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Chris Ariens

Chris joined Mediabistro in July 2007 as editor of TVNewser.com and executive producer of the blog network and was promoted to editorial director in June 2009. Before joining mediabistro, Chris spent seven years at MSNBC, as a producer, coordinating producer for the Olympics, and lastly as executive producer of daytime programs., Chris worked as a producer in local TV news in Green Bay (WLUK) and Tampa (WFTS). Email chris@mediabistro.com and follow @ChrisAriens on Twitter.

Why Was the ‘Today’ Show Preempted in New Orleans Friday?

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 8.56.34 AMThe fourth hour of the “Today” show was preempted on NBC affiliate WDSU in New Orleans Friday, because of who was co-hosting.

With Kathie Lee Gifford off, Hoda Kotb invited her best friend Karen Swensen to sit in. One problem: Swensen is the main anchor at WDSU rival WWL, the CBS affiliate in New Orleans.

Instead of seeing Kotb and Swensen together again, New Orleans viewers were treated to a repeat of Queen Latifah’s show on WDSU. Kotb and Swensen met 20 years ago when both worked at WWL. Swensen left to anchor at NECN for a few years, but returned to WWL in 2010.

The preemption did sit well with some hometown fans.

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 9.06.25 AM

For its part, WDSU responded on its Faebook page: “Our decision not to air the fourth hour of the “Today Show” follows a longstanding practice. WDSU does not enable the promotion of anchors on other local television stations through roles as hosts of programs on our television station. We regret the circumstances that required us to make this decision.”

(h/t WWL.com)

NBC News Boss Thanks Staff for ‘Extraordinary Week’

LauerMiddletonNBC News president Deborah Turness emailed her staff on Friday, thanking them for “driving the success we’ve seen for such great results.” Turness pointed to three big interviews by Matt Lauer last week, including Pippa Middleton, Mary Barra and Amy Van Dyken-Rouen as well as David Gregory‘s headline-making interview with Pres. Clinton, which will be played in its entirety this morning on “Meet the Press.”

“What a week! We should all be so proud of what has been achieved. Thanks to each and every person who made it all possible,” Turness writes. Read the note in full, after the jump…

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Barbara Walters’ Return to ABC Wins the Night

WaltersRodger304Barbara Walters’ exclusive interview with Peter Rodger on “20/20″ Friday was the #1 broadcast program of the night in the two young demos: A18-49 and A25-54. With. 6.2 million viewers it came in second among total viewers to a repeat of CBS’ “Blue Bloods” which drew 6.3 million.

“20/20″ grew by double digits week-to-week in Total Viewers (+24%), Adults 18-49 (+18%) and Adults 25-54 (+13%).

“20/20′s” lead-in, the ABC News program “What Would You Do?” won its time period in A18-49, and was the second-most watched show in that demo of the night. “What Would You Do?” was also up week-to-week in Total Viewers (+16% – 4.4 million vs. 3.8 million), Adults 18-49 (+20% – 1.2/5 vs. 1.0/4) and Adults 25-54 (+33% – 1.6/6 vs. 1.2/4) topping a Meredith Vieira 2-hour special which averaged 3.82 million Total Viewers.

Scalia: ‘We Came Within One Vote of Declaring the VCR Contraband’

ScaliaAereoIn his dissenting opinion Wednesday in the case of American Broadcasters vs. Aereo, Justice Antonin Scalia hinted that it’s now up to Congress to decide if future Aereos can exist.

Scalia, along with Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, disagreed with the majority in the 6-3 decision. Scalia reminds of an earlier high court decision involving a disruptive technology. “We came within one vote of declaring the VCR contraband 30 years ago,” Scalia writes, pointing to the 1984 Universal v. Sony decision. Scalia continues:

I share the Court’s evident feeling that what Aereo is doing (or enabling to be done) to the Networks’ copyrighted programming ought not to be allowed. But perhaps we need not distort the Copyright Act to forbid it.

Hence, the proper course is not to bend and twist the Act’s terms in an effort to produce a just outcome, but to apply the law as it stands and leave to Congress the task of deciding whether the Copyright Act needs an upgrade.

 

Richard Quest Comes Out: ‘The Work I Do Here is Better Because I’m Honest About Who I Am’

QuestGay Richard Quest did something at the end of his CNN International show today, that he wished he’d done yesterday.

On “Quest Means Business” Thursday, Quest spoke with John Browne, the former CEO of British oil giant BP, who resigned in 2007 after being outed as gay by a British tabloid. Browne has written about the episode, and about life as a CEO in the closet, in “The Glass Closet: Why Coming Out Is Good for Business.”

Quest wished he used that moment to discuss his own journey. Instead, he did it today. And he decided it is indeed good for his business as a business journalist.

If I remember back to when I wasn’t open about my sexuality, I spent a great deal of time worried about it…. about what my family would think, what would my friends, my colleagues would think, and of course, what would you think. Would the fact that I’m gay affect my creditability as a business journalist? Would you watch the program differently?

