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Posts Tagged ‘Bill Carter’

Jeff Zucker: CNN Won’t be ‘Shamed’ Into Benghazi Coverage

JeffZuckerCNNCapital New York reports CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker won’t allow CNN to be “shamed” into covering special committee hearings on the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

“We’re not going to be shamed into it by others who have political beliefs that want to try to have temper tantrums to shame other news organizations into covering something,” Zucker told the New York TimesBill Carter at last night’s Deadline Club awards dinner. “If it’s of real news value, we’ll cover it.”

The “others” Zucker was likely referring to were his competitors at Fox News and MSNBC; both networks rededicated coverage to the Benghazi story earlier this month when new emails were uncovered showing White House adviser Ben Rhodes providing former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice talking points before her Sunday show interviews several days after the attack.

And while continuing to defend his network’s Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 coverage, Zucker acknowledged one regrettable moment.

“He was being facetious, but it did not come off that way,” Zucker said about anchor Don Lemon asking a guest if a black hole possibly sucked in the plane. “And he knows that if he could do it over again, he wouldn’t quite present it that way.”

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CNN’s New Ratings Heights with Malaysia Airlines Mystery

WhitfieldPlaneCNN’s nonstop coverage of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 continued to pay off in the form of ratings wins throughout the weekend. Since the beginning of the coverage (March 8) through Sunday night, CNN has grown +68% in total viewers and +79% in A25-54 viewers in Total Day, and +72% in total viewers and +91% in A25-54 viewers in primetime. On Saturday, Fox News won the day in total viewers and in the A25-54 demo, as it always does. But CNN was No. 1 in both measurements — a very rare feat — between 3-6pmET.

3pm, Saturday, 3/15
CNN: 970,000 / 291,000
FNC: 964,000 / 282,000
MSNBC: 315,000 / 69,000

4pm, Saturday, 3/15
CNN: 1.062M / 288,000
FNC: 728,000 / 194,000
MSNBC: 290,000 / 70,000

5pm, Saturday, 3/15
CNN: 1.121M / 313,000
FNC: 702,000 / 148,000
MSNBC: 201,000 / 77,000

On Sunday, CNN pulled out a win in the demo for both total day and primetime viewing, and was again No. 1 among total viewers between 4-6pmET. The last time CNN came in first in the demo on a Sunday was August 11, 2013, which was the conclusion of Hannah Anderson kidnapping.

4pm, Sunday, 3/16
CNN: 999,000 / 290,000
FNC: 939,000 / 154,000
MSNBC: 278,000 / 79,000

5pm, Sunday, 3/16
CNN: 1.189M / 380,000
FNC: 828,000 / 120,000
MSNBC: 220,000 / 80,000

Last week’s intense coverage of MH370 also made ratings history on CNN.

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Brian Stelter On NBC’s Response to ‘Top of the Morning,’ Negative Reviews

Though the critics have skewered his first book, Brian Stelter chooses to see the coffee cup as half full.

“Honestly, I appreciate the feedback,” says Stelter, 27, author of Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV, and a media reporter for the New York Times. (Full disclosure: Stelter founded TVNewser when he was a college student)

“I’m not making this up,” he continues. “I want to learn how to be a better writer and reporter. I do think normal readers come away really happy, really entertained.”

‘Normal readers’ probably don’t include a trio of power players, past and present, from NBC. ‘Morning’ paints a less than flattering portrait of ‘Today’ co-anchor Matt Lauer; his former boss, Jim Bell; and ex-NBC News president Steve Capus.

All were involved, to varying degrees, in the ham-handed – and excruciatingly public — ouster of Lauer’s co-anchor, Ann Curry, according to the book. Bell had dubbed it ‘Operation Bambi,’ not knowing, of course, that Curry would come out looking as innocent and victimized as the white-tailed fawn in his title.

Lauer is the clear villain of the piece, prompting Entertainment Weekly to accuse Stelter of having a ‘vendetta’ against the mega-millionaire anchor.

Stelter labels the accusation as ‘preposterous.’

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TV News Executives And Talent Toast ‘Top Of The Morning’ At Book Party

Last night the media elite gathered at the rooftop of The Park in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood to toast New York Times media reporter Brian Stelter‘s book Top of the Morning.

