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Archives: January 2011

1994 ‘Today’ Hosts ask ‘What is the internet anyway?’

The “Today” show this morning took a look back at an old clip from the show circa 1994 in which Bryant Gumbel asks “What is internet anyway?” and former host Katie Couric explains that it’s a “massive computer network.”

'Unwatchable' Pro Bowl Wins Sunday Night Ratings

Sunday night’s Pro Bowl was an unmitgated disaster in terms of quality on the field. That didn’t stop America from watching, however.

The game helped Fox win the evening. Of course, the competition was weaker than the tackling in the Pro Bowl. But still, a victory is a victory, right?

As far as advertising revenue goes, we imagine FOX was able to charge more than $700 per spot.

PBS ‘Need to Know’ Wants to Know About Its Future

The weekly PBS newsmagazine “Need to Know” is in the awkward position of not knowing what its future holds. As The NY Times notes, PBS has not decided whether to renew the program yet.

Like all PBS programs, the show is produced by a local station, in this case New York’s WNET has been receiving feedback from other stations that broadcast the show, both positive and negative.

One thing that seems clear: of the two anchors, Alison Stewart and Jon Meacham, Stewart looks far more comfortable in front of the camera. So if changes do get made in a second season, it looks like Meacham might be in the hot seat.

As the Times notes, it comes down to the budget:

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Road to the Super Bowl Kicks of 41st Year on Sunday

What do you get when you take 1.7 million feet of game film and reduce it to 980? Tired interns for one. Also, the 2010 (2011?) edition of Road to the Super Bowl.

The one-hour special debuts at noon on Super Bowl Sunday. The longest-running and most-honored annual sports special – if you’re going to be in a niche category, you should dominate it, we guess – will be shown for the 41st straight year. Highlights include 400 hours of exclusive audio and a 60-person choir. Also football. Lots and lots of football.

“For those who love football, this show is red meat,” said NFL Films president Steve Sabol. “No interviews, no talking heads, all action.”

Maybe the executives in charge of the Super Bowl pre-game show could take notes?

The full release is after the jump.
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More Arrivals, More Delays as American Journalists Enter Egypt

CNN’s Anderson Cooper arrived in Cairo yesterday and anchored two hours last night with Wolf Blitzer in Washington. Cooper, who Tweeted Saturday night that he was en route, has not Tweeted since.

CNBC’s Erin Burnett is in Cairo. She reported for NBC Nightly News and as part of a CNBC two-hour live special hosted by Melissa Francis and Tyler Mathisen last night as the global markets opened. Burnett was back on this morning on “Today,” MSNBC and CNBC. NBC’s Lester Holt is en route but is having a difficult time getting in. Kate Snow anchored weekend Nightly News both days.

Geraldo Rivera hosted his Fox News program for two hours Saturday and Sunday nights with reports from FNC Middle East & South Asia Correspondent Dominic Di-Natale.

ABC’s Christiane Amanpour, who hosted “This Week” from Cairo Sunday, was on “Good Morning America” today.

Hockey Players Are Just So Charming

The 2011 NHL All-Star game weekend was a huge success. You know why? (Other than the 21 goals scored in the exhibition?) Because of the players.

The New York Times puts together a nice story on the fun the competitors were having.

There was humor everywhere. Alex Ovechkin told the international television audience that he and his Washington teammate Mike Green had missed their flight to Raleigh because “we were in a bar.” Later, Ovechkin grinned devilishly while using his camera phone to videotape the last man chosen, Toronto’s Phil Kessel, as Kessel shifted uncomfortably in his chair.

As we saw in 24/7, the stars of the NHL are goofy guys, happily playing a sport they love. This shows when they do press with a smile and a laugh. In a world where athletes are (understandably) buttoned up and on point, Ovechkin and the rest are a welcome revelation.

Can we get Caroline Wozniacki involved in next year’s All-Star weekend somehow?

