The cable news networks have tinkered with tonight’s schedule as they continue coverage of the government shutdown and debt ceiling deadline. Fox News Channel will follow a live edition of Hannity at 10 PM ET, with Bret Baier anchoring …
UPDATE, 2:15 PM: When ABC News put out word this morning that Nightline anchor Bill Weir was leaving ABC News for “another opportunity in the news business,” The Reporters Who Cover Television began preparing their “Weir Heads To CNN” reports, figuring there was a high likelihood he would follow colleagues Jake Tapper, Chris Cuomo and John Berman to the cable news network. The development bore the signs of another Amy Entelis strike. Entelis, a 30-year ABC News vet who left as VP Talent and Strategy, and who in January 2012 was named to the newly created position of SVP Talent and Content Development at CNN Worldwide, had been given credit for the hires of the aforementioned ABC News staffers. When, several hours later, CNN made the announcement it had in fact hired Weir as an anchor – without naming any program — as well as Chief Innovation Correspondent, some of those reporters began to pick up Mediaite’s report, citing an unnamed source, that Weir had been promised all, or half, of Piers Morgan’s CNN time slot some time many months from now. CNN issued a statement “Bill Weir was not brought to CNN to replace Piers Morgan.” That seemed to put a lid on it, though some media reports continued to mull Morgan’s future at the network.
“At a time when CNN is expanding the definition of news, the former anchor of ABC News’ Nightline will work with producers to develop original programming across the schedule,” CNN had explained in its Weir announcement. “Bill’s range, sensibility and curiosity set him apart,” chimed in CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker. “He brings a unique storytelling style, perspective and sense of humor to CNN, and he will be a key player as we continue to expand our lineup.”
That might explain why cable news channels “have an outsized ability to influence the national debate and news agenda,” the Pew Research Center says based on its new study How Americans Get TV News At Home. …
2ND UPDATE 6:30 PM: The Republican National Committee is taking credit for NBC and CNN deep-sixing what the group calls “their Hillary Clinton infomercials”. In August, the RNC threatened to block both networks from the 2016 presidential debates if they were forward with their Clinton programs. Here RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski’s statement on their cancellation: “This was only the first step in the Republican Party taking control of our debate process. The purpose of our party’s debates is to better inform our grassroots and those participating in Republican primaries and caucuses. Now that CNN and NBC have canceled their Hillary Clinton infomercials, we will work on developing a new debate model that will address the timing, frequency, moderators and venues that will come in the next few months. Any media organization looking to be part of the debate process will have to comply with the new system.”
UPDATED, 3:18 PM: Having lost its production partner on its Hillary Clinton miniseries back in August, and with all the brouhaha that had erupted over its Clinton mini (and CNN’s documentary), NBC planned to announce that its biopic was a goner sometime down the road, a source tells us. But when CNN this morning announced the demise of its Clinton documentary, NBC pounced on the opportunity to slip its news into the CNN story, rather than have reporters pound away with will-NBC-or-won’t-NBC sidebars and second-day stories. This is known as taking out all the dirty laundry in one afternoon — public relations 101.
Now CNN has bailed on its plans for a Hillary Clinton documentary, but insisted the director made the call. The news comes just weeks after NBC issued a statement saying its Hillary Clinton miniseries — which was the biggest bit of news at its TCA Summer TV Press Tour appearance — was after all only a project in development and might never see the light of day (translation: don’t hold your breath). CNN let it be known this morning its CNN Films division had informed the mothership it would not move ahead on its Clinton docu – because the director had bowed out. “Charles Ferguson has informed us that he is not moving forward with his documentary about Hillary Clinton … [W]e won’t seek other partners and are not proceeding with the film,” CNN Worldwide told Politico. Message of the message: CNN did not decide to cancel the docu — it was the director’s decision.
In one of those incredible coincidences that makes this industry so interesting, Ferguson this very morning wrote a blog post published on Huffington Post, in which he complained pressure from Clinton’s camp and the Republican National Committee led many of his prospective interviewees to give him a “no dice” response to appearing in the docu. He expresses surprise to discover “that nobody, and I mean nobody, was interested in helping me make this film. Not Democrats, not Republicans — and certainly nobody who works with the Clintons, wants access to the Clintons, or dreams of a position in a Hillary Clinton administration. Not even journalists who want access, which can easily be taken away. I even sensed potential difficulty in licensing archival footage from CBN (Pat Robertson) and from Fox. After approaching well over a hundred people, only two persons who had ever dealt with Mrs. Clinton would agree to an on-camera interview, and I suspected that even they would back out.”
Chris Frates has joined the CNN Investigations Unit:
Frates will be based in Washington, DC, and will be part of the CNN Investigations unit. The Investigations unit produces exclusive, in-depth reports for all CNN platforms and programs, and has been honored with dozens of awards for its breaking news coverage. Frates will report to Patricia DiCarlo, director of the CNN Investigations unit, and will begin his new assignment in October. Most recently, Frates served as a national correspondent at the National Journal, where he covered congressional leadership and the intersection of money, politics and policy. While at the National Journal, Frates founded and managed Influence Alley, a blog that covered the ties between Congress and K Street. Prior to joining the National Journal, Frates served as a reporter at Politico, where he launched and authored Politico Influence and Politico Pulse, daily emails that brief readers on the lobbying world and health care reform, respectively.