Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
At a CBS News TCA session this morning that introduced Scott Pelley, who replaced Katie Couric as anchor and managing editor on The CBS Evening News six weeks ago, CBS News chairman and 60 Minutes exec producer Jeff Fager left no doubt that Couric’s predecessor Dan Rather wouldn’t have a role at CBS News anytime soon. Or ever. Fager responded to a question about how tragically things had ended for Rather at the network by acknowledging, “Things ended so badly that it’s difficult to see how it could be reconciled.” Pelley, a longtime correspondent at the network who worked with Rather, added, “He was a great mentor of mine and has an enduring place in the history of CBS News.”
The affable Pelley’s month and a half in his new job has done little to move the evening news ratings meter, with his early numbers consistent with, but not much different from, those of Couric or even fill-in Bob Schieffer. Yet Pelley trumpeted that the newscast’s audience “has been growing dramatically the past several weeks we’ve been on.” Read More »
In October 1995, a week after the murder trial against him ended with a shocking not-guilty verdict, O.J. Simpson agreed to do a TV interview with NBC News. Then, only hours before the live sit-down, Simpson backed out. Now TMZ is reporting that Casey Anthony, whose trial over the murder of her daughter garnered media attention of the size of Simpson’s and her recent not-guilty verdict sparked a similar outcry, has too opted not to do a TV interview right away. That despite the fact that her lawyer had been negotiating with potential suitors for the past two weeks. Those negotiations were plagued by accusations of bidding by the networks’ TV divisions, prompting most of them to issue statements that they won’t pay for an interview with Anthony. You can’t blame the networks for going after Anthony — notoriety is a big audience draw. Barbara Walters’ 1999 interview with Monica Lewinsky was seen by 74 million viewers, a record for a journalist’s interview. NBC News’ 1995 interview with Simpson had been projected to fetch Super Bowl-size audience of 90+ million. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE … 9:45 PM UPDATE: Paradigm has just done an about-face. A new internal memo was sent by the Hollywood agency to all Paradigm employees with the subject heading: “Important Paradigm Update – We have informed Jose Baez tonight that we will not be representing him.” Asked for comment, a Paradigm insider tells me, “In the end it’s just not who we are.” I can only imagine what the blowback must have been like.
Earlier in the day, around 4 PM, Paradigm sent out an internal memo to its employees proudly announcing the Baez signing. But Paradigm also maintained, “We have not and have NO INTENTION of signing Casey Anthony.” But the agency signed her defense attorney in all areas including broadcasting, books, TV and motion picture rights. No matter what you think of the jury verdict, Baez is hot and in demand by the media because he’s controversial, so the Hollywood agents came calling. Jim Griffin was the signing agent. For 5 1/2 hours.
We’re not really sure where The Hollywood Reporter got its information this morning when it reported and sent out an email alert that ABC’s Barbara Walters “has landed the first sit-down with Casey Anthony defense attorney Jose Baez,” especially when Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera sat with the guy for 20 minutes in a restaurant outside the Orlando courthouse soon after Baez’s client was acquitted in the death of her daughter (the interview — photo at right — aired on Fox News yesterday afternoon). The murder case, which had a nation holding its breath and cable news networks reaping the rewards of higher viewership, has created a media frenzy, but it would be nice if the reports it generates were fact-based. Even ABC’s release didn’t go so far as to say Walters’ interview was “first”; instead, they called it Baez’s “first network interview.” Well, “broadcast network” would have been clearer, we suppose. Portions of Walters’ interview will be shown tonight on World News With Diane Sawyer and on Casey Anthony: Not Guilty, a Primetime Nightline special, at 10 PM, as well as Thursday on Good Morning America and The View.