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Posts Tagged ‘Alessandra Stanley’

The Chuck Todd Reviews Are in…

Todd MTPChuck Todd’s debut as “Meet the Press” moderator yesterday brought a return of the press as a prominent component of the program.

And now the rest of the press is chiming in on Todd’s debut:

The New York TimesAlessandra Stanley writes about the imperfect, yet perfect Todd:

Chuck Todd was an imperfect host of “Meet the Press” on Sunday. And that’s perfect. His questions to President Obama were succinct and pointed, but Mr. Obama is not a rewarding guest in a one-on-one interview. He tends to give long, meditative and atonal answers that wear down listeners. Mr. Todd was respectful, not fawning or fake-fierce, and he challenged some of the president’s assertions.

The Washington Post‘s Manuel Roig-Franzia thinks Todd is a straight-talking “work in progress”:

“We’re living in a house as we remodel it,” he told viewers. That little admission near the top of the show encapsulated Todd’s appeal while simultaneously laying out the challenge before him. Here was a host who was going to tell it to you straight. And here was a host who knows he needs to do something — something big, big, big — to resurrect a sagging brand. If the show had been a holiday meal, Todd would have been the host apologizing for the quality of the dinner before it was served. Yes, the turkey and yams sound like the usual fare, but I didn’t have much time to prepare! Come back tomorrow and I’ll dazzle you with the leftovers!

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The Ronan Reviews Are In…


Ronan Farrow Daily” is about to take to the air for its second outing. Here’s what media reporters are writing about the first:

  • Entertainment Weekly‘s Darren Franich thinks cable news is in need of saving, but Farrow is not yet its hero. “But Farrow is also young — and looks younger, and sounds even younger — and so the debut of ‘Ronan Farrow Daily’ was also an awkward mix of tones.” The EW review also suggested Farrow’s attempts at humor are part of the problem, as his joke about growing up with Murrow, Cronkite, and Colbert only emphasizes he is too young to have real newsmen to admire. Franich’s overall grade: C-
  • The New York Post’s Michael Starr notes a lack of fireworks in the premiere—particularly no mention from Ronan about father Woody Allen and sister Dylan Farrow‘s recent back and forth over Dylan’s molestation charge. Even without a buzzworthy moment to offer “something we haven’t seen before,” the Post credits the show with not embarrassing itself, and Farrow for looking quite comfortable on camera.
  • Variety‘s Brian Steinberg writes about Farrow’s “detached,” “bemused” stance toward the stories he reported on, observing that the 26-year-old did not come off as a “cheerleader” for any one cause. Noting that Farrow targeted a younger audience with numerous social media mentions, he still might have a problem reaching the youth: “Farrow’s challenge will be to gain momentum during a time slot that is not known for luring the millennials who might form his natural audience.”

The MSNBC/NBC News Divide: ‘Like piano players in a brothel, they don’t go upstairs’

As MSNBC continues to Lean Forward to ratings success — for the first time ever during a political convention, the network beat CNN in total viewers Wednesday night in every hour from 7pm-1am — the pretense of being informed without bias from NBC News, is being tested.

The NYT’s Alessandra Stanley analyzes the network during coverage of the RNC.

MSNBC offers counterprogramming, not coverage. All that arch sarcasm and partisan brio may rev up the cable channel’s fans, but it constrains — and stains — NBC News, its corporate sibling, which is still the country’s No. 1 source in the evening…

NBC’s chief anchor, Brian Williams, has conspicuously avoided the most fractious MSNBC discussion panels. Those anchors who do make dutiful appearances, like David Gregory and Tom Brokaw, are badly needed but don’t stay long or join the fray — like piano players in a brothel, they don’t go upstairs.

Critics Not Too Keen On HBO’s ‘The Newsroom’

“The Newsroom” debuts Sunday evening on HBO, and reviews are in for the latest TV series from Aaron Sorkin (Read TVNewser columnist Gail Shister‘s review here). What do the other critics say?

ABC’s Jake Tapper, for The New Republic:

I wanted this show to be great. When asked to participate in a conference call, gratis, where I shared some of my reporting experiences with the writers, I eagerly did so. But I won’t further bury the lede: “The Newsroom,” which debuts June 24 on HBO, is sadly disappointing. There’s much to criticize in the media—and TV news in particular. But though “The Newsroom” intends to lecture its viewers on the higher virtues of capital-J journalism, Professor Sorkin soon reveals he isn’t much of an expert on the subject.

Alessandra Stanley, for the New York Times:

Yet oddly enough “The Newsroom” suffers from the same flaw that it decries on real cable shows on MSNBC or Fox News. Cable television would be a lot better if anchors pontificated less and went back to reporting. “The Newsroom” would be a lot better if the main characters preached less and went back to reporting.

Hank Stuever, for The Washington Post:

The word pile that once seemed so melodious in Sorkin’s other projects — especially that millennial anti-anxiety medication known as the “The West Wing” — now has the effect of tinnitus. The men talk like Sorkin writes; the women talk that way, too; the 28-year-olds talk like that, as do the 41-year-olds, as do the cast’s septuagenarians, who include Sam Waterston as the head of the network news division and, later on, Jane Fonda as the network owner who puts the arch in matriarch. (In other words, Jane Fonda as Ted Turner.)

Emily Nussbaum, for The New Yorker:
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Cautious Reviews for New Morning Shows

wuwa_wte.jpgIn the few weeks, NBC-Universal launched two new early-early morning shows, the Weather Channel’s “Wake Up With Al” starring Al Roker and MSNBC’s “Way Too Early With Willie Geist,” which has left at least one reviewer—NYTimes’ Alessandra Stanley—satisfied but skeptical. Stanley finds Roker’s show “pleasant and relaxed” and has this to say about Geist’s debut:

Mr. Geist’s first show got off to a promising start, partly helped by the departing Alaska governor, Sarah Palin, and her acid farewell to the news media on Sunday, in which she exhorted, “So how about, in honor of the American soldier, you quit making things up?” Mr. Geist said with deadpan gravity: “Quit making things up? I can’t agree to that deal.”