A video of the Skills Competition is after the jump. You know, because any time you can watch goalies race around the ice, you gotta to it.
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Brokaw: ‘Where it got sticky is when our commentators were anchoring political coverage’

NBC's Tom Brokaw, Tim Russert, and Russert's white board, on election night 2000.

The Chicago Tribune‘s Phil Rosenthal talks with NBC Newman Tom Brokaw ahead of Brokaw’s visit to Illinois next week. Brokaw talked about the Comcast deal, the “incompatible roles” of MSNBC hosts and the state of media today. As for MSNBC, the news division’s senior statesman says:

“Listen, we’re better off than (ABC and CBS) because we do have cable. Where it got sticky is when our commentators were anchoring political coverage. Those are, in some ways, incompatible roles. We worked our way through that.”

That was the case on election night 2010. With Keith Olbermann‘s departure, it is yet to be seen how MSNBC execs will incorporate the other opinion hosts — Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz and Lawrence O’Donnell — into 2012 primary and general election night coverage.

On the topic of Olbermann, Brokaw told Rosenthal: “You’re not going to get me to go there,”

“All of our component parts — NBC News, MSNBC, CNBC –are much bigger than one player, and I include myself in that,” Brokaw said.

Brokaw will be in Chicago next Thursday to honor the late Tim Russert at a benefit for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

The NFL Labor War Will Be Fought Through the Media

Peter King has an extremely long Roger Goodell profile appearing in this week’s Sports Illustrated and he takes the opportunity to preview it in this week’s Monday Morning Quarterback.

One of the bits that didn’t make it into the column is a soundbyte from Goodell about the coming labor negotiations. The commissioner takes a shot across the bow of the Players’ Union.

“The damage will start occurring and escalating by March. I say that on all levels. The owners will be forced to take certain steps, the players forced to go to litigation and perhaps decertification [of the union], and those things that are difficult to unwind. Will fans put money down for season tickets? Will sponsors set aside money to advertise on games they’re not sure will be played? My fear is that players think there won’t be any damage done until we miss games. Not true. Also, what’s your free-agency window going to be if this goes far?”

The battle in the media is going to revolve around each side convincing the fans that the other doesn’t have their best interest in mind. So when Goodell says, “My fear is that players think there won’t be any damage done until we miss games,” he’s really telling the masses that the players are thinking about themselves.

What Will Become of NBC News and MSNBC in a Post-Comcast World?

In Variety this weekend, Paul J. Gough looks at what NBC News and MSNBC can expect, now that they are a part o the Comcast family (subscription required).

Spoiler alert: don’t expect too many changes.

The Olbermann affair highlighted the fact that Comcast execs, with no deep experience running a news division and a preference for staying under the radar, may find NBC News and MSNBC much harder to run than E! or the Golf Channel. And the Olbermann headlines have only increased expectations that Comcast will seek to make a major show of support for NBC News while the dust settles on the merger.

“We will be good to our word — and we will be respectful stewards of the strong and iconic assets of NBC Universal, particularly NBC News,” Comcast exec veep David Cohen wrote in a Jan. 18 memo outlining the final details of the company’s agreements with the FCC and Dept. of Justice.

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Al Jazeera English Leads Egypt Coverage, But Most Americans Still Can’t Watch It

While some of the American TV networks are receiving praise for their coverage of the situation in Egypt (ABC News and CNN come to mind) there is little doubt that the one network receiving the most praise from media critics is Al Jazeera English.

Even after the Egyptian government revoked its broadcast license, the network continued to broadcast to the rest of the world. This morning six Al Jazeera reporters were detained by the military. They have since been released, but their equipment has been confiscated.

While Al Jazeera English is available via an online stream here in the U.S., it is only available on cable TV through a few small cable providers in places like Vermont and Washington DC.

Journalism professor Jeff Jarvis has started a campaign called “We Want Our Al Jazeera English Now,” but will the big guys like Comcast or Time Warner Cable take that cue?

Probably not.

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