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Archives: October 2005

Memogate: Mary Mapes Believes CBS Was More Interested In Protecting Itself Than Finding Out The Truth

The AP: Mary Mapes “believes that CBS was more interested in protecting itself than finding out the truth behind her story.”

Vanity Fair published an excerpt from her upcoming book today. In it, Mapes says that “no one was happier” than executives at CBS owner Viacom to receive an independent panel’s condemnation of her and three colleagues for their role in Memogate.

“Mapes contended that CBS and Viacom, which actively lobby in Washington on media ownership and decency standards, did not want an angry Bush administration making vindictive decisions that would cost them money.

The panel’s examination of the report “read more like a prosecutorial brief than an independent investigation,” Mapes writes. “Now [Viacom executives] could present themselves to the Bush administration as victims of irresponsible, out-of-control journalists, not as an operation that was actually doing some tough reporting.” A Viacom spokesperson disagrees, of course. Here’s the rest of the must-read…

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The Ticker: Roberts, XM, Newton…

> I’m a bit confused about the drama surrounding CBS News correspondent John Roberts‘ “sloppy seconds” comment this morning. He apologized this afternoon

> An e-mailer asks: “I’ve noticed that MSNBC disappeared from my XM channel lineup this weekend — any clue as to what this might be about?”

> Press release:Paula Newton, a veteran journalist from Canadian broadcaster CTV, has been appointed an international correspondent based in CNN’s London production center.”

> WHAC says Andrews McMeel Publishing is publishing “Hurricane Katrina CNN Reports: State of Emergency” tomorrow…

Behind The Scenes of FNC’s P.R. Dept.

In many one-on-one conversations, I’ve argued that FNC’s public relations operation deserves a significant share of the credit for the network’s success. Now PR Week agrees:

“For sure, the network’s PR department has played an integral role in its climb to the top,” the trade mag says in this week’s issue. It notes how Roger Ailes‘ experience in PR has played a role.

“It’s so important to have someone who has been in our shoes, knowing how difficult our job is, and how important it is to the overall corporate strategy,” senior VP of corporate communications Brian Lewis says. “He is a PR person’s dream because of the value he places on media relations functions.”

Here’s the full feature…

The Scoreboard: Friday, Oct. 28

Total viewers:

Total day: FNC: 982,000 / CNN: 676,000 / MSNBC: 351,000 / HLN: 190,000 / CNBC: 188,000

Primetime: FNC: 1,826,000 / CNN: 965,000 / MSNBC: 409,000 / HLN: 351,000 / CNBC: 170,000

25-54 demographic:

Total day: FNC: 256,000 / CNN: 155,000 / MSNBC: 101,000 / HLN: 59,000 / CNBC: 64,000

Primetime: FNC: 366,000 / CNN: 305,000 / MSNBC: 146,000 / HLN: 105,000 / CNBC: 114,000

The hourlies:

6pm: Hume: 1,422,000 / Dobbs: 759,000 / Abrams: 345,000 / Mad Money: 275,000

7pm: Shep: 1,379,000 / Cooper: 675,000 / Hardball: 614,000 / Showbiz: 158,000 / On The Money: 110,000

8pm: O’Reilly: 2,503,000 / Zahn: 617,000 / Countdown: 412,000 / Grace: 558,000 / CNBC: 191,000

9pm: H&C: 1,507,000 / King: 1,319,000 / Rita: 410,000 / Prime News: 253,000 / Mad Money repeat: 81,000

10pm: Greta: 1,469,000 / NewsNight: 958,000 / Scarborough: 407,000 / Grace repeat: 242,000 / Deutsch: 242,000

11pm: O’Reilly repeat: 1,176,000 / CNN Presents: 834,000 / Situation: 295,000 / Showbiz: 162,000 / CNBC repeat: 200,000

(Via FTVLive)

Geraldo Scares Viewers On Halloween: “Terrifying Threat…Let Loose”

geraldooct315.jpg“Geraldo At Large” celebrated its Halloween premiere with “scaremongering,” an e-mailer says, “complete with scary foreboding music.”

Geraldo Rivera hosted from New Orleans. “We are here tracking a terrifying threat that is spreading, the awful impact of Hurricane Katrina from this battered town to others far from here and all across this country — convicted sex offenders, more than 2,000 of them let loose by the chaos and confusion of the hurricane. Where did they go? What are they doing? We have been working hard to find out.”

Also on the show, Laura Ingle traveled with the Dallas Police Department and Laurie Dhue hosted a segment entitled “The World At Large.”

