The scandals of the Obama administration seem to be hurting not just the White House but MSNBC as well, while Fox News Channel has just scored its second-best week of the year. After double-digit gains during last year’s presidential election, May 13-17 saw the progressive-aligned “Lean Forward” news network hit new lows as the IRS scandal erupted and revelations that the Justice Department secretly obtained AP records became public. With 350,000 viewers on average and 94,000 in the adults 25-54 demo, MSNBC had its least-watched and lowest-rated total-day results of the year last week. That was also the lowest total-day demo result the network has had since the week of June 26-July 2, 2006, when MSNBC pulled in just 83,000 viewers among adults 25-54, according to Nielsen data.
The first woman to report live from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange is now with Creative Artists Agency. CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo will be represented by the agency in all areas. Presently the anchor of CNBC’s Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo as well as host and Managing Editor of The Wall Street Journal Report with Maria Bartiromo, the journalist’s latest deal with the business news network is set to expire at the end of this year. Bartiromo has been on-air with CNBC since 1993, after several years as behind the camera at CNN. As well as reporting on the Street, Bartiromo has had a side career playing herself on the big screen. She has appeared in features Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Inside Job and Arbitrage among others. A frequent talk show guest and pundit , news footage of Bartiromo also appeared in a 2003 episode of The Sopranos.
Stephanie Elam is returning to her old home at CNN, the network said today. The former NYC-based business reporter for the cable news network will now serve as a correspondent based out of LA. Elam joined KNBC in October 2011 after nearly eight years at CNN. She was the station’s weekend evening anchor and general assignment reporter until November 2012. “Stephanie is an excellent communicator and tenacious reporter, and we are pleased to have her back as a part of the CNN family,” said Terence Burke, VP Newsgathering for CNN US, in a statement. Since Jeff Zucker took over this year, the network has been trying to enhance its West Coast presence by increasing the emphasis on the business aspect of the entertainment industry. Elam is the second LA hire by CNN in as many months, after KTLA-Los Angeles morning show anchor Michaela Pereira was announced as the news anchor for the network’s upcoming new morning show New Day, set to debut in June.
Turner Entertainment seems to try hardest to make advertisers laugh at its upfront presentation — and generally succeeded this time with help from Will Ferrell, Conan O’Brien, and TBS newcomer Pete Holmes. In a recorded routine, Ferrell said that he had bought the company and with his background in comedy “I couldn’t care less” about networks including CNN, TNT, and TruTv. Since “I like to mess around with my new toys,” he introduced the new boss: Charles Barkley. The former NBA star said that since “I’m in charge now” viewers would be “seeing a lot more Charles Barkley” — cutting to clips from Turner shows that insert him into the action. “This is the kind of bold thinking I was hoping for,” Ferrell said. “With me as CEO of Turner, and Charles, can you really go wrong?”
The morning newscast, which launches June 17, is a top priority for the CNN chief. And while it won’t break the mold, Jeff Zucker says in a briefing today that the effort will stand out over time by blending hard news with a relatively young anchor team featuring Chris Cuomo and Kate Bolduan, and news anchor Michaela Pereira. When he ran NBC’s Today Show “we did play with a lot of gimmicks. Cooking segments and outdoor concerts. Those are not going to be part of this kind of program…People are coming to CNN for the news.” Zucker says New Day won’t try to mimic MSNBC’s Morning Joe: “Its success has been with an elite audience but not with a broad audience. We’re not after a niche audience.” He praised the news focus of CBS This Morning but says New Day will have “a slightly different tone that you’ll get from a new generation.” He hopes to get a jump on his rivals by starting New Day at 6 AM. “The one time of day when people don’t necessarily know what’s happening is when they wake up,” he says.
After the heroic display of the Boston PD in the aftermath of the Marathon bombings, it seemed difficult for TNT not to pick up a second season of docudrama Boston’s Finest. The unscripted series, which offers viewers an up-close and very personal look at the men and women of the Boston Police Department, has now been renewed, with reruns to air on sister network CNN, which has been branching out into entertainment. Boston’s Finest averaged 1.3 million viewers in Live+7 . That is in line with last year’s The Great Escape, which was canceled after one season as TNT is yet to launch a breakout reality series, with none of its previous efforts earning a second-season renewal. Boston’s Finest is executive-produced by Boston native Donnie Wahlberg (Blue Bloods) and Seth Jarrett and Julie Insogna-Jarrett (Celebrity Ghost Stories) and comes to TNT from Jarrett and Insogna-Jarrett’s Jarrett Creative Group and Wahlberg’s Donnie D. Productions.
Starz has put in development Fleet Street, a drama project executive produced by British journalist and CNN anchor Piers Morgan, which is set in 1970’s England and chronicles the rise of tabloid journalism, the sexual revolution and class warfare, all seen through the eyes of an American journalist.
