The Last Word host Lawrence O’Donnell will be off the air as he recovers from a weekend car accident. MSNBC confirmed the news today in a statement: “Lawrence O’Donnell and his brother Michael were injured in a taxi accident on Saturday while vacationing out of the country. They were transported back to the US — Lawrence to NYC and Michael to Boston. They are both under the care of doctors and expected to make a full recovery. Lawrence will be off from MSNBC for several weeks as he recuperates. Our thoughts and support are with the O’Donnell family and we look forward to having Lawrence back on the air soon.” No word on their specific injuries. MSNBC says Alex Wagner is expected to fillv in for O’Donnell during the 10 PM ET time slot Monday and Tuesday of this week with Ari Melber taking Wednesday and Thursday.
TV in general pretty much underperformed Sunday night, but the season premieres of Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown and Morgan Spurlock Inside Man both surged over their previous season bows by double digits. The 9 PM Season 3 opener of Bourdain’s hybrid foodie travelogue — which visited Punjab, India — posted 325,000 persons 25-54, according to Nielsen’s Live+SD numbers, up 34% over last season’s September 15 bow. Parts Unknown was up against competition that included HBO’s Game Of Thrones, which snagged 6.3M viewers, Oscar nominee Spurlock’s episode at 10 PM, which saw him step into the role of paparazzo, drew 244,000 viewers in the demo — topping last year’s series premiere by 11%. The time slot wins are some welcome good news for CNN, which had which just suffered through one of the worst primetime quarters in its history. The network said last week that Parts Unknown and Inside Man are among the docu-type original series that are replacing Piers Morgan in the 9 PM weeknight slot.
The day after CBS’s bombshell announcement that Stephen Colbert would replace David Letterman on Late Show, when things calmed down a bit and reason returned to her throne, industry pundits began to contemplate the deeper meaning of the shift in the late-night landscape. Practically speaking, it means Comedy Central is now one late-night show short — and CBS may be as well, if Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson, or the network, decides to call it a day now that Craig’s for sure not getting the 11:35 PM timeslot. We’ve all been brought up to speed on the clause in Craig’s contract that landed him a pot of cash if the network settled elsewhere on its Letterman replacement. But Ferguson was quick to tweet his congratulations to Colbert the morning the news broke. That night, Ferguson opened his show with another shout out to Colbert, after which he teased viewers with cracks about resigning — but only for the length of a commercial break.
Jerry Seinfeld, Aaron Paul and Batkid were among the big winners tonight as the 6th annual Shorty Awards for the best in social media were handed out in New York. The trophy show, which this year added a category for best Vine video, honors various online video, business, entertainment, journalism and social-media stars. Seinfeld’s Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee was voted best web show, while Paul was tapped as favorite actor Parks And Recreation‘s Retta took the actress prize. Other winners included Patton Oswalt, Paul Feig and Cosmos host Neil deGrasse Tyson. Will Ferrell picked up the Lifetime Achievement Award. Here’s Seinfeld’s taped acceptance speech. The full list of winners is after the jump:
Cynthia McFadden, who left ABC News after 20 years to become NBC’s new senior legal and investigative correspondent, made her debut on her new network’s Today this morning to discuss Oscar Pistorius taking the stand in his own murder trial. Last month, McFadden jumped from her job as co-anchor of ABC News’ Nightline to join NBC. Watch her debut here:
“We can officially announce we shot cameos Tuesday,” Today co-anchor Matt Lauer announced this morning on the program, of his appearance with Today weatherman Al Roker in Syfy‘s upcoming Sharknado sequel, Sharknado 2, debuting July 30 on the fellow NBCUniversal network. Lauer’s co-host Savannah Guthrie, giving the performance of her lifetime, responded that she is “wildly jealous.” Today played a clip in which Roker, on the Today set, explains to Lauer, “This is a twister with teeth.” Lauer contributes: “Enough said indeed, Al, Thank you very much.” The cameo was shot yesterday. Lauer also showed a clip in which he uses a Today orange umbrellas to stab something that looked like it came from the fish department of Whole Foods, only wrapped in green fabric. “I can’t believe we gave away the whole climax of the movie,” Lauer said. “I’ll remind you the Golden Globes are next January — who are you wearing?” Guthrie snarked.