> Update: 7:30pm: BCBeat liveblogged the premiere. I love the summary of the World At Large segment: “Halloween riots out of control; a “spectacular” fire spouting “massive” flames; a “dramatic” helicopter crash; and a “terrifying” roller coaster ride that stranded riders for 2 hour…”

Caption Contest: Halloween Edition

Superheroes Matt Lauer and Al Roker scale Rockefeller Center on Monday’s Today Show:


The image comes from Just Jared. Write a caption for this photo — e-mail it to or drop it in the tip box…

NBC To Post Complete ‘Nightly News’ Broadcast On Beginning Nov. 7

nbcoct31.jpgThe press release subhead says it all: “America’s No. 1 network evening newscast will now be available beginning at 10 pm ET/7 pm PT on America’s No. 1 news Web site.”

In a major step forward for online news, NBC Nightly News will be “broadcast as is, in its entirety and free of charge, online exclusively at,” beginning Nov. 7. The Netcast will go online at 10pm, after the evening newscast ends on the West Coast. It will be the same program that aired earlier on NBC, including breaking news updates. Past broadcasts will be archived on the site.

“This is the next logical step for ‘Nightly’ and NBC News,” Steve Capus says in the release. “As the leader on the broadcast side, and with our partnership in the leading online news and information site,, it couldn’t be a better fit. We know that just as fast as technology is changing, people’s lives are changing too, and they expect our newscasts to keep up with those changes. With this announcement we are doing just that.”

> Update: 7:33pm: “The free streaming CBS Evening News, anchored by Bob Schieffer and offered on, is significantly tweaked to avoid ruffling the feathers of CBS affiliates, who prefer not to see an exact duplicate of one of their network franchises on another platform,” TV Week notes…

What Is Aaron Brown’s Future At CNN?

I should clarify this morning’s post about NewsNight: The “most likely scenario” is just one option, and the primetime schedule could change in a number of ways.

“No decision is known by anyone, including Aaron, on what hour, if any, he will be anchoring, if and when he returns,” an insider says.

TV newsers inside and outside CNN have wondered for months whether Brown is on the way out, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he left the network by the end of the year.

Also, another tipster clarifies what Brown said to the staff after NewsNight on Friday: “He said he did not know what he would be doing when he got back” from vacation, “but he was somewhat sure that he would not be in the NewsNight chair at 10 p.m.”

CNN Primetime Changes Are Imminent; Aaron Brown May Not Return To NewsNight

CNN/U.S. president Jon Klein is preparing to separate the “fire and ice” duo of Aaron Brown and Anderson Cooper, TVNewser has learned.

The pairing, which premiered last month, has resulted in a few awkward moments. Brown frequently comes across as Cooper’s awkward and sometimes annoyed grandfather.

So here’s the most likely scenario: Brown will anchor a 7pm broadcast with a new title TBD, and Cooper will take over NewsNight at 10pm. Broadcasting & Cable says CNN is considering whether to continue extending NN to two hours.

This schedule shift, which has been rumored in the halls of the Time Warner Center, makes sense since the staffs were shifted a few weeks ago.

A “traditional” 7pm newscast by Brown could draw a unique audience that doesn’t want to watch Shep Smith, Hardball or Showbiz Tonight. A “younger” 10pm show by Cooper could attract the 25-54 crowd that is watching TV after dark.

The impending changes raise questions about Brown’s future at the network. This tipster may be dead wrong, or he may be right on the money: “After wrap on Friday, Aaron thanked the crew, told the crew that they would not again see him on NewsNight, took his sculpture from one of the walls, and left.”

Brown is on vacation in Arizona this week. When he comes home, when will he be anchoring?

> “Keep your eyes and ears close to CNN this week,” another tipster says. “Major doings will change the face of primetime and lead to a major shakeup (maybe setback), but lots of news will be coming.”

Quadrupling Its Fee: FNC To Seek $1 Per Month Per Subscriber From Cable Ops

Multichannel News gets the scoop:

Fox News Channel “is about to quadruple the fee it charges cable and satellite distributors when it begins negotiating new carriage deals next year, according to News Corp. officials.”

More: “The top-rated news channel will seek payment of $1 per month, per subscriber from cable and direct-broadcast satellite operators that want to carry it, according to a News Corp. executive on the condition of anonymity. That compares with the 25-cent fee Fox News currently receives from most distributors.”

CNN charges 60 cents per subscriber per month for carriage