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Merrill Knox

Merrill Knox is Senior Editor of TVNewser and TVSpy. She joined Mediabistro in 2011 after four years working for "Your World with Neil Cavuto" at Fox News Channel. When she's not reading or writing, Merrill is most often found trying to anticipate the next plot twist on "Homeland." Follow her on Twitter @merrillknox or email her at merrill@mediabistro.com.

John Oliver’s New Take on the News-Comedy Genre

John OliverVariety examines how HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” fits into the news-comedy landscape, concluding that Oliver’s show is “shaking up the genre anew, providing a sort of investigative journalism that is not seen in any of the other comedy-news hybrids on the air”:

In recent weeks, Oliver has presented a segment lasting than 13 minutes on the “net neutrality” debate and one of more than 16 minutes about the troubles of dietary supplements pitched by luminaries such as Dr. Oz. He eviscerated FIFA, the governing body behind the World Cup, in a bit lasting 13 minutes and 14 seconds, according to a video posting from HBO on YouTube.

How different are Oliver’s content pieces? The typical segment on the often hard-hitting “60 Minutes” typically comes in between 11 minutes and 13 minutes, according to a spokesman for the CBS newsmagazine. Producers at “Last Week Tonight,” declined through an HBO spokeswoman to comment.

“I see Oliver as the next logical extension of the genre,” said Dannagal Young, an assistant professor at the University of Delaware who studies the use of political satire. Oliver, she said, “is going beyond traditional satire to give audience members specific directives that allow them to take action on the issues he deconstructs on the show.”

At the TVNewser Show in April, Fox News’ Bret Baier praised Oliver for his coverage of the elections in India: “After I saw that, I said ‘we are dropping the ball on that coverage.’ And it’s something that people, I think, need to know about, just for the betterment of us,” he said.

‘CBS Sunday Morning’ Has Best Q2 Since 1987

Osgood“CBS Sunday Morning” averaged 5.68 million viewers during the second quarter of 2014, its best Q2 delivery since the advent of people meters in 1987. As usual, the program won the quarter in both total viewers and the A25-54 demographic.

Compared to the year-ago quarter, “CBS Sunday Morning” was up +3% in viewers. The show averaged a 1.4 rating / 08 share in the A25-54 demographic, up from its year-ago Q2 performance. The show is also up in both ratings measurements television year-to-date.

How Charles Payne Taught Himself About Wall Street

Charles PayneFox Business Network’s Charles Payne talks to the OC Register about how he first became interested in Wall Street, a passion which eventually would lead him to a job in finance, a contributor gig at CNBC and ultimately his own FBN show:

Raised the first dozen years of his life on Army bases where his father was stationed, it was an idyllic childhood, he says. “Always living on these wonderful military bases, I never knew crime, or locking doors,” Payne says. “I never really knew violence. And then I came home one day from school and my mom said, ‘Hey, we’re leaving.’ ”

His parents’ divorce when he was 12 resulted in the culture shock of Payne and his mother and two younger brothers moving into a one-room apartment in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. As the oldest kid, Payne says he started working to help his mother provide. “I sorta hustled,” he says. “Bought paper towels and Windex and cleaned windows at stoplights. I got a job in a bodega. I went door-to-door shoveling snow in winter.”

From his neighborhood he knew little of Wall Street, he says. “Except I knew that was where all the money was made,” Payne says. “And any chance I had to get the Wall Street Journal, I would read it and read it. I started learning to teach myself about it.”

The Saturday Ticker: Bolton, Beck/Hannity, TV News Women

  • Deirdre Bolton talks about her new FBN show in Suburban Life magazine: “They’re very supportive of creativity, which is unusual in the media right now; when have a good idea, you can go for it,” she says.

Jay Carney Reflects on Fireworks With Reporters

jay carneyJust a few weeks after stepping down as White House press secretary, Jay Carney reflects on his three years in the role in a Q+A with The New York Times Magazine. Carney — who says he doesn’t know what’s next but won’t be going back to journalism full-time — talks about what it was like to stand at the podium after many years on the other side:

Were you surprised at times how tense things could get with your former colleagues? Sure. It can be surreal at the podium when you go down that front row and you have an exchange with one of the reporters in which there’s very emotional — maybe even theatrical — presentation and back and forth, and then you go to the next reporter and you have the same thing, as if the first one didn’t happen at all. You begin to wonder how valuable a service to the nation that is in the end.

Do people in the first row like to showboat? If you look at the difference in tenor between the on-camera briefings and the on-the-record-but-off-camera gaggles, it’s night and day.

Would you have fought with yourself? Probably a little bit.