The drama will be produced by Lionsgate in association with Richard Branson’s Virgin Produced, Octagon Entertainment and Piers Morgan’s Ferret Prods. and executive produced by Morgan, Octagon’s Managing Director John Ferriter, who reps Morgan, and Jason Felts, Justin Berfield and Michael Forman of Virgin Produced. BAFTA Award- winning screenwriter Danny Brocklehurst (Shameless UK) will write the pilot episode and also serve as executive producer. “Imagine an industry where every single opponent worked in the same street, competing with each other by day – drinking, brawling, fornicating, nightclubbing and cocaine-snorting with each other by night,” said Morgan, who has intimate knowledge of the British tabloid industry, having worked for The Sun and served as editor of News Of The World and Daily Mirror in the 1990s and early 2000s. “A street full of the most ruthless and amoral people in the world existed, and it was called Fleet Street. In the early ’70s, it became the breeding ground for modern popular journalism, as foreign media tycoons stomped over the British establishment to re-define ‘news,’suddenly exposing the rich, powerful and famous in spectacular front-page scoop…
The Chicago way is coming to Jeff Zucker’s CNN in 2014. The cable news network has picked up Chicagoland, executive produced by Robert Redford with his Sundance Productions partner Laura Michalchyshyn and filmmakers Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin of BCTV. The eight-part unscripted series examines the challenges the Windy City faces as it tries to rebuild from the consequences of the recent economic crisis. Praising “tough, visionary” Windy City mayor (and brother of Redford’s WME agency chief Ari Emanuel) Rahm Emanuel, Redford said today in a statement that “Chicago has always had a rhythm all its own. It’s a city that wears its heart on its sleeve and I am honored to be a part of telling this story.” The series is set to debut on CNN early next year. “We’re very pleased to bring this unique long-form series to the network”, said Amy Entelis, CNN Worldwide’s SVP Talent and Content Development. “Chicagoland is a creative exploration of stories relevant to every city and every American”. Sundance Productions’ debut documentary All The President’s Men Revisited premiered on Discovery last month.
Megyn Kelly and Greta Van Susteren are both going to be at Fox News Channel for a while but it may not be in their present time slots. Both the America Live and the On The Record hosts have signed new long-term contracts with the cable news networks, sources confirm. The New York Times first reported the new deals. Details of the new contracts are sketchy but I’m told that FNC is contemplating moving rising star Kelly and veteran Van Susteren to new positions in the network’s line-up down the line. While still a big draw overall, Van Susteren’s 10 PM show has slide to all-time lows in the adults 25-54 demo in recent months and FNC has been looking for alternatives. Now with Kelly, who has been at Fox since 2004, secured again, they can start planning. One of the anchors of the network’s election night coverage last year and the host of the two-hour afternoon show, the demo friendly Kelly had been talking to Jeff Zucker’s CNN and to other broadcasters before sealing her new deal with FNC. However, it might be a while before anything actually changes at FNC. For, one, the network has stuck with its primetime line-up of The O’Reilly Factor, Sean Hannity and On The Record for years. Two, On The Record is still No. 1 in its …
“As a category more often than not you end up ahead” with the big-budget extravaganzas, the Time Warner CEO told investors today at the Jefferies Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference. Despite the high costs, franchise properties are “more predictable” and “are more profitable and less risky than medium or small” budget films. Studios deserve some credit for learning from their mistakes. “In the old days the sequels were weaker” and less interesting than the original productions. With Harry Potter, though, “we made eight of them. They were all successful…but they were not the same.” Jeff Bewkes also saluted Disney’s handling of Iron Man, following the weekend success of Iron Man 3. That “shows you how you can build a franchise if you’re good at it, and all of the studios are getting good at it.” Even so, Bewkes pitched investors on the virtues of television — which he says continues to grow overseas and via online distribution. Once his company spins off its magazine publishing operation “basically 90% of Time Warner is now a television company…That’s the new Time Warner.” Indeed, Kevin Tsujihara landed the top job at Warner Bros in part due to his background in television and in finance, Bewkes says. As for his most troubled TV network, CNN, the CEO says that under Jeff Zucker “you’re seeing a lot more bounce in its step these days.” He’s optimistic about …
Upcoming cable news channel Al Jazeera America has hired veteran business news journalist John Meehan as senior executive producer of the channel’s financial and business coverage. Meehan was also named senior executive producer of the new business magazine program that will be hosted by former CNN chief business correspondent Ali Velshi. For the last year, Meehan has been a freelance strategist. Before that, he was global executive producer at Thomson Reuters, where he supervised production at “Reuters Insider” and developed a series of digital multimedia white papers, examining such topics as the growth of high-frequency trading. Meehan previously was managing editor at Bloomberg Television, the senior news editor at CNBC, the Paris correspondent for the Associated Press-Dow Jones and an associate editor at Businessweek.