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Lauer on Barra Question: I Would Have Asked a Male CEO ‘Exactly the Same Thing’

LauerBarraCNNMatt Lauer has been in the news the last couple of days — not just for his high-profile interviews with the sister of a duchess and an Olympic gold medalist — but for the way he phrased a question to General Motors CEO Mary Barra on Thursday: whether she can “do both well,” being a CEO and a mom. CNN, HLN and Fox News pounced, debating Lauer’s question. Lauer himself responded on Facebook.

I referenced this Forbes article where [Mary] Barra talked about the challenge of balancing work life and home life. It’s an issue almost any parent including myself can relate to. If a man had publicly said something similar after accepting a high-level job, I would have asked him exactly the same thing.

One of the commenters to the Facebook post was Joann Muller, who wrote the Forbes article. “I, too, am a working mother and Mary Barra and I have a lot in common. I never felt compelled to ask if a ‘mom’ could handle being CEO, because I already knew the answer. Of course, she could.”

What do you think?

Lauer’s full response after the jump…

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The TV Ticker: FNC, CNN, NBC, CNBC

  • Fox News has a new special report airing this weekend hosted by Chris Wallace. “Fox News Reporting: Iraq and the Rise of a Terrorist State” airs first tonight at 10pmET, with encores tomorrow night and Sunday night.
  • On CNN’s “Reliable Sources” Sunday, guest host Jeffrey Toobin will talk about the significance of the anchor change at ABC “World News” this week, and the future of the evening news, with former “CBS Evening News” anchor Dan Rather.

  • Monday night on NBC, Meredith Vieira hosts “Harry Potter: The Making of Diagon Alley,” an NBC News primetime special produced by Peacock Productions. Universal Orlando Resort and NBC News share the same parent company.

  • CNBC’s David Faber has a new, one-hour documentary debuting Sunday night at 9pmET. “Amazon Rising” tells the story of a visionary named Jeff Bezos who bet his fortune on the internet and created one of the most admired and feared companies in the world.

George Stephanopoulos Runs a Jeopardy! Category

GeorgeJeopardyOn Jeopardy! last night, ABC’s chief anchor George Stephanopoulos was the focus of an entire category. In the category, “A Visit with George Stephanopoulos,” the “GMA” and “This Week” host played the part of Alex Trebek reading all the clues. Most of them were about interviews Stephanopoulos has conducted. However, “Who is Diane Sawyer?” was the $400 clue.

Stephanopoulos taped them a few months ago on the “World News” set in New York. Insiders tell us anyone who attended the taping had to sign confidentiality agreements not to discuss it until the show aired. Jeopardy! producers didn’t ask for input on questions nor did they run them by Stephanopoulos’ team beforehand. Still, some of the clues were reworded during the taping, but without changing the substance.

Two different contestants answered all of the clues correctly.

Shakeup at ‘The View’

As Barbara Walters makes her return to “The View” tomorrow to promote her “20/20″ special, two other cast members are making their way toward the exit. Earlier this evening TMZ reported Sherri Shepherd was being pushed out. Not long after, Jenny McCarthy Tweeted, “If Sherri goes… I go too. #sisters.” Later, McCarthy posted this picture with Sheperd and Co-Executive Producer Bill Geddie. (Walters remains an Co-EP on the show.)

Tomorrow’s “The View” was pre-taped Wednesday, so it will be business as usual on the show. In hindsight, Walters’ splashy farewell last month presaged bigger changes for the daytime show. While Whoopi Goldberg is staying, TMZ reports former “Tonight Show” intern Ross Mathews and former NFL quarterback Jesse Palmer are on the short-list to join.

Update: B&C reports the show will be moving from its studio on the West Side of Manhattan to ABC headquarters near Central Park West, occupying Katie Couric’s former studio. For a glimpse at that studio’s green room, check out Couric’s “My First Big Break” video produced by MediabistroTV in April.

More: Statement from ABC: “The View will be moving in an exciting new direction next season and ABC has made decisions to evolve the show creatively.”

More, More: Statement from Sherri Shepherd: “It’s been seven wonderful years on The View and after careful consideration it is time for me to move on. I am extremely grateful to Barbara Walters and Bill Geddie for giving me the opportunity. I look forward to the business opportunities that lay ahead for me and I am incredibly grateful to my View family and my fans for supporting me on this journey.”

Morning Show Ratings: Week of June 16

morningshowanchors2014“Good Morning America” wins another week in the mornings. The ABC show is putting up its largest total viewer season margin over NBC’s “Today” in more than 22 years and biggest in A25-54 in 21 years.

For the week of June 16, “Today” had its closest total viewer margin with “GMA” in nearly three months and its narrowest A25-54 gap in three weeks.

Still, both “Good Morning America” and “Today” were down compared to the same week last year. “GMA” was down -6% in both total viewers and the demo, while “Today” was flat in viewers and down -6% in the A25-54 news demo.

Only No. 3 “CBS This Morning” saw growth in both measurements: up +19% in viewers and up +6% in the demo.

The averages for the week of June 16, 2014:

  • Total Viewers: ABC: 4.940M / NBC: 4.302M / CBS: 3.091M
  • A25-54 viewers: ABC: 1.791M / NBC: 1.618M / CBS: 884K

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