But overall, Stanley responds to the pair of new shows with a generous helping of skepticism:

There is an audience for these spinoffs, and Mr. Roker and, to a cable-size extent, Mr. Geist have loyal fans. But both are television personalities who do their best work playing off and even sending up their co-hosts. Neither has surrendered his day job yet, but the danger is that their energy and best efforts will be siphoned to their new gigs.

It’s a narrowing gyre: as soon as regular contributors or co-hosts begin to develop marketable personas, they get their own show. And sometimes, as is the case with Rachel Maddow, who was fun to watch at first but lately has run out of steam, too much is worse than too little.

Speaking of the New York Times, op-ed columnist Maureen Dowd is set to appear in a phone interview tomorrow morning on “Way Too Early” during Geist’s “Morning Buzz” segment.

Katie Couric Swipes the NYTimes’ Alessandra Stanley

Wow. This is good. In her ‘Notebook’ on, Katie Couric takes down New York Times columnist Alessandra Stanley, and she does it in the cruelest of ways: without mentioning her by name.

Last Friday night, Stanley wrote this piece on the death of Walter Cronkite. By the time editors got through with the already-published piece there were, as Couric puts it, “not one, not two but seven errors about [Cronkite's] life and career.”

And here’s where it gets good. There is no love lost between the anchor and the columnist. The most memorable Stanley story on Couric may be this 2005 take-down of the then-Today show anchor: “At the first sound of her peremptory voice and clickety stiletto heels, people dart behind doors and douse the lights,” Stanley wrote about Couric.

Well, this might be Couric’s payback. And just look at the smile on her face during the segment…

After the jump, see the long list of corrections on Stanley’s story…

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Cramer vs. Stewart: The Day After

dailyshow_3-13.bmpSo the much-hyped showdown between Jim Cramer and Jon Stewart took place last night on The Daily Show (unedited video after the jump). How did it go?:

• The New York Times’ Alessandra Stanley thought it didn’t feel like a news or entertainment interview. “Mr. Stewart treated his guest like a C.E.O. subpoenaed to testify before Congress — his point was not to hear Mr. Cramer out, but to act out a cathartic ritual of indignation and castigation,” she writes of the “Democratic Senator from Comedy Central.”

• Variety’s Brian Lowry called it a “foolish appearance” by Cramer. “How this will play out is yet to be determined, but my gut says the whole ‘feud’ will likely fade away fairly soon,” he writes. “Nevertheless, given the pain the economy continues to inflict on the public, ‘The Daily Show’ has delivered a reminder of the need for independent-minded journalism.”

• For more on the interview, check out the 1,000+ stories.

And Joe Scarborough tweeted last night that Cramer would appear exclusively on Morning Joe today to talk about the interview. But this morning he wrote: “No Cramer. Perhaps another example of oversleeping. Guess he had a late night. That is too bad. Producers told he was only talking to us.”

Despite what Erin Burnett had said the day before, Cramer wasn’t mentioned on NBC’s Today show either.

Click continued to see the unedited, uncensored (so, potentially NSFW) interview last night…

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Burnett’s Celebrity Apprentice Appearance: “Denting the Credibility”?


The New York Times’ Alessandra Stanley raises the cross-promotional question of Erin Burnett‘s recent Celebrity Apprentice appearance:

NBC keeps testing the limits between news and entertainment in pursuit of cross-promotional synergy.

Ms. Burnett, whose day job is to report on the teetering economy, was shown last Sunday night shilling for Mr. Trump. It’s one thing for NBC to promote the reputation of a business tycoon who makes money for the network; there’s no synergy in denting the credibility of one of its most visible business reporters.

Inauguration Notes: The Day After

• The New York Times’ Alessandra Stanley takes a wide look at the spectrum of TV coverage yesterday. “Viewers were never quite sure where to look: Television celebrated a new president making history, but the screen also belonged to those millions in Washington who made history just by showing up,” she writes. She also notes that through all the coverage, “The best narration was wordless.”

Paul J. Gough of The Hollywood Reporter writes about the CNN control room yesterday. “Fifty pool cameras are taking in everything at the Capitol, along with 46 high-definition cameras that CNN have set up on their own, as well as feeds from all over the country as the nation tunes in to watch Obama’s inauguration,” he writes. As for the Roberts/Obama oath flub, CNN correspondent Jeffrey Toobin said, “I almost fell out of my chair. It’s only a 35-word oath.”

• The Los Angeles TimesScott Collins writes “Fox News was the only major national TV outlet that carried a live telecast of former President Bush’s homecoming speech to cheering supporters in Midland, Texas.” While it is true FNC took the majority of the 20-minute speech, MSNBC also was live as Bush approached the podium. After he began his speech, Chris Matthews said they would monitor the feed and returned to the parade.


New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley gives her list of “top contenders” for “most compelling television moments of the year.” The list of mostly television shows includes The Wire and Mad Men, but also MSNBC’s Morning Joe:

This MSNBC early-morning political klatch is oddly addictive, even though its hosts at times come off like a cable news version of ‘American Idol.’ Joe Scarborough is Simon Cowell, the Randy Jackson role is divided between Pat Buchanan and Mike Barnicle, and Mika Brzezinski is Paula Abdul, always seeking to say something nice about politicians the others mock. Willie Geist is their Ryan Seacrest, only much funnier.