In Sharknado 2, “a freak weather system turns its deadly fury on New York City, unleashing a ‘sharknado’ on the city’s population and its most iconic sites,” Syfy has said of the sequel. The original orgy of bad special effects and even worse acting had triggered a social media feeding frenzy among journalists and celebrities when it premiered last July.
The 10 AM ET debut of Fox News Channel‘s Sunday Morning Futures With Maria Bartiromo (1.078 million viewers, 312,000 in the news demo) took the top spot in cable news, beating CNN‘s Fareed Zakaria GPS (643,000, 169,000) and MSNBC ‘s Melissa Harris-Perry (391,000, 168,000) combined in overall audience and nearly doing same in the demo. Sunday Morning Futures’ demo crowd was Fox News’ third-biggest demo audience for the timeslot this year, delivering a strong lead in for FNC’s 11 AM program, MediaBuzz, which delivered its highest demo rating since debuting back in September (1.001 million viewers, 353,000 in the demo), outstripping CNN’s Reliable Sources (674,000 viewers, 189,000 demo viewers).
UPDATE, 6:40 AM: GMA gang this morning told viewers that Josh Elliott is leaving the show to go to work for NBC Sports, marking the second successful poaching of a GMA cast member by NBCU, and that he would be replaced as news anchor by Amy Robach, who was on the scene – Elliott himself was on “vacation.” Meanwhile, over at NBC, Al Roker publicly congratulated Elliot, via Twitter, for his “conscious uncoupling” from GMA/ABC. Watch here:
ABC US News | ABC Business News
UPDATE, 6:30 AM: Josh Elliott‘s former Good Morning America colleague Sam Champion weighed in this morning on Elliott’s announced exit from the ABC morning infotainment show to go to work for NBC Sports. Champion, who was also poached by NBCU and now works at The Weather Channel, called it “a great opportunity for Josh’s heart,” adding, “I know that fans of GMA are not loving it.” Watch here:
PREVIOUS, SUNDAY PM: After an intense negotiation with ABC News, Good Morning America news anchor Josh Elliott is leaving the network for NBC Sports. ABC News wasted no time in announcing his replacement: Amy Robach, who has been part of the GMA team for some time, including filling in for Robin Roberts at various moments when she was out for medical reasons. Elliott, who had been making about $1.2 million salary at GMA, turned down an offer to stay with the show for $4-$5 million. After his fellow anchor Lara Spencer nailed down a lucrative multiyear contract Thursday, Elliott raised his ask to $10 million a year. With Elliott, NBC is getting a strong sports guy — a next generation Bob Costas — who previously worked at ESPN. Per the terms of Elliott’s exit, he cannot appear on NBC’s Today for six months according to people familiar with the situation. Elliott is the second member of the ensemble team that put GMA in first place in the morning show ratings race, and to depart for an NBCUniversal property. In December, NBCU successfully poached longtime GMA weatherman Sam Champion who is now a bigwig at their Weather Channel. In much the same way they did today, ABC announced Champion’s replacement, Ginger Zee, minutes after it was reported that he was leaving. In the wake of Champion’s departure, GMA has scored some of its highest ratings ever.
UPDATE, 1:40 PM: We spoke too soon. TV news types blasted MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow after he tweeted/touted this morning that he had exclusive footage of the girlfriend of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 passenger Philip Wood when she received news from Malaysia Airlines that it believed the plane went down in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Australia and that there were no survivors.
