The rule of thumb is that when news is breaking and a crisis is unfolding, cable news networks see a big jump in viewership. Turns out that’s not the case if you are MSNBC. On the first full day of coverage of the Malaysia Airlines disaster and Israeli troop movement into Gaza the day before, the Comcast-owned news channel actually was down double digits among adults 25-54 both in total day and in primetime on July 18. While rivals CNN and Fox News Channel were up 16% and 13% in total day over the comparable day last year, when the news was much quieter to say the least, MSNBC fell 38% to a mere 87,000.
Take a look at primetime, the numbers get even harsher for MSNBC with a 46% fall in the demo to 118,000 from July 19, 2013 compared to a rise of 16% and 30% for FNC and CNN. Winning in all categories on Friday and benefiting from the breaking news, FNC had 268,000 among 25-54s for total day and 323,000 during primetime. Seeing an uptick as it commonly does during breaking news, the often ratings struggling Time Warner-owned network got 208,000 in the demo total day and 263,000 in primetime.
UPDATE, 8:57 AM:ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC as well as the cable networks have just broken away from normal programming to cover President Obama‘s remarks live from the White House on the latest from yesterday’s Malaysia Airlines disaster over the Ukraine. Obama said one U.S. citizen was among the 298 passengers killed from what is suspected to be a surface-to-air missile launched by pro-Russian rebels. He called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and demanded a credible investigation, saying a UN investigation is already underway with Ukraine and Russia expected to cooperate fully. Read More »
The cable news network found its ratings prey last night. With 330,000 viewers in the Adults 25-54 demo, CNN’s new original series The Hunt With John Walsh is the highest-rated debut of an Original Series on the network ever. That beats the 284,000 that The Sixties got for CNN on May 29. While that is good news for the often ratings unsteady Jeff Zucker-run CNN, The Hunt also got a pretty good run in total viewers too. With 989,000 watching, the fugitive investigation series fronted by the former America’s Most Wanted host beat Fox News Channel by 21% and MSNBC by 174% in total viewers. The new show outperformed FNC’s 9 PM offering and MSNBCs by 141% and 63% in the key news demo, though Fox was airing a repeat of On The Record.The Hunt is produced by Zero Point Zero Productions, the same people behind CNN’s other hit ofAnthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, which aired in the same slot. The infamous chef and international traveler’s show’s Season 3 debut got 325,000 in the 25-54 demo on April 13 this year, that’s a 34% rise over its Season 2 bow on September 15, 2013.
Ho hum, another quarter, another Fox News Channel win in the ratings against its all-news competitors, MSNBC, CNN and HLN. The win is now the 50th straight quarter (and 150th straight month) for Fox, going back more than a dozen years. They’ve been so consistently ahead for so long that another win, even a landmark like this, seems a bit of a yawner for the cable news powerhouse as it transforms into the Rolling Rock of ratings kings. So, how did they win this time ’round? Let us count the ways:
FNC was sixth in Primetime total viewers among all cable networks (CNN was 34th, MSNBC 29th).
FNC was seventh in Total Day viewers among all cable nets (CNN was 29th, MSNBC 30th).
For the quarter ending today, FNC had the top 14 highest-rated news shows in total viewers. It had nine of the top 10 news shows for the core Adults 25-54 demo, with only re-runs of CNBC’sShark Tankon MSNBC sneaking into the tenth spot.
Total viewers for the Top 5 shows were: The O’Reilly Factor (2,361,000); The Kelly File (1,998,000); The Five (1,842,000); Special Report w/ Bret Baier (1,730,000); and On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren (1,496,000).
FNC led all cable networks in that 25-54 demo, which is the heart and crabby commentariat of the news-watching audience.
Both Fox & Friends and Your World with Neil Cavutohave been No. 1 in their respective slots for 50 consecutive quarters, again dating back more than 12 years to the first quarter of 2002.
Bill Maher called Hillary Clinton out on his HBO Real Timeseries Friday night, suggesting that she stay quiet for two years so as not to jeopardize her yet-unannounced bid for the White House — even if she’s on a book tour for her tome Hard Choices. Maher was specifically zeroing in on Clinton’s recent comment that the former U.S. Presidential family was penniless after leaving the White House in 2001. ”When you emerge from the financial rut that is the U.S. presidency — talk about a red flag on a resume, when they see that, after you ran the world for eight years,” remarked Maher, “Nobody will hire you.” Joy Reid, host of MSNBC’s The Reid Report concurred that the Clintons’ biggest flaws, particularly in the 2008 campaign, stem from their verbal blunders in their “day-to-day slog”. In the wake of her remarks, Clinton said she was “inartful” in speaking about her wealth, particularly as she vies to empathize with struggling Americans. Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that Hillary Clinton is facing a backlash in her public speeches as she has been granting a mix of free and paid ones since her departure from the State Department earlier this year.