Chris Wallace on Mike Wallace: ‘I Was Very Much Ingrained With This Sense of Hard Work’

Chris-Wallace2In an interview with Parade, “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace reflects on the advice he received from his father, the late “60 Minutes” correspondent Mike Wallace. “He had certainly always had advice to give me and most of the time, or at least some of the time, I listened to him,” Wallace said:

The biggest piece of advice he gave me was professionalism. Oddly enough for somebody who ended up as such a superstar, [he] never thought he was all that talented, [and] had serious doubts about his looks. He had grown up with a serious complexion problem, and so he always felt very strongly that you have to outwork the competition. It’s not going to be handed to you, and if you want to be better than somebody else, you got to work harder. I was very much ingrained with this sense of hard work, preparation, especially for interviews. When you’re talking to a mayor or a city councilman or now to a senator or a secretary of state, they’re going to know more about the subject than you are, but you can know enough that you can make it pretty clear to them, pretty quickly, that they can’t spin you, because you’ll capture them.

Sunday Show Ratings: June 29 & Q2 2014

ABC’s “This Week” won in both total viewers and the A25-54 demographic on June 29. CBS’ “Face the Nation” came in second in total viewers and Univision’s “Al Punto,” fueled by Univision’s coverage of the World Cup, came in second in the demo.

Compared to the same week last year, “Al Punto,” “This Week” and “Meet the Press” were up: Univision grew +47% in total viewers and +42% in the demo, and ABC grew +8% in total viewers and +46% in the demo. NBC was up +3% and +36%, respectively. “Fox News Sunday” was up in total viewers but down in the demo, while “Face the Nation” was down across the board.

Cable rebroadcasts of “Fox News Sunday” averaged a combined 1,955,000 total viewers and 390,000 A25-54 viewers. Rebroadcasts of “Meet the Press” delivered an additional 1,111,000 and 430,000 viewers, respectively.

“Face the Nation” is based on the first half-hour only, as the full contiguous hour aired in just 67% of the country. “Al Punto” aired at a special time due to Univision’s coverage of the World Cup.

The numbers for June 22:

Network Program Total Viewers A25-54
ABC
“This Week” 2.643M 890K
CBS
“Face the Nation” 2.588M 659K
NBC “Meet the Press” 2.549M 822K
UNI “Al Punto” 1.713M 855K
FOX “Fox News Sunday” 1.026M 290K

As for the quarter: “Face the Nation” won in total viewers and ABC’s “This Week” won the A25-54 demographic.  Read more

Who Will Be the Next Hosts of ‘The View’?

On the heels of the news that Sherri Sheppard and Jenny McCarthy are leaving “The View,” ABC said the show will be moving in a “new direction,” one that will “evolve the show creatively.” No word yet from the network about who’ll hosting next season, but in the meantime, we’re putting it to you: who do you think it will be? Vote below.

Morning Show Ratings: Week of June 23 & Q2

morningshowanchors2014“Good Morning America” wins for both the week of June 23 and the second quarter of 2014. The ABC morning show delivered its largest quarterly advantage over NBC’s “Today” in 22 years in total viewers and 21 years in the A25-54 demographic.

“CBS This Morning” was the only morning show to grow in total viewers for the quarter, +5% compared to Q2 2013. NBC (+1%) and ABC (+1%) were both flat. In the A25-54 demographic, ABC was the only show to grow, up +4% year-over-year. NBC was flat (-1%) and CBS was down -8%.

For the week of June 23, CBS up +8% in total viewers and down -5% in the demo compared to the same week last year. ABC was down -2% in total viewers and flat in the demo and NBC was down -7% and -10%, respectively.

The averages for the week of June 23, 2014:

  • Total Viewers: ABC: 4.945M / NBC: 4.301M / CBS: 2.887M
  • A25-54 viewers: ABC: 1.779M / NBC: 1.607M / CBS: 859K

The averages for Q2 2014:

  • Total Viewers: ABC: 5.542M / NBC: 4.761M / CBS: 3.053M
  • A25-54 viewers: ABC: 2.085M / NBC: 1.899M / CBS: 923K

 

Former Employees Mark 20th Anniversary of ‘America’s Talking’

america's talking logoPage Six reports several former employees of “America’s Talking” — MSNBC’s predecessor launched by Roger Ailes featuring Chris Matthews, Steve Doocy and others — recently gathered to mark the 20th anniversary of the channel’s launch:

Last Saturday night, several dozen of the 277 former employees gathered for a 20th anniversary at Social Bar in Midtown Manhattan. The all-talk channel blazed trails in online interactivity and viewing audience participation before NBC dumped it to give Microsoft a content platform.

“It was like television school for me,” said [Bill] McCuddy, now a voice-over talent and movie critic on NY1. Others in the room went on to producing and directing careers on CNN, Al Jazeera and HGTV.

“None of us would be here without Roger Ailes,” McCuddy said.“Now we have to wrap this party up because MSNBC is taking it over in 10 minutes.”

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