Farrow tweeted by way of promoting his MSNBC program that is telecast at 1 PM. His tweet was deleted when outrage ensued, and sniffed at his earlier self in a subsequent tweet:
FNC Hangs On To Ratings Lead But CNN’s Bill Weir Tops His Timeslot, While NBC’s Chuck Todd Joins CNN Critics As Missing Plane Coverage Continues
As the Mystery of Missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 mystery dragged on, Fox News Channel continued its hold on primetime Thursday in the news demo (391,000) with CNN a competitive No. 2 (321,000) followed, not closely, by MSNBC (166,000) and HLN (128,000). Piers Morgan Live, hosted by possible Morgan replacement Bill Weir (373,000), was the only CNN program to best FNC — Megyn Kelly (353,000) in the demo. But CNN took a tumble at 10 PM when the network switched from missing-plane coverage to docu-series Chicagoland (172,000). FNC’s Hannity clobbered it (331,000). Earlier in the evening, CNN’s Erin Burnett (347,000) came within 9,000 demo viewers of FNC’s Greta Van Susteren (356,000), after which FNC’s Bill O’Reilly (486,000) widened the lead, over CNN’s Anderson Cooper (420,000).
Around 11:30 PM ET last night word that new satellite images had pinpointed two large objects in the ocean a couple thousand miles off the coast of Australia electrified TV news teams covering missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. Fox New Channel‘s Shepard Smith jumped back on the air at midnight to report on the new development, but anchored from the newsroom studio because it takes a big team to fire up The Deck. CNN broke into its AC360 repeat at 11:26 PM with CNNI anchor John Vause, with Don Lemon and Richard Quest jumping in at 11:55 PM and Anderson Cooper added at 12:07 AM. MSNBC‘s Betty Nguyen anchored for that network, handing off to Chris Jansing around 2 AM.
ABC‘s lucky David Wright was flying on a U.S. Navy surveillance plane in the Indian Ocean when it was directed to the sightings, and told Nightline “We’ll be the first on the site.” But when ABC’s Good Morning America clocked in this morning, Wright, now back in Perth, reported the surveillance plane had turned up only a freighter and some dolphins. Watch Wright’s GMA report here:
Watch Shep’s midnight report here:
EXCLUSIVE: After two very successful movies, National Geographic‘s Killing movie franchise is adding a miniseries. The third installment in the series, Killing Jesus, will be a four-hour mini. Law & Order veteran Walon Green has been tapped to write and executive produce the project, based on the book Killing Jesus: A History by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. Nat Geo is expected to make the announcement at the network’s upfront presentation tomorrow in New York. Returning for Killing Jesus is the team behind the Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy movies: executive producers O’Reilly and Scott Free Productions’ Ridley Scott, David Zucker and Mary Lisio.
O’Reilly’s Killing Jesus, which chronicles the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion, was published in September. Like the previous entries in Nat Geo’s Killing franchise, Killing Jesus will combine historical insights with dramatic storytelling. The mini is expected to begin production this summer for a 2015 premiere globally on National Geographic Channel in 171 countries and 45 languages. For National Geographic Channels, exec producers are Howard T. Owens, Charlie Parsons and Teri Weinberg. Last year’s Killing Kennedy became the most-watched program in Nat Geo’s history and …
Sam Champion’s Weather Channel show America’s Morning Headquarters opened to a cloudy future Monday. An average of 207,000 total viewers (64,000 in the news demo) caught Champion’s unveiling from 7-10 AM ET. That’s a 12% decline in total viewers compared with the network’s prior four-week average in the block of time and a 14% demo drop. Champion’s unveiling attracted his biggest crowd at 8 AM: 240,000 viewers (78,000 in the demo). That said, the prior four-week average in that hour was 255,000, so Champion’s best was down 6% compared to the network’s recent performance. It was much the same at 7 AM (199,000 viewers, down 13%) and at 9 AM (183,000, down 21%).
Numbers for other morning shows aren’t apples to apples, because many air 6-9 AM. That said, Champion’s former TV home, ABC’s Good Morning America, logged 5.77 million total viewers Monday morning, according to fast stats, while CNN’s New Day averaged 452,000, MSNBC’s Morning Joe brewed up 339,000, and Fox News’ Fox & Friends dominated with 1.13 million.