UPDATED with ratings: About 149,000 of those 809,000 viewers who watched Lawrence O’Donnell’s emotional return to MSNBC fell in the news demo. His numbers were up 11% over the network’s June-to-date in the demo and 39% over MSNB’s June to date in total viewers.
In his return, O’Donnell described the taxi accident in which he and his brother were injured. He also talked about David Koch, who’d given large sums of money to the hospital at which O’Donnell was treated. In April, MSNBC said O’Donnell would be off the air for several weeks while he recovered from the crash, which happened while he vacationing out of the country.
His Last Word comeback beat CNN Tonight at 10 PM. But he got pounded by FNC’s Hannity, which virtually doubled O’Donnell’s return in overall audience (1.562 million viewers) and nearly quadrupled him in demo viewers (400,000 demo viewers).
Following last year’s competition series Get Out Alive With Bear Grylls, NBC has slated a new unscripted show starring the adventurer and survivalist. The network has ordered six episodes of the hourlong alternative series Running Wild With Bear Grylls, in which Grylls takes celebrities into the remote locations in the U.S. and around the world for a 48-hour journey that will feature such stunts as skydiving into the Catskill Mountains, rappelling down the cliffs of Utah and battling torrential wind and rain in Scotland. It will premiere July 28 and air in the Monday 8 PM slot. The celebrities lined up for the show, going one-on-one with Grylls, include actor Zac Efron, actor-director Ben Stiller, actor Channing Tatum, NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, actor Tom Arnold, and MSNBC and Today anchor Tamron Hall. Running Wild is produced by Electus and Bear Grylls Ventures, which were also behind Get Out Alive.
Electus used a similar strategy with Dwayne Johnson, who hosted a competition reality series, The Hero, for TNT last year, before returning to the cable network this year with a new docu-style unscripted show featuring close-ended episodes, Wake Up Call. Grylls will serve as executive producer along with Ben Silverman, Chris Grant, Corie Henson, Laura Caraccioli, Doug McCallie and Viki Cacciatore.
Four times as many people watched presumed 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton appear on Fox News Channel yesterday as watched her on CNN at 5 PM. About 2 million people watched the former Secretary of State tangle with FNC’s Greta Van Susteren and Bret Baier from 6:45-7:15 PM – 313,000 of them in the news demo.
Meanwhile, about 521,000 people watched Christiane Amanpour and audience members question Clinton during a CNN town-hall confab at 5 PM — 115,000 in the news demo. FNC’s The Five clocked a bigger audience in the 5 PM timeslot: 1.88 million, and 336,000 demo viewers.
CNN actually did better with its repeat of the Clinton town hall at 9 p.m., when 593,000 tuned in — 146,000 in the demo — which was the network’s biggest naul of the night (though it came in behind FNC’s The Kelly File (2.126 million, 337,000 demo viewers) and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show (918,000 viewers, 167,000 demo viewers).
ABC News has snagged NBC News’s Subrata De to become VP of Multi-Platform Newsgathering. ABC News President James Goldston announced De’s hire this morning in a memo to staff. De most recently had been exec producer of MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports since January of ’12. Before that, she was producer for NBC News’s Brian Williams. In her new gig, De will have oversight of ABC News’s domestic, foreign, digital and social media newsgathering; the new post is intended to unify the division’s editorial operation—”expanding cooperation across our broadcast and digital platforms to improve our reporting and to use our resources more effectively,” as Goldston explained. The job is an expansion of the one held by Kate O’Brian, until she departed ABC News last year to become president of Al Jazeera America. Today’s announcement also includes news of expanded roles for David Reiter and Wendy Fisher.
