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Archives: December 2005

2005: Another Bloody Year In Iraq

> Dec. 9: ABC polls and interviews Iraqis ahead of election

> Dec. 7: The cameras in the Saddam trial are controlled by the USA

> Nov. 29: Richard Engel’s macabre bomber encounter

> Nov. 18: NBC staffers are “blown out of bed” by a Baghdad bombing

> Oct. 25: Close calls for several FNC staffers in Baghdad

> Oct. 24: Insurgents launch “spectacular explosion” in view of television cameras

> Oct. 13: Harrigan in Baghdad: “I am developing now my own sort of Saffir-Simpson scale of danger, based on what I yell out immediately after an explosion”

> Aug. 24: Most Americans think “the news media could have done more to inform the public about Iraq and the stakes involved in going to war there”

> Aug. 1: News out of Iraq “is just a body count”

> May 27: Oliver North accuses the press of ignoring Iraq’s good news

> May 12: The Note admits that American news orgs will not adequately cover the “carnage in Iraq”

> Apr. 15: Three bombs explode near NBC’s Baghdad bureau

> Apr. 8: U.S. forces detain a CBS stringer for “alleged insurgent activity”

> Mar. 25: Every time CBS correspondent Byron Pitts leaves his compound in Baghdad, he says a prayer

> Mar. 14: PEJ analyzes war coverage and finds FNC to be positive, CNN and MSNBC evenhanded, and the networks negative

> Feb. 28: “A number of journalists covering Iraq — not just [Eason] Jordan — continue to believe journalists were targeted”

> Jan. 30: Election coverage: “Fox is exuberant;” Geraldo waves his flag; All movements of the press are decided by military forces

> Jan. 27: Cablers plan wall-to-wall election coverage

> Jan 21: Jennings, Williams, Smith, Cooper, Amanpour travel to Iraq for elections

> Jan. 3: The networks are spending millions of dollars covering the war

Celebrate 2006 With FNC & CNN

> FNC: “All American New Year – 2006″ will air from 11pm to 1am. Mike Jerrick and Juliet Huddy will host from Times Square; Jeff Goldblatt will report from New Orleans’ Jackson Square; Carol McKinley will report from Manhattan, Kansas, known as the “Little Apple;” and Jonathan Serrie will be live at the nation’s largest aquarium in Atlanta, The program will include live performances by country music singers Aaron Tippin and Phil Vassar in Nashville.

> CNN: New Year’s Coverage, hosted by Anderson Cooper in Times Square, will air from 11pm to 1am. “The show will also offer live feeds to concerts including John Mayer Trio from San Francisco, Barenaked Ladies out of Tampa, American Idol winner Fantasia from The Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas, ‘Godfather of Soul’ James Brown from New York, country duo Brooks and Dunn from Nashville, and funk legends Kool and The Gang from Atlantic City.”

V&W: “We Almost Need A New Word For It, Other Than Anchor”

Bob Woodruff‘s home state paper, the Detroit Free Press, previews his ascendancy to the WNT anchor chair in Friday editions.

 As Woodruff prepares for his debut week, he stresses that nothing about “World News Tonight” is going to be formulaic, including his new job.

“I think we almost need a new word for it, other than anchor,” says Woodruff. “I think it’s going to be much more of a reporting kind of job, in terms of being out in the world. And it’s certainly going to be a job that requires broadcasting on new and different platforms.”

Does he have a new word in mind? “No, I’ll leave that up to you guys,” he says with a laugh.

In the story, I guess that ABC will put Woodruff on the road for one week out of the month. I’m beginning to think I underestimated that. Here’s the full story…

2005: The Good News lists of the Good News of 2005, and several of the items are positive spins on negative news:

> Space Shuttle Has First Mission Since Columbia Tragedy

> All 309 Passengers Live After Air France Jet Bursts Into Flames on Landing

> White Sox Win World Series After 88 Years

> Iraqis Vote in First Successful Elections

> Singer Marc Cohn Survives Shooting in the Head

> Baby Pandas Born in Washington, San Diego Zoos

> Emily the Cat Travels to France and Flies Back Business Class

And the perfect item for the end of the list:

> Happy News Web Site Launched

V&W: WNT’s Co-Anchor “Template”

T-minus 4: Variety’s Michael Learmonth previews the “new generation” of World News Tonight, premiering on Tuesday:

  vargasdec30.jpg“There won’t be a lot of chit-chat; whichever one of us has the lead story will start off the broadcast, read the first few stories and toss to the other,” [Elizabeth] Vargas told Daily Variety.

The two anchors will rarely be in the studio together; they’ll function more as uber-reporters, with one handling half of the broadcast from the field while the other reads stories from the studio.

The broadcast will generally be divided into four blocks, with one anchor taking the lead story and the first block of four to five pieces before handing off to the other.

“That is the template,” she said. “I don’t anticipate a ping-pong thing back and forth.”

“I’m not sure we will ever be at the same desk,” Vargas adds. “A new set is still in the design phase and will include multiple standing and sitting positions to accommodate a number of different props and configurations,” Learmonth reports…

Submit Your 2006 TV News Predictions

On Friday and Saturday, TVNewser will recap television news in 2005, and look ahead to 2006. So peer inside your crystal ball:

What are your predictions for the next 12 months?

