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Archives: September 2009

Newsers Step Out for Byron Pitts Book Party

SmithPitts_9.30.jpgAfter dropping in at the TVNewser party downtown, we headed uptown to the Plaza Hotel where friends, family and colleagues gathered to celebrate the publication of CBS News correspondent Byron Pitts‘ book “Step Out on Nothing: How Family and Faith Helped Me Conquer Life’s Challenges.”

The room was packed with CBS, ABC and NBC newsers including CBS News and Sports president Sean McManus and NBC News president Steve Capus. Also on hand, “60 Minutes” EP Jeff Fager, GMA senior EP Jim Murphy, who worked for years at CBS; as did Mika Brzezinski now with MSNBC. Also, Lesley Stahl, Harry Smith, Hoda Kotb, Jeff Greenfield, Michelle Miller and Mara Schiavocampo.

“Step Out on Nothing,” which we began to read on the subway ride home, is an intensely personal look at how Pitts went from a functionally illiterate child to ascend to the ranks of network correspondent. He recounts being a youth trying to overcome a pronounced stutter to the nervousness he felt decades later as he sat in the “60 Minutes” studio for the first time.

The National Center for Family Literacy co-sponsored the book party. Pitts becomes the first author to join the NCFL’s “A Penny a Book” initiative to benefit family literacy across the country.

• More photos after the jump, plus click here to read Gail Shister‘s interview with Pitts…

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The Scoreboard: Monday, September 28

25-54 demographic: (L +SD)

Total day: FNC: 398 | CNN: 148 | MSNBC: 140 | HLN: 166

Prime: FNC: 689 | CNN: 184 | MSNBC: 194 | HLN: 230

  5p: 6p: 7p: 8p: 9p: 10p: 11p:
FNC Beck: Baier: Shep: O’Reilly: Hannity: Greta: O’Reilly:
  501 343 460 873 652 540 469
CNN Blitzer: Blitzer: Dobbs: Brown: King: Cooper: Cooper:
  139 137 170 157 189 205 188
MSNBC Matthews: EdShow: Matthews: Olbermann: Maddow: Olbermann: Maddow:
  124 140 236 198 187 198 134
HLN Prime: Prime: Issues: Grace: Issues: Grace: Showbiz:
  113 88 171 259 177 267 217

Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.

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Morton Dean: TV News “Spiraling Down Into a Deep, Dark Ravine”

Where Are They Now? A TVNewser Series

Morton Dean.jpgToday, TVNewser begins a multi-week series where we’ll catch up with some tvnewsers of yesterday to learn about their lives now, and their perspectives on the industry. We begin with former CBS and ABC newsman Morton Dean. Next week: former MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour co-anchor Robert MacNeil.

People don’t forget a distinguished voice.

Just ask Morton Dean. Retired from network news for eight years, he “surprisingly” still gets stopped by people who “usually say something about my voice, in a positive way,” he tells TVNewser. “And I always answer the same way. I [joke], ‘Are you saying to me that I had a great face for radio?’”

But make no mistake, they remember him from television, even recounting specific stories he filed over the years. That pleases Dean, a journalist to the core. “Once you’re in the business,” he explains, “you never quite leave the business, and it certainly doesn’t leave you.”

Morton Dean, 74, joined CBS News in 1963 via New York’s WCBS-TV. About two years later he moved to the network, where he spent two decades before logging another 14 years at ABC. Along the way, Dean anchored weekend editions of the CBS Evening News, was news anchor at Good Morning America, and traveled the world as a correspondent, covering everything from the Iranian hostage crisis to conflict in Kosovo.

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John Roberts Gets Close with Secretary Albright

TMI alert.

During an interview aired this morning with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, CNN “American Morning” host John Roberts got a little red in the face when the subject of the former Secretary’s breasts came up. Clip is below. Unless you’d like to hear Albright describe her broach collection in detail, skip to the 3 minute mark:

Embedded video from CNN Video

Q3 Cable Ratings: FNC Shows Fill Top 10; #3 Network on Cable; Beck Grows Timeslot 136%

If you’ve been following the cable news ratings, and we know you have, you’ll know Fox News has been dominating, even more than usual, in 2009. In the just-finished third quarter, Fox News beat CNN and MSNBC combined in Total Viewers and the A25-54 demo in both total day and primetime viewing. FNC is also the only cable news network to post across the board gains vs. Q3 ’08.

• In Total Viewers, FNC was up 2% in primetime and up 8% in total day.

• In A25-54 viewers, FNC was up 5% in primetime and up 12% in total day.

• FNC was the third-ranked cable network behind ESPN and USA.