As the sun set over the Hudson River and the High Line park, guests sipped wine and nibbled on hummus, cheese and skewers of shrimp and scallops. NY1 traffic anchor Jamie Shupak, Stelter’s girlfriend, organized the affair.

Matt Lauer and Ann Curry send their regrets,” Stelter quipped in his remarks. Indeed, NBC’s “Today” was not represented at the party, though there were plenty of notable TV news attendees.

ABC News seemed to have the largest contingent, led by president Ben Sherwood, and joined by senior VP of content and development James Goldston, and senior VP of communications Jeffrey Schneider. CBS News was represented by chairman Jeff Fager and “CBS This Morning” co-host Charlie Rose (pictured below). NY1′s morning news anchor Pat Kiernan was there, as was CNN “Piers Morgan Live” EP (and former “Today” EP) Jonathan Wald. Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley, New York Post publisher Jesse Angelo and Gawker founder Nick Denton were all spotted in the crowd.
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Will a TV Show About the News be More Compelling Than the Real Thing?

I admire Aaron Sorkin, but he gives me a headache. By the time his characters finish a monologue, I’m ready for a nap.

Sorkin’s latest work, “The Newsroom,” which debuts Sunday on HBO, is no exception. In the pilot’s opening scene, set at a J-school panel, cable newsman Will McAvoy delivers a breathless tirade that, while eloquent, lasts longer than most network sitcoms.

In an homage to Paddy Chayefsky’s “Network,” McAvoy, played by Jeff Daniels, explodes when the moderator goads him into answering a student question about why America is the greatest country on earth. It’s not, he says, and here’s why.

Citing reams of statistics that someone in his line of work could not possibly know – another Sorkin trademark — McAvoy ends on a hopeful note. The speech will change the direction of his career from a bland ‘Jay Leno’ to a take-no-prisoners anchor of the Old School, like Murrow, Cronkite and Brinkley.

Images of those very men are in “Newsroom’s” opening montage, along with those of Dan Rather and legendary producer Don Hewitt. They are Sorkin’s heroes, he says. To that end, the underlying message of “Newsroom” is that it’s not too late to create a civil, intelligent newscast they would have been proud of.

News junkies will not be able to resist this show, despite the fact that some of the plotlines are ridiculous and that Sorkin writes like he’s getting paid by the word. Programs about the TV news business are rare. The last good one, Sorkin’s “Sports Night,” ended 12 years ago.

Sorkin reportedly based “Sports Night” on Keith Olbermann, but he’s denied that Olbermann was his muse for McAvoy.

Please. McAvoy is wicked smart, totally self-involved, highly temperamental and loathed by his staff. “I’m not the easiest guy to work for,” he tells his boss, Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston), news division president at fictional network ACN. Skinner has a short fuse and drinks a lot.

It pains me to say this, but Waterston, one of my favorite actors, is a tad old for the role. He punches out his lines like every breath will be his last. Daniels, on the other hand, is in his element,

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What’s For Breakfast TV? Stunts & Celebrities and ‘Journalism Suffers’

The TV critics are assessing last week’s morning show stunts.

“Television news now feasts on fame, the gaudier the better, with journalistic credentials a mere afterthought,” writes Newsweek/Daily Beast’s Howie Kurtz, who talked to two former “Today” show hosts about last week’s ratings grabbers — including Sarah Palin co-hosting last Tuesday — a response to Katie Couric‘s fill-in on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

The star-making machinery has changed. When Today tapped Jane Pauley in 1976, she says, “I was 25 years old, four years out of college. I was extremely unknown.” Today alumnus Bryant Gumbel, who says he was “embarrassed” by the Palin stint, believes hosts “used to be judged not just on their popularity level but the extent to which they were capable of interviewing someone or reporting on a situation, or able to have a degree of gravitas. Now that is secondary to being popular.”

The New York Times’ Bill Carter and Brian Stelter sum up the week and the ongoing horse race between “Today” and “GMA,” revealing Katie Couric could return to ABC’s mornings:

Senior ABC staff members characterized NBC’s stunt bookings as desperate. But those at NBC suggested that ABC’s use of Ms. Couric, who left ‘Today’ in 2006, and the overall win-at-all-costs approach showed desperation. [GMA Senior EP Tom] Cibrowski disputed that and said Ms. Couric could fill in again in the future, perhaps when Mr. Stephanopoulos takes a vacation.

