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Big News Draws Big Crowds to Cable News

FNCquakeNo news slowdown this August. We’ll have the final monthly cable news numbers next Wednesday, but for last week, with coverage of protests in Ferguson, MO, the murder of James Foley and the earthquake in California, Fox News Channel was the second most-watched network in all of cable in primetime, behind only ESPN which had its own big week with the Little League World Series. FNC trailed only Nickelodeon in total day viewing. (We’ll have the network ranker later today). It was the network’s second highest-rated week this year, only behind the week of the State of the Union in January.

Several FNC programs hit new heights, including “Outnumbered” and “Happening Now” which saw all-time highs averaging 1.188 million and 1.223 million viewers, respectively. “The Kelly File” had its highest rated week of the year in the A25-54 demo, and “Hannity” had its most-watched week of the year in both viewers and the demo.

Early in the week, CNN drew a big audience for its coverage from Ferguson. CNN won the A25-54 demo four days running and “New Day” had its highest-ever demo rating on Tuesday.

FNC was the only cable news network to have programs in the top 50 cable telecasts for the week, with 7 in the top 50. The Top 20 after the jump.

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Meredith Vieira on ‘GMA’ to Promote New Show

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Meredith Vieira was a special guest host on “Good Morning America” this morning, promoting her new talk show, and promising to participate in a gravy wrestling match with Lara Spencer. Vieira has also lined up a guest-hosting gig on the “Today” show Sept. 8, which is the same day her new talk show debuts.

Even though “The Meredith Vieira Show” is produced by NBCUNiversal, produced at 30 Rock, and will air on many NBC stations, the program is syndicated and has been picked up by major-market ABC affiliates including those in Boston, Atlanta, Detroit, Denver and Tampa, hence the visit this morning to ABC.

Evening News Ratings: Week of August 18

EveningNewsNewFrom continuing coverage of the protests in Ferguson, MO to the murder of an American journalist by ISIS militants, all three evening newscasts saw a jump in viewership last week, compared to the same week last year.

“NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” and “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley” were up the most in total viewers, each up +12% while Pelley’s broadcast was also up the most in the demo, +11%. “World News with Diane Sawyer,” in her penultimate week, once again won the week among younger viewers with a +3% lead on “Nightly News,” that’s the 7th win in the last 8 weeks.

“Nightly” continues its winning streak — now nearing five years — as the No. 1 program among total viewers with a +10% lead on “World News.”

Numbers for the week of August 18, 2014:

NBC ABC CBS
• Total Viewers: 8,021,000 7,325,000 6,532,000
• A25-54: 1,860,000 1,918,000 1,635,000


Maria Bartiromo is Trying to ‘Keep it Real’

MariaBartiromo304Six months after her Fox Business debut, Maria Bartiromo is focusing on the viewer. Speaking to Tribune TV Week, she explains giving the viewer what they want while also staying true to herself is key.

“The viewer is so smart,” she says. “They see right through it. If you’re trying to be someone you’re not, forget it. You’re going to be bounced off. It’s so important to be authentic and to be yourself. “It may be that someone says, ‘You know what, I don’t agree with that woman, but I like her because she’s actually telling me what she thinks. She’s herself, and I like it because she keeps it real.’ “So that’s what I’m trying to do, just to keep it real.”

Earlier this year, we went behind the scenes at Bartiromo’s Fox News/Fox Business shows. Watch after the jump.

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Turner Offers Buyouts to Hundreds of Employees; Will Also Seek ‘Additional Reductions in Staffing’

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Breaking: CNN and HLN are beginning a process of offering buyouts to hundreds of employees today. The Turner networks are among those feeling the effects of plan laid out by Turner CEO John Martin in a memo to all employees last week. More specifics came from CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker who told told employees last Tuesday they would hear from their managers about cutbacks. This morning, a note from Turner’s Chief Human Resources Officer arrived. The note, obtained by TVNewser explains that even after buyouts “Turner will also undertake additional reductions in staffing.”

To support the company’s stated focus on programming, monetization and innovation, we are identifying cost savings and shifting capital allocations to high-growth areas where investment will drive growth and profitability. As part of these efforts, we are offering a Voluntary Separation Program to regular status Turner Broadcasting employees on Turner’s U.S. payroll working in the U.S. and who are at least age 55 and have 10 or more years of service as of December 31, 2014, excluding on-air talent and employees covered by a written employment agreement.

Today, employees meeting these eligibility requirements will receive a confidential, personalized email detailing the program, its benefits and deadlines for acceptance, which is strictly voluntary. This enhanced benefit offering is just one vehicle the company is implementing as part of a comprehensive plan. Given the current focus on reducing costs and prioritizing investments to maximize company performance, Turner will also undertake additional reductions in staffing.

We are grateful to the tenured employees whose service and dedication to Turner Broadcasting have made an indelible mark on our business success.

This is all part of Martin’s goal to create a more “streamlined, nimble and efficient company” as part of his “Turner 2020″ plan.

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Executive Producer Changes at ABC News

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First on TVNewser: Big changes are coming to the producer ranks at ABC News.