• FNC had the top 10 programs in cable news. “The O’Reilly Factor” has been the #1 cable news show for 106 consecutive months. From 4pmET to 11pmET, all of FNC’s programs showed growth, most double digits:

Rank/Show — Total Viewer / A25-54 demo growth
2. “Hannity,” — 9% / 17%
3. “Glenn Beck,” — 89% / 136%
4. “On the Record,” — 16% / 21%
5. “Special Report” — 20% / 34%
6. “The FOX Report” — 9% / 18%
9. “Your World” — 16% / 27%

And for the month of September, FNC claimed the Top 13 programs in cable news in Total Viewers, which hasn’t happened since Nov. 2004. It was the network’s best month for the year in today day with Total Viewers and A25-54 viewers. Also, “America’s Newsroom” (9-11amET) with Megyn Kelly and Bill Hemmer had its highest rated month (and quarter) in A25-54 viewers.

Q3 Cable Ratings: MSNBC Down Double Digits

While CNN came in second for Q3, MSNBC wins primetime in younger viewers for the month of September. And for 2009 to date, MSNBC has pulled ahead of CNN in primetime in the A25-54 demo. For September, “The Ed Show” at 6pmET, “Hardball with Chris Matthews” at 7pm and “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” at 8 pm all beat CNN head-to-head in the younger demo.

After a heavy news cycle during Q3 2008, (campaigns, conventions, collapses), MSNBC was down across the board in Q3 2009.

In primetime, the network was down 10% in Total Viewers and down 21% in A25-54 demo viewers. In total day, MSNBC was down 17% in Total Viewers and down 25% in A25-45 viewers.

Click continued to read MSNBC’s release…

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Q3 Cable Ratings: CNN Back to #2

CNN was back in second place for the third quarter in both primetime and total day, in Total Viewers and younger viewers. But the network slipped to third place, behind MSNBC, for the month of September.

In Monday – Friday primetime, CNN topped MSNBC by 13% among Total Viewers (1.051 million vs. 929k) and 7% among A25-54 viewers (319k vs. 298k). CNN is down 30% in primetime Total Viewers and down 39% in primetime A25-54 demo viewers compared to the election-heavy Q3 2008.

“Larry King Live” topped MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow for the quarter and by the largest A25-54 margin since Maddow’s MSNBC show premiered last September – 17%.

“Anderson Cooper 360″, meanwhile, had the biggest declines of any cable news show year-to-year down 56% in Total Viewers and down 64% in the A25-54 demo.

CNN continues to reach more viewers than any cable news network. In September, CNN reached 102,835,000, FNC reached 93,136,000, HLN reached 86,290,000 and MSNBC reached 81,959,000.

Click continued to read CNN’s press release…

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Q3 Cable Ratings: HLN’s Best Third Quarter Ever

In the just-completed third quarter, HLN had its best Q3 ever among total viewers and A25-54 viewers for total day vieweing.

“Morning Express with Robin Meade” grew the most of any cable news morning program in younger viewers, up 21% year over year. It also topped MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” by 24% in the younger demo.

Other programs showing growth: Prime News at 6pmET up 23% in Total Viewers and up 16% in A25-54 viewers. “Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell at 7pmET was 11% in Total Viewers and 14% in A25-54 viewers. And “Showbiz Tonight” at 11pmET was up 20% in Total Viewers and up 24% in A25-54 viewers

HLN’s press release after the jump…

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Rather Case Against CBS Dismissed; Rather’s Lawyers to Ask for Review

Rather_9.29.jpgBreaking: The New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division has thrown out Dan Rather‘s $70 million lawsuit against his former employer, CBS Corp. “We find the complaint must be dismissed in its entirety,” reads the decision. The Appellate court found that the motion court “erred in denying the defendants’ motion to dismiss the claims for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.”

Jim Quinn, a lawyer representing CBS told The Observer‘s Felix Gillette, “We are obviously very happy. We thought this was the right decision all along.”

Rather’s lawyer Martin Gold says it’s not over for their side. “We are extremely disappointed with the Appellate Court’s decision,” Gold tells TVNewser. “We believe the decision is incorrect on a number of grounds and, accordingly, we intend to ask the New York Court of Appeals to review it.”

Click here to read the decision from the Appellate court…

• Click continued to read the statement from CBS Corp…

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NBC News to Report on ‘State of Women in America’

nbc120.jpgBill Carter of the NY Times reports that NBC News will be devoting portions of their October broadcasts to discuss the current roles of women in America. Much of the information will come from a study led by former NBC correspondent and current First Lady of California Maria Shriver, who will appear on Oct. 18′s “Meet the Press” to discuss “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything.” Shriver will also be a “guest editor” for the NBC coverage. Carter writes:

Steve Capus, president of NBC News, said that he had not yet seen the study’s findings. “It just seemed like a natural idea to do news stories that look at where we are on these issues,” he said. Ms. Shriver’s previous relationship with NBC News — she left her position as correspondent after her husband was elected governor in 2003 — was important, Mr. Capus said, because “we are confident in her abilities.”

CNBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo will also have some involvement in the coverage.