As special correspondent since 2011, Clinton has: admired the vegetarianism of Stella and Linda McCartney, reflected on Judy Blume’s impact on her childhood, profiled a woman from Pine Bluff, AR who runs a program for some of that city’s poorest children, spoken to Paul McCartney about how cool it is to be Stella’s dad, and learned that elephants are very human.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled with Matt’s decision NBC News president Deborah Turness said in a statement about Lauer’s re-up. “As I’ve said many times before, he’s the best in the business, and there is nobody I would rather have in the Today anchor chair than Matt.” Added Lauer in his own statement: “I consider this the best job in broadcasting. I love people I work with every day and I have such respect and gratitude for the people I work for. I couldn’t be happier to be staying.” Speaking of couldn’t-be-happier, Lauer’s last contract reportedly paid him about $20 million-$25 million a year; his contract before that came with a reported paycheck of $17 mil per. NBC News, in its announcement via NYT, declined to discuss finances. Clinton, meanwhile, has been busted down to a month-to-month player, in case her mom runs for POTUS and she again becomes First Daughter, reported Politico in its Clinton salary post.
Back in November of ’11, NBC News announced it had hired Clinton, joining a proud tradition of political children hired by NBC News, reaching way back to the days of JFK/RFK/Ted Kennedy niece Maria Shriver. At the time of Clinton’s hire, that roster included George W. Bush’s daughter Jenna Bush Hager, hired as a correspondent for Today, and Sen. John McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain, who back then was a contributor at MSNBC. Daughters of former presidents and presidential hopefuls continue to be the Drew Barrymores of New York TV network news divisions — the Willow Smiths of Washington, though, more recently, NBC News has branched out, hiring the son of actress Mia Farrow and either Woody Allen or Frank Sinatra — Mia’s not saying which. Read More »
MSNBC announced this morning Ronan Farrow will sit down with Angelina Jolie in London on Friday to discuss her efforts to help end sexual violence in conflict zones. Jolie is the co-host of the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence, the largest global meeting ever held on the subject of sexual violence in war. The interview, which will air on Friday’s Ronan Farrow Daily at 1 PM ET, makes perfect sense — Farrow being the son of Mia Farrow, and Mia Farrow being Angelina Jolie before Jolie was Angelina Jolie — an actress well-known for using her celebrity to promote various humanitarian causes. Today’s announcement led to some speculation that Farrow – the son of Woody Allen (or maybe Frank Sinatra, according to mom Mia in an interview last fall with Vanity Fair) – may have a future on MSNBC snagging celebrity interviews.
Farrow needs something new to do at MSNBC, where, in June to date, he’s clocked just 201,000 viewers — 42,000 in the news demo. That’s 27% and 42% lower than his first-month stats which, in turn, were nothing to write home about. Compared to one year ago, Farrow’s launch-to-now ratings are down 28% in overall audience, and 30% in the news demo, versus MSNBC’s … Read More »
MSNBC has canceled Disrupt With Karen Finney, just shy of its first anniversary. Finney, a political commentator at the network since 2009 who previously served as deputy press secretary to Hillary Clinton during the Clinton presidency, will remain at the network as a contributor. Lousy ratings did in the 4 PM weekend show, which regularly ranked No. 4 in its time slot among cable networks. The cancellation was first reported by TV Newser, citing the network.
Friday night was no fun for either Seth MacFarlane or Jeff Zucker. The former had the beginning of what was a face-plant of a weekend with his Western comedy A Million Ways To Die In The West while the CNN boss suffered his news network’s worst result in the 10 PM slot in 14 years. Scratching with an average of just 35,000 viewers among Adults 25-54, CNN dropped hard to a snake belly level not seen since May 9, 2000. Back on that very quiet Tuesday night during the last year of the Bill Clinton’s Presidency, the cable news network had 33,000 viewers among the news demo. The all-time low for CNN in the 10 PM slot was on June 16, 1999 when it sunk to 32,000 among the 25-54s on a Wednesday night.
Unlike its competitors, CNN didn’t have a single show filling the whole hour on Friday. Perhaps telling of how badly the star-studded In The West was going to do at the box office (just $17 million), CNN’s half hour 10 PM Spotlight featured a profile of MacFarlane. It was not well watched with just 42,000 in the demo and 262,000 overall tuning in. At 10:30 PM, the Rachel Nichols-hosted sports show Unguardedpulled in an all-time demo low with … Read More »
A new report warns just how much this country stands to lose when Stephen Colbert shutters his Comedy Central late-night show to take over for David Letterman at CBS. According to the Annenberg Public Policy Center, viewers of The Colbert Report who watched Colbert set up a super PAC and 501(c)(4) organization during the last presidential election cycle were better informed about campaign financing and the role of money in politics than viewers of actual news channels and other, actual-news shows.
“It’s the first study actually showing that Colbert is doing a better job than other news sources at teaching people about campaign financing,” crowed Bruce W. Hardy, lead author of the study and a senior researcher at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. “Consistently, we found that Colbert did better than every other news source we included in our model.”
