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Posts Tagged ‘Sam Feist’

Jay Shaylor Named EP of ‘The Situation Room’

logoCNN has named Jay Shaylor executive producer of “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”

Shaylor joins CNN from ABC News, where he served as senior producer on “Good Morning America.” He starts at CNN in a few weeks.

“While at GMA, Jay was part of the leadership team that brought the morning program to number one,” wrote CNN DC bureau chief Sam Feist and VP of DC programming Eric Sherling in a note to staff obtained by TVNewser. “He is an Emmy, Peabody, and Murrow Award-winning journalist who brings to CNN extensive experience managing breaking stories from the control room and the field.”

Shaylor replaces Patricia DiCarlo, who had been EP of “The Situation Room” since 2010. DiCarlo is now director of CNN’s investigations unit.

Feist and Sherling’s note, after the jump.
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Turning Down the Volume for ‘Crossfire’ 2.0


New “Crossfire” hosts (l-r) Stephanie Cutter, Van Jones, S.E. Cupp and Newt Gingrich.

When last we saw CNN’s “Crossfire,” it resembled a scene from “Animal House,” minus the togas.

Eight years later, “Crossfire” has learned its manners, according to CNN. Hosts will use their indoor voices, and will allow each other to finish sentences. The experiment begins at 6:30 tonight, with Newt Gingrich and Stephanie Cutter on set with two guests.

“You have to wait for someone to finish, then make your point,” says CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist, who began his CNN career as a “Crossfire” intern in 1989. “We get that. Obviously, it’s something to be mindful of. At the same time, we want to have passionate conversations.”

Even with what’s being billed as a kinder, gentler “Crossfire,” the question remains as to whether the conservative-vs.-liberal roundtable, launched in 1982, matters anymore in a radically altered cable topography.

Given that Fox News and MSNBC have become so polarized, a political program with both sides equally represented is more important than ever, says Charles Bierbauer, Dean of the University of South Carolina’s College of Mass Communications and a CNN correspondent for 20 years.

“Whatever happened to the guy in the middle?” he opines.  “I, as a viewer, like more than one point of view on issues. We’ve evolved, or devolved, to the notion that tuning into Fox gives you a right wing, conservative perspective and tuning into MSNBC gives you a left wing, liberal perspective.”

Going a step further, Feist says CNN “is the only cable-news channel that is capable of hosting “Crossfire” in an authentic way…. We’re bipartisan. Our job is to represent all points of view. It’s hard to imagine viewers would trust other channels to offer a debate program with equally balanced hosts and guests.”

“Balance” often leads to a deafening decibel level. Toward the end, this was “Crossfire’s” hallmark, fueled even more by a vocal studio audience. In his infamous 2004 appearance, Jon Stewart decried the cacophony, which led, in part, to ex-CNN chief Jonathan Klein’s decision to euthanize the show.

“Crossfire’s” approach was emblematic of the time’s ‘argument culture,’ says Amy S. Mitchell, new director of Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

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Newt Gingrich, Stephanie Cutter Set to Host ‘Crossfire’ Debut

Newt Gingrich and Stephanie Cutter are the two hosts for the debut edition of “Crossfire” Monday night, CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist revealed on a conference call with reporters this afternoon. Van Jones and S.E. Cupp are slated to host on Tuesday.

The nightly program will feature two hosts and two guests each night. Each half-hour show will focus exclusively on one topic, which Feist said will give the show “a great deal more depth.”

“None of us are known for shying away from a good debate. But we’ll get beyond the talking points. We’ll get beyond the one-liners,” Cutter said. “We are debaters. We like to discuss the issues. At times, we may get fiery. But we’ll always get beyond the talking points and get to the heart of the matter.”

Look for more on the “Crossfire” debut from TVNewser columnist Gail Shister on Monday.

Scot Safon Out At HLN, Andrew Morse Joins CNN In Leadership Rejiggering

CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker is reorganizing his executive team in a big way.

For starters, after 22 years at the company HLN chief Scot Safon will be departing at the end of August. Current CNN/U.S. chief and former HLN executive VP Ken Jautz will manage HLN in the interim.

“Recently, Scot approached me with the desire to take a well-deserved break, and to move on to the next phase of his career,” Zucker wrote in a memo to staff this morning. “I have enjoyed working with Scot, and I am truly sorry to see him go. But I do understand the desire to do something new.”

The CNN Worldwide chief also confirmed the addition of Bloomberg TV’s Andrew Morse, who will become senior VP of domestic newsgathering and digital editorial, reporting to Zucker. Meredith Artley, Sam Feist and Terence Burke will all now report to Morse.

Michael Bass will oversee New York and Atlanta programming, while talent and acquisitions chief Amy Entelis will now report directly to Zucker. Ken Jautz will oversee operations and finance at CNN/U.S. while managing HLN in Safon’s absence.

