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Archives: June 2006

Greta Covers The Penis Pump Judge

An e-mailer points us to this transcript, asking: “Is this how Fox is going to increase its ratings?” Last night on FNC’s On The Record, Greta Van Susteren spoke to Bob Sharrill, a reporter for the Supulpa Herald-Sun, about a judge who is accused of using a penis pump while presiding in court. She let Sharrill explain the story:

“The action with the pump apparently had been going on since 2001. His court reporter, her name is Lisa Foster, she had been his court reporter for a number of years and she suddenly starting hearing these sounds. And then one day by chance she happened to look and she saw him with his apparatus on his appendage.”

It got worse.

“He looked back and he could see this tube running up into the crotch of the judge and he kept hearing this swish, swish sound. It’s been identified as something akin to, oh, the cup that you squeeze when you’re taking your blood pressure.”

Wow. Click continued if you want to read the transcript…

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The Ticker: Kelly, Grace, Hardbrawl…

> Does anyone have a screen grab of FNC’s Greg Kelly live from Memphis, on Fox & Friends, wearing an Elvis suit and dark glasses?…

> …Or a screen grab of Nancy Grace burning a $1 bill on her show last night during a discussion of the defeated flag burning amendment?…

> Dan Rather “refused to be interviewed for a documentary” on Walter Cronkite — the same one Katie Couric is narrating, Page Six reports…

> A Hardball experiment: Last night, the MSNBC show had a roundtable format with four guests in studio, similar to The Chris Matthews Show. The chyron called it “Hardbrawl…”

> CNBC’s David Faber reported the Tracinda/GM news at 9am, way ahead of any other news net. Update: 11:10am: “Becky Quick broke the news!,” an e-mailer says…

> An e-mailer thinks I should point out that Bill O’Reilly interviewed Tony Snow Wednesday night and John Kerry Thursday night…

Star Jones Takes Over ‘Today’

Larry King spent an hour with Star Jones last night, in her first TV interview since leaving The View. CNN is rerunning the hour-long program at 11am today. (“Figure out that counterprogramming if you will,” Daryn Kagan said.)

starjune30.jpgBut I’m hearing more buzz about Al Roker‘s chat with Star this morning. “When was the last time you saw the Today show come back to the same guest after multiple commercial breaks?,” an e-mailer asks: “The interview went on for almost 20 minutes. Hillary Clinton’s famous ‘vast right wing conspiracy’ interview with Matt Lauer didn’t last that long.”

A second e-mailer adds:” Bet they wouldn’t devote that much to the researchers who finds a cancer cure.” And NewsBusters says there was a hint of a personal relationship between Al and Star…

> Update: 10:31am: “Today producers — always suckers for synergy — followed up that segment with an expert on female relationships and backstabbing,” FishBowlNY says…

Barbara Walters Lies (But Only This 1 Time!)

Friday’s Los Angeles Times:Everybody in TV lies, of course. To save face, to save feelings, to save careers. But rarely do the lies come apart so publicly and — quite frankly — so deliciously.

And rarely is a journalist such as [Barbara] Walters, whose main asset is her credibility, after all, forced to admit to tangoing with the truth. ‘I have always told the truth on this program,’ Walters told the New York Daily News on Tuesday, ‘except in the case of Star…’”

“Right Place, Right Time” For ABC’s Terry Moran In Guantanamo Bay

moranjune30.jpgTerry Moran‘s Nightline crew was planning on coming home Thursday. The ABC anchor spent three days at the U.S. Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba this week, for an in-depth look at the controversial camp. He had exclusive interviews with the director of interrogations and the commander of the detention center.

But in anticipation of today’s Supreme Court decision, the ABC team stayed in Cuba for an extra day. When the ruling came down, Moran was walking around the base with military officials. As an e-mailer put it: “Right place, right time!”

“We’ve got the only live TV reports from the controversial and secretive prison on the day of this landmark ruling,” Moran noted at the top of Thursday’s broadcast…

30 Min. On TV, But Unlimited Time Online

I should have linked to this MediaShift Q&A with Brian Williams days ago. The NBC Nightly News anchor has some fascinating things to say, including this: “We throw more knowledge away during a given day than the sum total of what we put on the air.

That’s partly why Williams’ blog, The Daily Nightly, is a group venture, he says. “I just got out of a planning meeting for the 9/11 five-year anniversary, and the big part of this meeting was, look, we are format-limited. We only have 30 minutes for all these broadcasts we’re talking about, we’re going to do some really in-depth reporting on the 9/11 anniversary. Are we safer? Are we better off? Where are they now? We’re going to have a huge online component. We’re going to devote a lot of airtime to telling people ‘please read more of our reporting online.’ That’s our reality.”

AJI Launch: November?

“You read it here first. Al Jazeera International will launch in November,” the U.K.’s Press Gazette’s Adrian Monck writes.And not November 2010 either. This November. Now it doesn’t seem that long ago — November 2004 in fact — that AJI boss Nigel Parsons was announcing ambitious plans to launch in, erm, November 2005.”

> Also: Monck says the technical problems aren’t the only reason for the launch delays: “There’s internal politics too.” Parsons originally told reporters that the new channel would be “totally independent” of Al Jazeera’s Arabic service. But “in a corporate coup earlier this year the independence evaporated. Parsons now reports to the Arabic channel’s managing director, Waddah Khanfar, who has been promoted to oversee both services…”

MSNBC’s Prime Change: Rita Unhappy?

Why didn’t MSNBC announce the primetime schedule changes until almost 6:30 p.m. on Thursday? Maybe it was because the network was trying to bury the news. Or maybe it was because of Rita Cosby.

“Rita went nuts when they told her,” according to a source. “She burned any remaining goodwill. That’s why there was such a delay. The staff (Live & Direct’s) was called in for a Noon meeting, which didn’t start until 6:30.” The source added: “How she didn’t see this coming is the big news…”

MSNBC’s Prime Change: Translating Dan

This is what Dan Abrams said in tonight’s press release about MSNBC’s schedule changes: “MSNBC has made tremendous strides in key primetime hours, and these adjustments to our primetime schedule will continue to propel our momentum, as we concentrate on our strengths and continue to serve our viewers with the right mix of programming.”

This is what Dan Abrams was trying to say: “We’ve made some gains at 7 and 8pm. We’re trying to hold onto those viewers in a slow news cycle. (I hope you noticed ‘Hardbrawl’ tonight.) Rita didn’t sync at 9pm, and 10pm isn’t working any better. We can’t copy Greta and Nancy’s crime-and-courts model. It’s not one of our ‘strengths.’

But the ratings for those Friday nights on tape are too good to resist. (Remember, ‘good’ is relative.) Did you see the numbers last week? We beat Greta and Anderson at 10pm. When was the last time Rita did that?

Anyway, I know we’ve been down this road before. But this is the ‘right mix’ until another huge news story comes along. We’re well positioned for the midterms, with Tucker, Chris, Keith, and Joe. And don’t forget to repeat the ‘momentum’ mantra if anyone asks you about the change.”

MSNBC’s Prime Change: Rita’s Low Ratings

TV Week sums up Rita’s waning ratings: “In June, ‘Rita Cosby’ averaged 233,000 viewers, 93,000 of them in the core news demo of 25 to 54… That’s down from her first month on the air, August 2005, when she averaged 398,000 viewers, 146,000 of them in the demo. In addition to being down since last year, ‘Rita Cosby’ has been losing lead-in from ‘Scarborough Country,’ which averaged 319,000 viewers, 109,000 of them in the demo, in June.”