As of Thursday’s ratings, “Today” was holding off the hard-charging “GMA.” We’ll have Friday’s Fast National numbers this afternoon, and final weekly ratings for last week on Thursday.

Pat Buchanan May Not Return to MSNBC

The NYT’s Bill Carter, covering MSNBC’s panel this morning at the Winter TCA, reports political analyst Pat Buchanan may not be returning to MSNBC afterall. Buchanan, who has been a frequent guest for much of the network’s 15 years, hasn’t been on for months. MSNBC president Phil Griffin asked Buchanan “not to be on” while he’s promoting his book, “Suicide of a Superpower.”

“Pat and I are going to meet soon and a decision will be made.” Griffin added, “Pat is a good guy. Some of his ideas are alarming.”

The book describes how America has become “a multiracial, multicultural, multilingual, multiethnic stew of a nation that has no successful precedent in the history of the world.”

“The ideas he put forth aren’t really appropriate for national dialogue, much less the dialogue on MSNBC,” says Griffin.

InsideCableNews, which, earlier this week raised the question about Buchannan’s prolonged absence, concludes that this says less about Buchanan and more about MSNBC.

Pat has not changed. He may be a bit more vocal and shrill about it but he hasn’t changed his positions. On the other hand, MSNBC has changed. It openly courts Progressive views and news. It puts out job ads asking for candidates with a progressive news background. Its pundit host class is all progressive and the network lets them show up en masse at the White House for off the record get togethers.

Keith Olbermann’s New Job: Current TV

TVNewser learned earlier today that Keith Olbermann would make an announcement tomorrow as to where he’ll be next after he left “Countdown.”

But the news broke sooner than expected.

The New York TimesBill Carter and Brian Stelter wrote today that Olbermann will be going to Current TV.

Carter and Stelter wrote that Olbermann and his representatives would not deny the story and an anonymous source told them that the former MSNBC host would have an equity stake in Current TV.

Current TV has prepared a presentation for Wednesday morning in New York City to announce the channel’s future plans.

We’ll be listening to the conference call tomorrow and will update with the details.

Greta vs. Bill Carter Escalates: Emails and “Agenda” Accusations

Remember what Greta Van Susteren had to say about Bill Carter‘s CNN ratings story? WebNewser has the latest in the back-and-forth, which includes Carter writing “somehow I get the feeling facts do not penetrate the parallel universe conservatives have chosen to inhabit” in an email…

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Glenn Beck: “If You Take What I Say As Gospel, You’re An Idiot”

beck_3-30.jpgFox News Channel’s Glenn Beck, “suddenly one of the most powerful media voices for the nation’s conservative populist anger,” is featured in a front page story in the New York Times today.

“With a mix of moral lessons, outrage and an apocalyptic view of the future, Mr. Beck, a longtime radio host who jumped to Fox from CNN’s Headline News channel this year, is capturing the feelings of an alienated class of Americans,” writes Brian Stelter and Bill Carter.

Beck says the times are “so serious now that I find myself sometimes being the guy I don’t want to be — the guy saying things that are sometimes pretty scary, but nobody else is willing to say them.”

Several people give their take on Beck’s sudden surge, including MSNBC president Phil Griffin: “That’s good dramatic television. That’s who Glenn Beck is.” And conservative commentator David Frum who calls Beck’s rise, “a product of the collapse of conservatism as an organized political force, and the rise of conservatism as an alienated cultural sensibility.”

Beck has said viewers should make up their own mind on issues rather than take his opinion outright. “I say on the air all time, ‘if you take what I say as gospel, you’re an idiot,’” he says.

This morning on the Media Menu podcast, Stelter told us he thinks the ratings success will sustain. “A month ago I was more skeptical than I am now,” he said, adding, “March has been a pretty average month by news standards and he’s still knocking it out of the park.”

And while he’s featured on the front page today, Beck had a different use for the New York Times last week. Click continued to see a fishy segment from his FNC program…

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