4th UPDATE, 4:31 PM: NBC, ABC and CBS and cable news networks CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC intend to go early, long and live with the Nelson Mandela memorial tomorrow morning. Broadcasting the NBC Nightly News tonight and Tuesday from Pretoria, Brian Williams will front the network and MSNBC’s coverage of the memorial at Johannesburg’s FNB Stadium starting at 1 AM PT. Among the heads of state in attendance, President Obama, who traveled to South Africa today with the First Lady, is scheduled to speak. Former Presidents Carter, Bush II and Clinton will be there too as will former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Obama will fly back to the U.S. later in the day. ABC’s Good Morning America hosts George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts will anchor their network’s special report coverage at the same time from NYC with Terry Moran and Byron Pitts reporting from South Africa. CBS’ Anne-Marie Green will cover the memorial from New York during the network’s Up To The Minute show in the early hours. All the nets plan to stream the memorial on their websites and platforms.
Among the reasons CNN Worldwide chief Jeff Zucker may be the best thing that’s happened to the news operation in a while is his ability to make noise — Zucker gives great interviews. Most recently, he gave his first one-on-one interview since taking the gig last January, to Capital New York, which reported he “plans massive change at CNN.”
Actually it might be bigger news if he didn’t plan massive change at CNN, but, anyway, Capital said today that, after almost a year of tinkering, Zucker has concluded that a news channel cannot subsist on news alone. Zucker’s in good company here, most major news organizations having come to that conclusion a while ago. Capital warned this new thinking is likely to make “CNN traditionalists cringe.” By CNN traditionalists, Capital NY means “older viewers.” The publication also noted CNN’s “vanilla coverage” was once a point of pride. By “vanilla coverage” it means “straight reporting,” which had been CNN’s trademark. Zucker told Capital he wants news coverage “that is just not being so obvious.” He wants more of “an attitude and a take.”
Stephanie Cutter just got another new job today thanks to President Obama. Just over two and a half months since the former White House staffer debuted on CNN’s resuscitated Crossfire with co-hosts Newt Gingrich, S.E. Cupp and Van Jones, Cutter is back working for her old boss – at least partially. Obama Tuesday named his former Deputy Campaign Manager as a Member for the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. “I am honored that these talented individuals have decided to join this Administration and serve our country. I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come,” said Obama in a statement announcing Cutter’s appointment and several others today. With the political consultant as one of its four rotating hosts, Crossfire came back after 8 years odd the air on September 9 this year with modest ratings. A low impact patronage post, the Committee traditionally has the current First Lady as its Honorary Chair and Michelle Obama serves in that capacity for her husband’s administration. Cutter was Mrs. Obama’s Chief of Staff during the 2008 campaign.
UPDATE: CNN To Try Out Don Lemon And Brooke Baldwin Shows At 11 PM During Erin Burnett Maternity Leave
UPDATE, 10:40 AM: CNN said it will test out two programs at 11 PM during Erin Burnett’s maternity leave. For the three weeks of December 2nd, 9th and 16th, Don Lemon will host a half-hour show, The 11th Hour, from 11-11:30 PM ET, and Brooke Baldwin will host CNN Today from 11:30 PM-midnight. Both shows will have a limited run. CNN’s 7 PM program, Erin Burnett Outfront, usually repeats in that hour. The cable news network also said that, for the weeks of December 2nd, 9th and 16th, Jake Tapper will anchor Outfront, from 7-8 pm ET while continuing to host his program The Lead from 4-5 pm ET. For the weeks of December 23rd, 30th and January 6th, Lemon will anchor Burnett’s show.
You know who loves the MSNBC Puts Alec Baldwin’s New Show On Two-Week Suspension After Alleged Homophobic Rant story? CBS News, which is happy for any bright shiny light that distracts media finger-waggers from its botched 60 Minutes Benghazi report. Unfortunately, the two media-centric Sunday shows, on cable news networks CNN and Fox News Channel, weighed in anyway, though no damning new revelations or accusations came to light. Neither show was impressed with CBS’ internal review of the newsmag’s Benzhazi segment, which CBS News has said was reported out for a year. It was based on bum information given by a now discredited security contractor who’d written a now-discredited book about the incident for CBS’ publishing division. Some of Sunday’s talking heads noted CBS News exec producer Al Ortiz will be taking the results of his investigation into the failure of 60 Minutes exec producer Jeff Fager to the chairman of CBS News — Jeff Fager. “60 Minutes needs to re-report this story and share the results with the public,” advised CBS News alum Terence Smith on CNN’s Reliable Sources. Lara Logan’s day of apologizing “isn’t enough,” chimed in Fox News’ MediaBuzz host Howard Kurtz, who also called for an outside investigation, adding his boilerplate “We all make mistakes — myself included.”
Watch both shows:
Jon Stewart last night discovered/fell in love with CNN’s New Day Couch Sponsorship News-portunity, in which advertisers sponsor the morning show’s co-hosts as they walk from their desk to their couch. After fantasizing about the brainstorming session that produced the Couch Walk, headed by CNN chief Jeff Zucker (the guy who came up with “supersizing” for NBC’s primetime when he took over that network’s Entertainment, which kept that network in first place in the demo for a couple seasons, and allowed it to sell an extra ad break at Friends rates, while failing to develop the next Friends) including:
Walk to Couch
When Cats Tweet
Hot Thing/Cold Thing
Blitzer Kissing Booth
Cartoon Robot Sidekicks
Smell the News
All-Hologram Syria Coverage
Stewart announced The Daily Show was going to be rolling out sponsorship opportunities of its own, including:
Vaguely Justified Scatalogical Metaphor
Jon Stewart Crumpled His Script In Disgust.