EXCLUSIVE: Big Media companies don’t tell you when something’s rotten with the corporate culture. But this list should help you begin your search. This is Deadline’s third annual tally of out-of-whack CEO compensation. It’s an account of chiefs who not only make vastly more than you and me, but also collect far more than their closest colleagues at their own companies. Corporate governance experts become concerned when a CEO consistently makes at least three times more than the median for the four other highest-paid execs that the SEC requires companies to list in the annual proxy statement. That’s the standard I use, and it indicates that 14 out of 31 media companies that I tracked and that have already filed 2012 data failed the test — in many cases miserably.
Out of whack CEO pay can send a poisonous message to employees, including others in the C-suite. Internal pay parity “is critical to ensuring fairness and encouraging a collaborative team effort,” News Corp says in its proxy. Huge disparities also can tip you off to troublesome boardroom beliefs. It might indicate that directors lack faith in the business or leadership team — and fear that things will unravel if the top dog leaves. It may be a symptom of corporate groupthink where people give the chief credit for everything that goes well, and seek scapegoats for everything that doesn’t. Or it might mean that directors are beholden to the CEO — or share a cynical and grandiose sense of entitlement — and see nothing wrong with helping him (it’s almost always “him”) stuff his pockets with shareholders’ money, even where there’s little danger that he might leave if paid less. Whatever the case, researchers find that all too often the damage from such obeisance to the CEO eventually hurts a company’s performance and stock price. (For example, here, here, here, and here.)
This list looks at the biggest and best known infotainment providers. I include Web-based companies such as AOL and Yahoo that produce and sell their own content, and added Facebook which depends on ad sales. But I left out ones including Apple and Verizon that generate most of their revenues from hardware or personal communications services. (I’ve also left out Google, where the top execs benefit from stock performance and only collect a symbolic $1 in compensation.) For context, I’ve also noted how many people the company employs, and how that’s changed since the last fiscal year, to see whether these fabulously rich CEOs were job creators. The data isn’t nearly as revealing as it ought to be. For example, the SEC doesn’t require companies to specify how many jobs are based in the U.S., or even how many are full time. I’ve also included the CEO’s 2012 compensation rank among other media chiefs in our list, as well as among all media executives listed in their company proxies, and the average compensation over the last three years. (To avoid having them counted twice, I combined the compensation that Sumner Redstone collects as chairman of CBS and Viacom, and that Charles Dolan collects at Cablevision and AMC Networks.)
A few things to keep in mind: The SEC reporting rules only cover the top-paid executives of publicly traded U.S. companies. That means we’ll miss a lot of highly paid people who work at subsidiaries of a big company; Universal Studios’ Ron Meyer may be a big deal in Hollywood, but he didn’t make the top echelon at his corporate parent Comcast. Also, the pay data given to the SEC can spike in a year when an executive cashes in stock or collects deferred compensation. Averages also can be skewed when people on the list come and go in the middle of the year. So consider this to be a starting point to judge whether a CEO was paid fairly — not a final verdict.
I’ll be back soon with additional information including a similar list showing CEOs whose pay was more in line with his or her colleagues. Here’s how the out-of-whack CEOs stack up for 2012:
1. Live Nation: Michael Rapino. The concert and ticketing giant had a so-so year generating higher revenues but even higher costs — and a net loss. Last year’s big tours included Madonna, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Roger Waters, and Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. Company shares appreciated 8.1% in 2012, lagging the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 which was +12.7%. But the big excitement took place at year-end with the surprising departure of Chairman Irving Azoff, taking performers he represents including Eagles, Van Halen, and Christina Aguilera. That left Rapino clearly in charge — but under the watchful eye of Liberty Media, which owns nearly 27% of the stock. With a flood of option awards, the CEO’s compensation rose 138.4% to $28.5M (The package: $2.2M salary, $243,281 bonus, $2.6M stock awards, $19M option awards, $4.4M non-equity compensation, $46,408 other compensation.) That was a whopping 17.0 times more than the median for the four other highest paid execs — up from last year’s 5.5 times — and 46% of the pie. Even these numbers underplay the disparity in executive pay: The group of other execs includes Azoff who made $27.4M. The company had 7,100 full time employees at year end, up 500. (Pay rank among media CEOs: 9. Among all media execs: 11. Average annual pay over last three years: $18.7M.)
CNN‘s Howard Kurtz took to his own Reliable Sources show this morning to address the sloppy reporting on NBA player Jason Collins that got him canned from his Daily Beast gig this week. Politico’s Dylan Byers and NPR’s David Folkenflik grilled the longterm host, who went on the defensive about his history of reporting mistakes:
UPDATE 9:25 AM: He’s out at the Daily Beast but CNN has decided not to cut Howard Kurtz loose for his sloppy reporting about NBA player Jason Collins’ coming out. “There has been no status change with Howard Kurtz, he remains the host of Reliable Sources. He will address this issue on the program this weekend,” a CNN spokesperson said today. No word if the Jeff Zucker-run news network will be renewing Kurtz’s contract as the long time host of the Sunday media show when it is up.