Tony Maddox will be giving up some of his domestic newsgathering responsibilities to focus exclusively on international coverage.

Zucker’s full memo, below.
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Evan Perez, Lisa Desjardins Join CNN Washington Bureau

CNN’s Washington bureau is adding two reporters, Evan Perez and Lisa Desjardins, to its ranks. Washington bureau chief Sam Feist announced the hires in an email to staffers this afternoon.

Perez will be a Justice reporter for CNN. He comes to the network from the Wall Street Journal, where he has worked since 1998 covering justice, crime and national security. In his new role, which begins July 28, he will appear on CNN as well as contribute regularly to CNN.com.

Desjardins joins the Capitol Hill unit from recently-shuttered CNN Radio. She will be a Capitol Hill reporter as well as work on enterprise reporting and breaking stories for the network, both on-air and online. She begins immediately.

Read Feist’s full memo after the jump. Read more

CNN Taps Rebecca Kutler As ‘Crossfire’ EP

CNN has tapped Rebecca Kutler to be the executive producer of the revamped “Crossfire,” which will launch later this Fall.

Kutler is a CNN veteran, having served previously as a senior producer and an executive producer for the channel’s morning, weekday and primetime programming, including a stint as EP of “John King USA.” She also worked as a producer on the most recent election and inauguration coverage, and previously served as press secretary to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).

“Rebecca brings to Crossfire extensive experience producing political programs and also years of experience on Capitol Hill as a Congressional staffer,” wrote CNN DC bureau chief Sam Feist and CNN director of DC programming Eric Sherling in an email to staff. “Rebecca’s passion for news, politics, and great debate make her the perfect choice for this role.”

Their email to staff is after the jump.

CNN formally announced the revamped “Crossfire” last month, which will be co-hosted by S.E. Cupp, Newt Gingrich, Van Jones and Stephanie Cutter.

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2013 TVNewser Bracket Challenge Update

“First Thursday,” the big kick-off for March Madness, is over, and with it the 2013 TVNewser March Madness bracket challenge really gets started.

This early in the game everyone is really close, but a few people have separated themselves from the pack.

CNBC’s Brian Schactman leads the way, with his colleague Joe Kernen and CNN’s Brooke Baldwin right behind him. Right now Lisa Sylvester, Wolf Blitzer, Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell are at the bottom of the pack, but there is plenty of time for a comeback.

Take a look at the full standings, after the jump.
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TVNewser’s 2013 March Madness Bracket Challenge

Spring is here (even though it may not feel like it where you are) and with it comes the sweet sound of sneakers on hardwood: the NCAA March Madness college basketball tournament.

Every year we have some of the best and brightest from the world of TV news come together in one competition to see who is tops at picking winners and losers.

Ultimately there can be only one winner, and they get the chance to brag about their picking prowess for all to see. 2012′s winner was Fox Business Network stocks editor Liz MacDonald. Liz wont be participating this year, but 2011′s winner Dominic Chu is back to try and reclaim the title.

Here is your 2013 TVNewser March Madness lineup:

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Dana Bash Promoted to Chief Congressional Correspondent at CNN

Dana Bash has been promoted to chief Congressional correspondent at CNN.

“Week in and week out, Dana’s reporting and analysis make our air better. And we saw it again yesterday with Dana’s relentless efforts to land interviews in the Capitol Rotunda during our Inauguration coverage,” CNN Washington Bureau chief Sam Feist wrote in a note to staffers Tuesday evening.

Bash moved to Capitol Hill from the White House beat in 2006. Before her on-air position with the White House unit, she was the Capitol Hill producer for CNN as well as an editor in the network’s Washington bureau. Her promotion is effective immediately.

Networks, Candidates Divided Over Use of Split-Screen Shot During Debate Coverage

As the networks gear up for the second debate of election season, the New York Times shines a spotlight on a common element of debate coverage: the split-screen shot, which has “long bedeviled presidential candidates who — no matter how many times they are reminded — seem to sometimes forget that they are still on camera even when they are not speaking.”

The major networks and cable news outlets — ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox News — all say they plan to use split-screen shots regularly throughout the vice-presidential debate. Fox said it was even considering using them more than it did during the presidential debate last week in Denver.

Campaigns have tried with varying degrees of success to limit television networks from using what are known as “reaction shots” of candidates. … But what the candidates demand and what the networks actually televise are often two different things. By now, the split screen has become just another device to keep viewers stimulated, a product of the 24-7 news cycle like the breaking news crawl at the bottom of the screen.

“We want to give our viewers the opportunity to see both candidates as frequently as possible,” said Sam Feist, CNN’s Washington bureau chief. “In a presidential debate, the image of the candidate who is listening is frequently as interesting as the candidate who is talking.”

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