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Archives: March 2012

A Kiss Before Flying. Jane Velez-Mitchell Has No ‘Issues’ at NLGJA Fundraiser

Actual news got in the way of last night’s annual New York fundraiser for the journalism group NLGJA. Soledad O’Brien, who was to co-host with her HLN colleague Jane Velez-Mitchell, couldn’t as she moderated CNN’s Trayvon Martin town hall which airs tonight.

Don Lemon jetted up from Atlanta to co-host with Velez-Mitchell, who mixed and mingled before making a beeline for Time Warner Center herself to participate in the town hall.

Velez-Mitchell made the biggest splash of the night when, during her welcome remarks to the crowd, she pulled her girlfriend on stage and planted a big kiss on her. “I won’t be doing that!” Lemon joked. “Ben doesn’t like that kind of thing,” he said glancing over to his partner, Ben Tinker, who is a producer in CNN’s medical unit.

CNN managing editor Mark Whitaker talked about his network’s commitment to diversity in the ranks and on the air. CNN was the lead sponsor for the event which was held at the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams showroom in SoHo.

Also spotted in the crowd: NBC News VP Alex Wallace, former “Today” show co-anchor Meredith Vieira, “CBS This Morning” co-host Erica Hill, MSNBC’s Willie Geist, former MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer and Fox News meteorologist Rick Reichmuth.

We chatted with FBN’s Gerri Willis who told us she has a new appreciation for the work of the Supreme Court after anchoring her show from Washington during oral arguments on the health care law. We also caught up with Fox News’s Alisyn Camerota and new Fox News political analyst Sally Kohn, who is settling in to her role as progressive pundit both on air and online, which

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Two Departures at Bloomberg TV’s London Bureau

Anchor Andrea Catherwood and producer Gary Kanofsky have both left Bloomberg TV’s London bureau.

A Bloomberg spokesperson confirmed the departures, saying they are not related to a round of layoffs Bloomberg announced last week.

Kanofsky’s departure comes just eight months after he joined the network as senior executive producer. Catherwood, the host of “The Last Word” on Bloomberg Europe, joined the network from ITV News in 2009.

CNN Goes ‘Beyond Trayvon,’ Searches for Solutions

More than 12 hours after “Starting Point,” CNN’s Soledad O’Brien finished her Thursday moderating a town hall on the Trayvon Martin killing.

TVNewser attended the taping in front of a live studio audience at Time Warner Center. The more than two-and-a-half hour town hall will be condensed into a one hour program airing tonight. Among the panelists were Martin family lawyer Benjamin Crump, New York streetfighter Curtis Sliwa, former NAACP president C.L. Bryant and HLN host Jane Velez-Mitchell.

While many of the panelists seemed to take the side of Trayvon Martin, it was left to O’Brien to challenge her guests about George Zimmerman‘s side of things. Zimmerman, the armed neighborhood watchman, has not gone public with his story, leaving that to his lawyer, friends and family members.

One of the night’s most vocal audience reactions came during a discussion of the media’s role in the case, when Geraldo Rivera‘s hoodie comments were played for the crowd. Although O’Brien noted Rivera has since apologized, the panel — including Roland Martin, no stranger to controversy himself — took the Fox News anchor to task for his remarks.

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Weather Channel Shaking Up ‘Wake Up With Al’

Starting in mid-April, The Weather Channel’s “Wake Up with Al” will have a decidedly different vibe, as the show originates from New York, rather than Weather’s Atlanta headquarters.

Co-host Al Roker usually hosts the show from New York, with his colleague Stephanie Abrams joining him via video from Atlanta. For the next few months however Abrams will be joining Roker in New York. A Weather Channel tipster tells us that the move is a “tryout,” designed to see how the chemistry looks when Roker and Abrams are in the same room rather than in different states. If the results are positive, the show may originate from New York permanently.

To go along with her temporary move, Abrams will also be hosting “Your Weather Today” from New York.

Is Roger Ailes the Right Pick to Lead a Fox Sports Channel?

Forbes’ Jeff Bercovici thinks — although we’re not so sure for the very reasons he lays out in his story — that Roger Ailes would be the key to a successful News Corp. challenge to ESPN. “If there’s one person in the television business who could take on the Worldwide Leader and win, it’s Ailes,” writes Bercovici.

If I were [News Corp. chairman Rupert] Murdoch, I would strongly consider putting Ailes in charge of the new network. (As it stands, Fox Sports chairman David Hill is reported to be leading the effort.) Maybe he wouldn’t want the job. Maybe he’d have trouble working up the necessary spittle for something that’s not his primary passion, politics. (The last network he launched, Fox Business, frequently feels more like a political channel than a business channel.) Maybe, at 72, he’s not inclined to undertake a new multi-year campaign. That would be a shame. If there’s one person in the television business who could take on the Worldwide Leader and win, it’s Ailes.

Coming Next Week: Morning Show Shenanigans

The decision to have Katie Couric co-anchor “Good Morning America” next week really has little to do with her upcoming ABC talk show. Sure, the network wants to drive some early awareness in advance of the Fall debut, but that was not the main impetus behind putting Couric in the anchor chair next week.

Two sources at ABC–one at ABC News and another at a local affiliate–tell TVNewser that the decision to have Couric fill-in for Robin Roberts was really about one thing: ending NBC’s 800+ week winning streak in the morning.

That is why the network chose to announce the Couric stunt Thursday: it would give enough time to promote her appearance, while also making it difficult for “Today” to fire back with a stunt or “get” of its own. During sweeps NBC brings out the big guns, but not for what was expected to be an otherwise typical week in April.

All of this begs the next logical question: how will NBC respond? One of the more likely scenarios has NBC screwing around with “Today”‘s commercial breaks, as outlined by the New York TimesBill Carter:
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A Big Weekend for ‘Face the Nation’

This is a big few days for the CBS Sunday public affairs show “Face the Nation.” Today the show launched a shiny new website, which is heavy on graphic elements. On Sunday the guest will be Vice President Joe Biden, a big get for any show. And of course the biggest thing: on Sunday “Face the Nation” expands from a half-hour to a full-hour, putting it on par with its competition on NBC, ABC and Fox.

Moderator Bob Schieffer spoke to the AP’s David Bauder about the move, saying he “almost fainted” when he got the news that the show would be expanding:

“Tim [Russert] was the best of the best,” Schieffer said. “But the fact of the matter is what propelled them to No. 1 is they went to an hour and they were the first to do that. When they did that, it left us in the dust.”

Schieffer repeatedly nagged his bosses to follow suit. He made the same speech when Jeff Fager and David Rhodes took over last year, not expecting much. When they gave the go-ahead, Schieffer said, “I nearly fainted.”

Update: For what it’s worth, the first show to actually go an hour was “This Week with David Brinkley,” back in 1981.

NBC’s “Meet the Press” is responding by tweaking its own format. With moderator David Gregory on vacation, Savannah Guthrie will conduct the newsmaker interviews.  Joe Scarborough will moderate the political roundtable, which will include his “Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski as well as David Brooks, Tom Friedman, Jon Meacham, and Harold Ford, Jr.

Sunday Show Ratings: March 25

NBC’s ‘Meet the Press” retook the top spot among the Sunday public affairs shows on Sunday, March 25.

CBS’ “Face the Nation” was close behind NBC in both total and demo viewers, with ABC’s “This Week” trailing farther behind in third. “Fox News Sunday” placed fourth, while Univision’s “Al Punto” had the week off due to the Papal visit and live sports.

Compared to last year, NBC and Fox were down in both total and demo viewers. CBS was up in both categories, while ABC was up in total viewers, but down in the demo.

On cable replays “FNS” added 2.93M total and 619,000 demo viewers, while “MTP” added 1.09M total and 427,000 demo viewers.

The numbers for March 25:

Network Program Total Viewers A25-54
NBC
“Meet the Press” 3.01M 928K
CBS
“Face the Nation” 2.98M 902K
ABC “This Week” 2.53M 742K
FOX “Fox News Sunday” 1.15M 445K
Univision “Al Punto” NA NA

MSNBC: The Place For Interviewing Empty Chairs

Twice this week an MSNBC host interviewed an empty chair, but both situations were not created equal. First, MSNBC 10 PM host Lawrence O’Donnell interviewed an empty chair when a lawyer for George Zimmerman (the man accused shooting Trayvon Martin) bailed at the last minute:

The second time time it wasn’t one of MSNBC’s political commentators that feigned outrage, it was one of the network’s news anchors. Thomas Roberts was slated to interview the National Organization for Marriage’s Maggie Gallagher, but the camera feed showed an empty chair, with Roberts saying that Gallagher didn’t show up (h/t Inside Cable News):

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The Scoreboard: Wednesday, March 28

25-54 demographic (Live +SD)

  • Total day: FNC: 389 | MSNBC: 145 | CNN: 130 | HLN: 101
  • Primetime: FNC: 647 | MSNBC: 304 | CNN: 173 | HLN: 165

5p: 6p: 7p: 8p: 9p: 10p: 11p: 12a:
FNC TheFive: Baier: Shep: O’Reilly: Hannity: Greta: O’Reilly: Hannity:
401 380 522 755 652 529 473 377
MSNBC Matthews: Sharpton: Matthews: EdShow: Maddow: O’Donnell: EdShow: Maddow:
181 208 154 245 334 331 177 121
CNN Blitzer: KingUSA: Burnett: Cooper: Morgan: Cooper: Burnett: Morgan:
165 129 136 154 144 220 118 133
HLN Special: Prime: VelezMitchell: Grace: DrDrew: Grace: Showbiz: DrDrew:
16 48 149 257 125 118 92 101

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