1st UPDATE, THURSDAY PM: Howard Kurtz’s job problems today may not be over. I have learned that CNN is reviewing what happened at the Daily Beast and its Reliable Sources host’s sloppy reporting on NBA player Jason Collins. “Some things have been raised this week and CNN wants to review the situation,” a CNN insider tells me about the cable news network’s relationship with its long time Sunday media show host after the Daily Beast dumped him Thursday. No word yet if that means Kurtz is canned at CNN but the fact that such a discussion is occurring can’t be a good sign.
PREVIOUSLY 1:42 PM: Media critic/reporter Howie Kurtz is the host of CNN’s Reliable Sources but he was fired today from his other gig at The Daily Beast for sloppy reporting on pro basketball player Jason Collin’s coming out. “@TheDailyBeast …
Following a pair of deadly factory fires in Bangladesh and Pakistan late last year, Disney will halt production of its branded merchandise in those and other countries. According to CNN, Disney notified vendors and licensees in March to transition production out of “highest-risk countries” including Bangladesh, Pakistan, Ecuador, Venezuela and Belarus by April next year. “After much thought and discussion we felt this was the most responsible way to manage the challenges associated with our supply chain,” said Bob Chapek, president of Disney Consumer Products, CNN reported. The company said its decision was based on a World Bank report that assesses how countries are governed. Metrics used in the report included accountability, corruption and violence; the five countries that Disney is leaving had the lowest scores.
After just three shows in its first run, CNN announced today that Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown will be back for a second season to bow September 15. Visits to Spain, New Mexico, Israel, Copenhagen, Sicily, Detroit, Tokyo and India are scheduled. “In addition to its runaway ratings success, it is also quite the conversation starter, as anyone who follows social media can attest. We are so happy to announce Season 2, and I can assure you that audiences will love what is coming up on the show,” CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker said in a statement. Bourdain was brought on board at the cable news network last spring before the former NBC executive took over, but Zucker has been a big booster of Parts Unknown. On April 19, he even made a point of noting the debut of the show in a note to staffers on their work during the week of the Boston Marathon bombing and Texas warehouse explosion. Parts Unknown debuted April 14 to 747,000 total viewers and 282,000 viewers in the key 25-54 demographic, a 120% increase in the demo and a 62% rise in total viewers compared with the same slot the year before.
“We have the rights to do it and we would do it if we thought it was in our economic best interest,” Jeff Bewkes says this morning. But the potential market for a stand-alone HBO streaming service in the U.S. is “not sufficiently big enough now.” HBO chief Richard Plepler in March raised some consumers’ hopes that they might soon be able to subscribe to HBO without first buying basic cable: He said that it could make sense to package HBO GO with cable or phone company broadband services. Bewkes noted, though, that HBO and Cinemax have about 40M subscribers via U.S. cable and satellite services. Time Warner wants to protect those relationships: Distributors’ pricing and marketing decisions are even more important than the quality of the programming when it comes to influencing churn rates at the premium channels. Even so, Bewkes says that at Time Warner “we always look at opportunities to increase distribution” — and it already offers HBO GO without a pay TV subscription in Scandinavia. “We’re always going to keep evaluating it depending on the country.”
CBS was the most nominated network at the 40th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards announced this morning with 50 nominations, almost half of them for soap The Young And The Restless, which was the most nominated program with 23. All surviving soaps on the broadcast networks received a best drama series nomination, plus One Life To Live for its final episodes on ABC. (The Daytime Emmy Awards cover the previous calendar year. OLTL and All My Children‘s reboots by Prospect Park will be eligible next year.) Among talk shows, stalwart The Ellen DeGeneres Show again leads the way with 10 noms and will square off for best talk show with Live!, The View and The Talk. Katie Couric’s freshman syndicated talk show was the only newcomer in the top talk show categories, nominated for best talk show/informative alongside The Doctors and Dr. Oz. However, fellow rookie talk show host Steve Harvey snagged a nomination for his game show host duties on Family Feud.
The National Academy Of TV Arts & Sciences kept with tradition in the morning show category, nominating the three broadcast network morning programs including the embattled Today. Speaking of embattled, Kevin Clash, subject of multiple sexual abuse lawsuits, landed his last nomination as Elmo puppeteer. This year’s Daytime Entertainment Emmy Award for lifetime achievement will be presented to game show veterans Monty Hall and Bob Stewart. The 40th Daytime Emmys will he held June 16 at the Beverly Hilton and air on HLN. Here is a full list of the nominees and tallies by network and by program: