pm with 2,507,000. The 11pm speech replay delivered 1,162,000.

> CNN: Anderson Cooper averaged 547,000 viewers; the speech coverage, from 8 to 8:43pm, averaged 917,000; a few more viewers tuned in for the last quarter-hour, with 988,000 between 8:43 and 9pm. Larry King delivered 1,090,000, and NewsNight averaged 885,000. The 11pm speech replay averaged 539,000.

> MSNBC: The Hardball Church Tour averaged 267,000 viewers. The speech itself, from 8:02 to 8:30pm, delivered 316,000. More viewers tuned in for the post-game show: Chris Matthews attracted 384,000 viewers between 8:30 and 9pm. (For some strange Nielsen reason, that time period also includes two minutes at the top of the 8pm hour.) The 9pm Hardball held onto 258,000, and Scarborough Country had 312,000. The 11pm reair did 291,000.

> HLN: Nancy Grace ignored the President and delivered a big 722,000 in the 8pm hour. (She had 407,000 during the 10pm replay.)

> Also: Drudge says CBS delivered 5.8 million viewers during Bush’s speech, while NBC had 5.3 and ABC had 5.0…

Tuesday Ratings: Total Day & Prime

Here are some Tuesday averages:

Total viewers:

Total day: FNC: 1,124,000 / CNN: 428,000 / HLN: 204,000 / MSNBC: 182,000 / CNBC: 152,000

Primetime: FNC: 2,718,000 / CNN: 971,000 / HLN: 482,000 / MSNBC: 307,000 / CNBC: 121,000

25-54 demographic:

Total day: FNC: 379,000 / CNN: 133,000 / HLN: 88,000 / MSNBC: 99,000 / CNBC: 49,000

Primetime: FNC: 762,000 / CNN: 288,000 / HLN: 209,000 / MSNBC: 141,000 / CNBC: 70,000

If Untrained Workers Sprayed Insecticide At FNC, This Attorney Wants To Know

If you’re a Fox News Channel employee who has witnessed the misapplication of pesticides, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation wants to hear from you.

“I would like to suggest that any FNC employees who have witnessed the spraying of insecticides in the FNC facilities and would like to make a confidential statement should call…the New York State Department Of Environmental Conservation,” a tipster told TVNewser last week, after Roger Ailes addressed concerns about the spraying of diazinon last March. A Fox News lawyer said there was one episode of spraying by an unlicensed employee, and that it has “all been cleared up.”

But apparently some employees believe the spraying of diazinon by untrained maintainence people was more than a one-time event.

Concerned employees can file a complaint with Lou Oliva, a regional attorney for NYSDEC, by calling 718-482-4961. When I called Oliva a few days ago, he was aware of the Fox case. “We’ve had one or two complaints…but we haven’t gotten anybody who has actually seen someone misapply the pesticide,” he said.

“We’ve met with Fox already,” Oliva continued, and the network reaffirmed that said it was a one-time incident. “The kind of rumors we hear from other people is that it’s an ongoing thing. But we need the people that have seen it to talk to us.”

NYSDEC’s policy “is that any information including your identity will be held in the strictest confidence of course,” the tipster said…

> Wednesday, June 22: “The Insecticide At Fox News”

> Friday, June 17: “Following Employee’s Hospitalization And Insecticide Complaints, OSHA Investigates Fox News”

MS And NBC: Split In 3 To 6 Months?

Marc Glaser has an excellent interview with general manager Charlie Tillinghast on OJR. One of the most interesting bits comes before the Q&A:

A “source with inside knowledge” tells Glaser “the TV joint venture is likely to end in the next three to six months, but the complicated 99-year deal between Microsoft and NBC is quite expensive to break up.”

Here’s what the source said: “Both [TV channel] partners are motivated to change the relationship and will do so soon. The deal is pretty much impossible to get out of or modify without the consent of both parties. If that weren’t the case, it would have cratered long ago.” (Via Lost Remote)

We’re Doing Investigative Reporting, But We’re Not The Investigators –Greta

Greta has an interesting conclusion to her latest blog from Aruba: “Finally, while we are here doing investigative reporting, we are not fooling ourselves and thinking we are the investigators. The police are the appropriate investigators and we are careful not to get in their way. We are simply ‘hitting the pavement’ every day and asking questions — we are not suffering from delusions of grandeur that we will solve this disappearance. We are only seeking to bring you information and learn as much as we can about it.”