The published study tested The Colbert Report against CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and broadcast nightly news — as well as talk radio and newspapers – as sources of political information. The study, appropriately called Stephen Colbert’s Civics Lesson, was based on phone survey data from 1,232 adults 18 years or older who were interviewed between December 13-23, 2012. Read More »
Hours after closing out Wednesday’s primetime with its exclusive Edward Snowden interview, NBC News opened today with Matt Lauer’s interview with a friend of the parents of the suspected UCSB Santa Barbara killer.
UPDATED:NBC News, which is battling ABC News for the ratings top spot in various dayparts, continues to tease tonight’s exclusive primetime interview with Edward Snowden. This morning on Today, NBC News aired a clip in which Snowden explained he’s in Russia because the United States stranded him there, and Secretary of State John Kerry called Snowden “pretty dumb,” adding that a “patriot” would return to the U.S. and “trust in the American system of justice.”
ABC News responded with a video clip of its exclusive look inside the training program designed to keep U.S. diplomats safe overseas and how it was expanded “After Benghazi” — and a tweet from outgoing ABC News president/incoming Disney/ABC Television Group co-president Ben Sherwood about ABC World News’s May sweep win, reports of which you may have seen last week (final few days of that derby came in this morning, making it super-official):
.@ABCWorldNews wins May sweep in news demo for 1st time in 6 yrs. Thank you loyal and new viewers. (1/2)
Discovery U.S. Hispanic has unveiled its networks’ 2014-2015 upfront slate which includes new adventure series and expanded Motor Mondays programming for Discovery en Español. Adventure series Tethered (Al límite) follows two polar opposite survival experts who endure 21 days in one of the harshest environments on earth, tied together at the waist by a 6-foot cable. There’s also Survive That – aka Dude You’re Screwed (Sálvate si puedes), a new twist on the survival genre. It features five elite survivalists who are captured, blindfolded and taken to an unknown, remote location where they are left to fend for themselves and forced to make it back to civilization within 100 hours. Discovery en Español also is expanding its popular Motor Mondays programming block, adding docureality series Texas trocas, a look at a big-rig trucking business run by a spirited true-life family of Texas truckers. Also on the lineup is Chrome Underground, featuring professional car hunters Yusuf and Antonio who put their lives on the line in their day jobs, traveling worldwide to lawless countries in a search for ‘diamond in the rough’ vehicles they can flip for a fortune. Discovery Familia’s popular Cake Boss is returning for a new season. It follows Buddy Valastro, an accomplished fourth generation baker, as he manages his booming business. Discovery Familia also is premiering new shows on parenting, health and beauty. Here are highlights of Discovery U.S. Hispanic networks’ 2014-15 Upfront schedule: Read More »
EXCLUSIVE:Alec Baldwin is the latest actor to join Warren Beatty‘s untitled Howard Hughes project, portraying the reclusive billionaire’s lawyer Bob Maheu. Beatty has been tapping some of his friends for various roles. Those who have already been reported by Deadline include Martin Sheen, Matthew Broderick, and Beatty’s wife Annette Bening. The two leads are Alden Ehrenreich (Beautiful Creatures),who plays Hughes’ assistant, and the young assistant’s actress love interest, played by Lily Collins (Mirror, Mirror). The focus of the film is the love story between those two characters. Beatty portrays Hughes.
An interesting note about the real Maheu is that the senior go-to guy for Hughes was widely reported at the time of Hughes’ death to have never actually have seen his boss and received all his instructions on hand-written notes. He was a very interesting man — a spy during WWII, he worked for the CIA and ultimately testified in the Senate about Hughes giving money to Hubert Humphrey and Richard Nixon. He also sued and won a defamation lawsuit against Hughes in his later years. Baldwin shot his role over two days. Read More »
Two days after MSNBC‘s Way Too Early ran a segment in which host Thomas Roberts talked about the origins of Cinco de Mayo while Morning Joe producer Louis Burgdorf ambled around the newsroom in a sombrero, shaking maracas and pretending to swill tequila, the program will issue an on-air apology.
In the segment, Roberts talked about the origins of Monday’s holiday. Burgdorf shook his maracas and faux swilled. “It’s also an excuse to drink tequila on a Monday morning at work for Louis,” Roberts said, adding, “You have to drink the whole thing — and eat the worm.”
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists blasted the segment, accusing MSNBC of “lack of judgment, insensitivity” and for its “attack of the Mexican community.” Read More »