Will the Fox Business Channel premiere? Will Katie Couric move to CBS? Will viewers watch Vargas & Woodruff? Will Jon Klein continue to overhaul CNN’s schedule? Will MSNBC benefit from NBCU’s majority ownership? Will the programming changes at CNBC have an impact? Will Headline News find another Nancy Grace?

Submit your predictions via this anonymous form, or e-mail I’ll be publishing them all this weekend.

60 Minutes’ Secret Of Longevity

“CBS’ 60 Minutes is the only prime time news program boasting two octogenarians — Mike Wallace (87) and Andy Rooney (86). Maybe it should be no surprise, then, that one of the segments launching the show into the new year Jan. 1 is on immortality,” BCBeat’s John Eggerton writes.

“Reporting the story is one of the younger staffers perhaps seeking the secret to the longevity of Wallace and Rooney: Morley Safer, a veritable babe at 74.”

The Scoreboard: Monday, Dec. 26

These post-Christmas numbers were delayed by Nielsen. Ratings are usually lower this week, and many anchors are on vacation.

Following up on today’s posts about the 10pm hour, Greta tripled Anderson in total viewership and almost doubled him in the 25-54 demo:

25-54 demographic:

Total day: FNC: 172,000 / CNN: 122,000 / MSNBC: 73,000 / HLN: 76,000 / CNBC: 52,000

Primetime: FNC: 212,000 / CNN: 134,000 / MSNBC: 84,000 / HLN: 102,000 / CNBC: 110,000

6pm: Hume: 232,000 / Dobbs: 136,000 / Abrams: 109,000 / Mad Money: 60,000

7pm: Shep: 216,000 / Blitzer: 169,000 / Hardball: 69,000 / Showbiz: 53,000 / Orman: 59,000

8pm: O’Reilly: 236,000 / Zahn: 158,000 / Countdown: 148,000 / Grace: 116,000 / Deal or no Deal: 236,000

9pm: H&C: 197,000 / King: 139,000 / Rita: 54,000 / Prime News: 64,000 / Mad Money repeat: 43,000

10pm: Greta: 204,000 / Cooper: 106,000 / Scarborough: 50,000 / Grace repeat: 126,000 / Deutsch: 51,000

11pm: O’Reilly repeat: 213,000 / Cooper: 120,000 / Situation: 74,000 / Showbiz repeat: 38,000 / Deal or no Deal: 155,000

Total viewers:

Total day: FNC: 763,000 / CNN: 387,000 / MSNBC: 197,000 / HLN: 202,000 / CNBC: 120,000

Primetime: FNC: 1,288,000 / CNN: 513,000 / MSNBC: 259,000 / HLN: 327,000 / CNBC: 249,000

6pm: Hume: 1,171,000 / Dobbs: 488,000 / Abrams: 271,000 / Mad Money: 147,000

7pm: Shep: 1,218,000 / Blitzer: 477,000 / Hardball: 286,000 / Showbiz: 138,000 / Orman: 125,000

8pm: O’Reilly: 1,674,000 / Zahn: 583,000 / Countdown: 355,000 / Grace: 529,000 / Deal or no Deal: 529,000

9pm: H&C: 1,080,000 / King: 604,000 / Rita: 202,000 / Prime News: 191,000 / Mad Money repeat: 107,000

10pm: Greta: 1,109,000 / Cooper: 353,000 / Scarborough: 220,000 / Grace repeat: 260,000 / Deutsch: 110,000

11pm: O’Reilly repeat: 765,000 / Cooper: 279,000 / Situation: 153,000 / Showbiz repeat: 93,000 / Deal or no Deal: 313,000

“How Do We Solve A Problem Like Maria?”

On Tuesday I asked: “Now that Mark Hoffman has toyed with the 4 to 10am block on CNBC, what’s going to happen to the rest of the business day?”

A network insider answers: “The entire CNBC daytime lineup after 10am is being held up by Maria Bartiromo. She has made absurd demands and management is not giving in. She was to have done the 9-11am slot. But then she demanded drivers, limos, hairdressers…real diva stuff. Management told her to stuff it… and so for now the rest of the day stays put while they figure out ‘how do we solve a problem like Maria?’”

> Nov. 22: Bartiromo “remains at the center of whatever schedule finally evolves” for CNBC, several tipsters say…

> Update: 9:56am: A tipster adds: “Maria Bartiromo’s CNBC contract has always stated that she gets at least one solo hour during market hours (9:30a – 4p) which is why she always did the 3-4p hour herself. But Maria is not only keeping the sched in limbo, she is keeping the movement of producers in flux.”

The Ticker: Cutler, Gupta, Critics’ Lists…

> As TVNewser foreshadowed yesterday, CNBC moved its top ticker down a little bit today, because it was being cut off on some TV screens…

> Which cable news anchor slept with Washingtonienne Jessica Cutler last year? FishBowlDC wants to know…

> CNN is packaging Dr. Sanjay Gupta‘s reports from Pakistan into a special, “Reports from the Quake Zone,” airing Saturday, Dec. 31 at 6pm…

> Matthew Yglesias links to an Bruce Bartlett‘s op-ed about the many flaws of the standard TV news talking heads format and writes about other TV troubles…

> CJR Daily reviews the year-end lists written by media critics…