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Posts Tagged ‘Phil Kent’

Turner CEO Phil Kent on CNN: ‘We have some other shows that probably need to be replaced’

Turner Broadcasting CEO Phil Kent spoke at the Nomura U.S. Media & Telecom Summit today, and he spent a good deal of his time answering questions about CNN, according to B&C’s Jon Lafayette.

Kent said that he is “very unhappy” with the network’s ratings situation, and laid some groundwork for changes ahead. As we noted last week, don’t expect Erin Burnett, Piers Morgan or Anderson Cooper to see any major changes to their shows, but there will be changes coming, beyond the recently announced additions of John Berman and Anthony Bourdain.

The self-inflicted problems stems from the fact that “we haven’t put the best shows on the air,” he said.

Kent said CNN’s current primetime lineup still has “very high potential.” He called Anderson Cooper a television news star who “at this moment is not getting a star’s ratings and that’s because of lead-ins.”

Of the rest of CNN’s lineup, “we have some other shows that probably need to be replaced. This is an execution issue and to me, this is TV 101.”

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What’s With The Ratings Declines In Cable News?

2012 is shaping up to be a weird year in the Nielsen ratings. Nickelodeon, Fox, The CW and a number of other channels are crying foul over what they say is clearly incorrect ratings data coming from Nielsen (not surprisingly, they are complaining about ratings declines).

Despite it being an election year, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC were all down significantly from 2011, with FNC seeing its lowest ratings since 2008 and CNN since at least 1991.

What’s the deal? Here are a few thoughts.

People Are Sick Of Politics For a While: Fox News saw its lowest primetime numbers since July, 2008, right before the big election. Weird, right? Well, in both cases, with the GOP and Democratic nominations secured, cable news shifted to general election horse race coverage. Horse race coverage has limited mass appeal, particularly after a long, drawn-out primary process, and viewers–even regular viewers–seemed inclined to tune it out. It happened in 2008 across all of the cablers, and it appears to be happening again now. Even Turner Broadcasting CEO Phil Kent says that politics has been “pretty boring to people,” this year, according to B&C. Your average American probably doesn’t care about what the latest poll numbers mean, and won’t be making an effort to tune in and find out. Sorry.

May Sweeps and a Lack of News: May 2011 was a BIG news month. Bin Laden, Joplin, Libya, Casey Anthony. Lots of news happened that month. May 2012 had some interesting news as well, but nothing of the scope or scale of any of those mentioned. May also brings May sweeps, when the broadcasters pull out their big guns to try and draw viewers in primetime. Both of those things likely factored into the slow month. While the partisan programming on MSNBC and Fox News is more resistant to a slow news month than CNN’s programming is, all of the networks get a big boost when big news happens. In May 2012, there just wasn’t that major news story that gets your average (read: non-cable news) viewer to tune in over “Dancing With the Stars.”

It’s Nielsen’s Fault!: This isn’t news to anyone who works in TV, but the networks don’t like Nielsen. Fox News doesn’t like Nielsen, CNN doesn’t like Nielsen, USA doesn’t like Nielsen, CBS doesn’t like Nielsen, no one likes Nielsen. Some might defend Nielsen, but they don’t like Nielsen. In the five-plus years that I have been a media reporter, I have not met a single TV executive who believed that Nielsen’s numbers were truly accurate.

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Media Meshes at Mirror Awards Ceremony

Photo Courtesy: Newhouse School

Yesterday the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University held its fifth annual Mirror Awards ceremony, honoring the best in media reporting. You can read about the winners from FishbowlNY, here.

MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski hosted the event, which also presented special awards to Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley and Comcast CEO Brian Roberts.

Scarborough opened up the event with a friendly jab at his former executive producer, Chris Licht, who was in the audience.

“Our connection to the Newhouse school is through our executive producer Chris Licht. We have found working with him through the years that not only do you teach your students how to get out there in the media world and do it better than anyone else, but we have to say the trait that you instill that really means more than any other is loyalty. Sticking together through the years no matter what. How is CBS Chris?”

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes was to present the award to Roberts. The Comcast CEO was unable to attend as he was in Switzerland securing the rights to the 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020 Olympics for NBC. Bewkes took the opportunity to poke fun at his business partner… and now competitor:

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Former CNN President Burt Reinhardt Dead at 91

Reinhardt (Credit: CNN)

Former CNN president Burt Reinhardt, who led the network through a phase of enormous growth from 1983-1990, has passed away at age 91. Reinhardt was one of the network’s first employees, joining in 1979, as Ted Turner prepared the effort to launch the world’s first 24-hour news channel.

Reinhardt got his start as a combat photographer during World War II, and served as an editor of the newsreels that used to run before feature films. He got his start in TV news at UPI, where he supervised the wire agency’s TV operations.

“Burt was a colleague and also a friend. More than anyone, he built the foundation for CNN’s global leadership in news,” said Phil Kent, Chairman and CEO, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. in a statement. “He was an innovator and a mentor to many. He was one of the finest people I have known, and his loss is felt by all of his friends and colleagues across the world.”

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CNN Eyeing Shakeup at ‘Parker Spitzer?’

The Wall Street Journal’s Sam Schechner reports (Subscription required) that CNN is considering replacing Kathleen Parker on its 8 PM program “Parker Spitzer.”

Parker, of course, co-hosts the show with former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.

“Parker Spitzer” has failed to catch on with viewers since it debuted in October, delivering ratings that were down compared to what the 8 PM hour typically delivered the year before. Turner Broadcasting chief Phil Kent, who oversees CNN, acknowledged that the show had been disappointing at an investor conference last week, saying:

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Report: ‘Magic Wall’ Malfunction Frustrates John King?

The love affair between John King and his “magic wall” may be over.

While anchoring his 7pm CNN show a few days before the election, the anchor lost his temper due to “magic wall” malfunctions, according to NY Post‘s Page Six.

Sources told the Post that, on the night of Oct. 29, King exclaimed “I wish I brought a gun to work” while anchoring “John King USA” from CNN’s New York studio days before midterm election coverage.

According to some of the Post’s sources–contradicting other sources– Turner Broadcasting president Phil Kent himself reprimanded the anchor. Why King would be reprimanded by Kent rather than CNN/US chief Ken Jautz or CNN Worldwide chief Jim Walton was never explained. A CNN spokesperson said the meeting never took place.

King introduced the magic wall in 2008 for CNN’s election coverage.

A CNN spokesperson tells TVNewser that “there was no magic wall malfunction.”

“Ms. Palmeri’s latest fantasy is again full of fiction.” John King said in a statement to TVNewser. “There was no wall malfunction. No reprimand from Phil Kent and no warning from Jim Walton. There was one moment while in NY where I voiced frustration after some problems at the top of the show, but in typical fashion it’s completely distorted in the NY Post.”

Tensions Flare Between CNN and AP

cnnap_2-9.jpgThe Upshot’s Michael Calderone reports on tensions between the Associated Press and CNN.

As TVNewser first reported, CNN dropped its subscription to the AP in June, instead relying on its own news-gathering operation, with some assistance for “breaking news coverage” from Reuters.

Now, according to internal memos obtained by Calderone, the AP claims that CNN continues to use AP reporting.

One memo says:

CNN continues to rely heavily, and apparently systematically, on AP breaking news, exclusive enterprise and in-depth reporting. CNN often cites AP, in its online stories and on its cable channels, trading on AP’s valuable and respected brand and also free riding on resource intensive reporting done at AP expense. In the absence of AP, CNN is often late with breaking news stories, forced to rely on press releases and secondary sources, behind and sometimes even incorrect on critical facts and updates.

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This Is Where CNN Makes Its Money

CNNChart1.bmp

Today Time Warner hosted an “investor day” where CEO Jeff Bewkes and the various division chiefs gave updates on the state of the business. The above slide is from the presentation delivered by Phil Kent, the chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting System, which oversees CNN.

Note that this slide includes CNN U.S., CNN International, HLN and CNN Digital, so it is the combined revenue of three television networks and their respective online properties.

Kent said that operating income for 2009 was approximately $500 million, slightly higher than the estimates made by SNL Kagan. CNN says this is the first time Time Warner has broken out financial numbers for its news division.

What does it mean? We take a look after the jump.

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CNN’s Jon Klein to Staff: We Refuse to do the Things that Might Get us a Quick Number or Cater to the Extremes that Would Alienate our Core Viewers

Klein_10.27.JPGOn a day when a host of stories are headlining CNN’s fourth place finish in prime time demo for the month, CNN/U.S. president Jon Klein spent a few minutes of his morning editorial phone call to reassure the troops. “We are the lucky ones,” he concludes, in a transcript of the meeting obtained by TVNewser:

Yes, our ratings in prime were down in October. Remember – we are a 24hr network – not a 3hr network. We are also just one network in a group that attracts hundreds of millions of viewers a month. Media writers might not understand that. Our competitors don’t either. Despite the bad press we don’t lose sight of OUR business. We, CNN/U.S., still attracts millions and millions of viewers a month, more than our closest competitors. Writers don’t talk about our users — we are on air and on line, globally — rather they break it down to one part of the day.

Excellent journalism is what we are focused on. We refuse to do the things that might get us a quick number or cater to the extremes that would alienate our core viewers. It’s important to work at it every day – it’s our mission. It’s the key to our growth. If we are outstanding ALL the time (and we are getting better and better at it) we will have an impact over time.

I’m convinced of it, as is Jim Walton, Phil Kent and Jeff Bewkes. And to top it off, we get to have fun doing the GREAT journalism. We are the lucky ones.

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