TVNewser has learned “Good Morning America” Senior Executive Producer Tom Cibrowski (above, left) is being promoted to senior VP of programs, newsgathering and special events. Taking his place at the nation’s No. 1 morning show is current “World News” EP Michael Corn (above, center). Taking Corn’s job at “World News” is “Nightline” EP Almin Karamehmedovic. Karamehmedocvic, who has been with ABC News since 1989, arrives at “World News” as the program sees its first anchor change in nearly five years. David Muir takes over for Diane Sawyer next week.

Karamehmedocvic, a native of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has deep roots in international reporting for ABC. In 2001 he was one of the first journalists to gain access to Tora Bora, Afghanistan where Osama bin Laden was holed up, and in 2003 was a U.S. Army embed during the invasion of Iraq. A replacement at “Nightline” will come later, we hear.

Corn leaves “World News” as the show has consistently been winning in the A25-54 demographic, while still trailing “NBC Nightly News” among total viewers. He joins “GMA” as that broadcast enters its third year as the No. 1 morning show.

The moves will be announced by ABC News president James Goldston this morning.

> More: Goldston’s notes to staffers, after the jump…

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The Scoreboard: Friday, August 22

25-54 demographic (Live +SD)

  • Total day: FNC: 256 | MSNBC: 103 | CNN: 179 | HLN: 76
  • Primetime: FNC: 283 | MSNBC: 130 | CNN: 226 | HLN: 105

4p: 5p: 6p: 7p: 8p: 9p: 10p: 11p: 12a:
FNC
Cavuto:

220

TheFive:

312

Baier:

287

Greta:

197

O’Reilly:

288

Kelly:

303

Hannity:

258

O’Reilly:

259

Kelly:

218

MSNBC
Wagner:

54

EdShow:

109

Sharpton:

201

Matthews:

150

Hayes:

88

Maddow:

145

Lockup:

156

Lockup:

164

Lockup:

170

CNN
Tapper:

171

Blitzer:

208

Blitzer:

244

Burnett:

218

Cooper:

231

Cooper:

214

Tonight:

232

Tonight:

213

CNNI:

167

HLN
Now:

22

Files:

25

Files:

64

Files:

49

Files:

112

Files:

99

Files:

105

Files:

100

Files:

145

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Journalist Starts Different Kind of Bucket Challenge to Draw Attention to Gaza

The ALS Ice Bucket challenge has taken tvnewsers by storm–or freeze–this summer, and a journalist in Gaza was so inspired by it that he started a different challenge to to draw awareness to the plight of Gazans.

“I have to do something and to send a message all over the world about Gaza,” said journalist Ayman al Aloul, who started the “Rubble Bucket Challenge” on Saturday. Aloul said he first looked for water to use, but its scarcity made it too important to dump over people’s heads. The challenge has gained some social media buzz; the Facebook page has over 3,000 likes and hashtags #dustbucketchallenge and #remainsbucketchallenge are making the rounds.

NBC News Boss Says More Change is Ahead

Deborah TurnessBrian Williams calls her “a dynamo” and “a relentless journalist.” Matt Lauer has been “impressed by how she is able to focus on every aspect of the organization.”

The two main anchors of NBC News are talking about their boss, NBC News president Deborah Turness, now one year on the job. Turness tells the New York Times Bill Carter that for as much change as has already occurred, there’s more to come. “Some change isn’t easy. It’s painful, but an organization has to go through it. And a lot of that is still ahead,” Turness says.

“People in the organization from top to bottom recognized that NBC News hadn’t kept up with the times in all sorts of ways, for maybe 15 years,” Turness tells Carter. “I think the organization had gone to sleep.”

Insiders tell us that line is ruffling some feathers of longtime NBC Newsers. But then, maybe that’s her point.

How Cable News Covered Michael Brown’s Funeral, Al Sharpton’s Eulogy

Sharpton BrownThis afternoon, cable news covered the funeral of 18-year-old Michael Brown as one of MSNBC’s hosts continued being part of the story.

MSNBC was the only channel to air Al Sharpton‘s eulogy, dipping into it at 12:44pmET. “Order says that children bury their parents…we should not sit here today and act like we’re watching something that is in order,” Sharpton said to rousing chants from the crowd gathered at a St. Louis church.

MSNBC took Sharpton’s eulogy for 11 minutes before Chris Matthews, filling in for Andrea Mitchell, wrapped the noon eastern hour. Ronan Farrow opened his show speaking with Craig Melvin about his interview with Brown’s parents, but showing a full screen of Sharpton’s speech while Melvin reported.

During Sharpton’s eulogy, Fox News continued with its “Outnumbered” panel, who discussed topics ranging from James Foley‘s beheading to what time school should start for teens. At 1pmET, “Happening Now” opened airing images of Sharpton speaking live, then turning to Garrett Tenney outside the church. CNN aired Don Lemon interviewing CNN political commentator LZ Granderson and CNN contributor Donna Brazile. Ashleigh Banfield closed “Legal View” airing parts of Lemon’s interview with the mothers of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Sean Bell.

During Sharpton’s eulogy, Fox News’ Howard Kurtz tweeted about his statements. And this morning, Don Lemon tweeted–about not tweeting. Read more

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