Despite a busy news day of bad weather and the mourning of Nelson Mandela, Friday night was not kind to CNN and its primetime hosts Anderson Cooper and Piers Morgan. Cooper’s AC 360 hit not just its lowest viewership and demo results for the year to date but its worst numbers since moving to the 8 PM time slot in August 2011. At 8 PM, the CNN show pulled in 255,000 total viewers with just 58,000 in the adults 25-54 demo, according to Nielsen. Meanwhile, Cooper’s lead-out Piers Morgan Live at 9 PM had its second-worst result all year with 252,000 total viewers and 56,000 adults 25-54. Overall, the Jeff Zucker-run network had its third-worst primetime result of 2013 and its worst Friday viewer numbers since he took over. Just 277,000 were watching the cable news network on average from 8-11 PM — that’s way behind Fox News’ 2.098 million overall viewers and 373,000 in the demo and MSNBC’s 493,000 and 112,000. CNN’s worst overall primetime viewership result came on November 28, when it had 256,000 viewers overall — and Cooper and Morgan didn’t have a show on. The cable news network’s second-worst primetime was October 28 with 259,000 viewers overall.
UPDATED, 11:30 AM: Martin Bashir‘s resignation from MSNBC after making graphic statements about Sarah Palin on his program led to some interesting, and unexpected, results. This morning, for instance, Palin praised the media for keeping on the story alive after Bashir apologized for comments he made about her on his show. “It was refreshing to see though, that many in the media did come out and say, ‘Look our standards have got to be higher than this’,” Palin said this morning on Fox News Channel‘s Fox & Friends. “Those with that platform, with a microphone, a camera in their face, they have to have some more responsibility taken.” Meanwhile, Alec Baldwin, who’d added his voice to the chorus wondering why MSNBC had not punished Bashir for his incendiary, pre-planned on-air comment about Palin — Baldwin had been suspended, then canceled for his homophobic rant against a photographer — weighed in with support of Bashir after word of the latter’s resignation got out. “I’m sorry to learn that @MartinBashir is out at MSNBC,” Baldwin tweeted yesterday, followed a minute later by, “Bashir created great television.” On his November 15 MSNBC program, Bashir called Palin a “world class idiot” for comparing the country’s debt to China to slavery. After describing one slave-owner’s practice of forcing a slave to defecate in another slave’s mouth, Bashir said Palin would be a good candidate for such treatment.
Stephen Colbert Unveils Bot That Turns Positive Movie Reviews Into Praise For Fox News Channel: Video
Comedy Central‘s Jon Stewart-generated late-night shows keep firing buckshot at Fox News Channel for laughs and ratings. Last night, before interviewing Murdoch’s World author (and NPR media critic) David Folkenflick, The Colbert Report‘s Stephen Colbert mentioned that Folkenflick accuses Fox news of “public relations sculduggery” involving staffers assigned to rebut every negative blog post about the cable news network in the posts’ comments sections — one former staffer using 100 aliases to get the job done. Colbert then unveiled @RealHumanPraise, a bot created by one of his show’s staff writers, that “takes film reviews from Rotten Tomatoes and swaps out the names of movies for those of beloved Fox News shows and personalities.” It’s been operational for a week and has already posted more than 5,000 tweets.
A review of The Omen now reads: “All references to prophecy and the anti-Christ aside, Shepard Smith’s reporting achieves its horror the old-fashioned way #PraiseFOX.” Other tweets have included:“If Mike Huckabee doesn’t find you wishing you had a gun on you, this is one of his better efforts #PraiseFOX,” “The Kelly Files emphasizes the purpose of fairy tales in our lives and the way a fantasy can help us see reality more clearly #PraiseFOX,” and “While you’re watching it, Hannity lives up to its title #PraiseFOX”. Watch the clip here:
UPDATED: Slain TSA Agent With Warner Bros. Ties ID’d; LAX Shooting Leaves News Networks Cautious, Celebrities Cub-Reporting, ‘Mad Men’ Crew Stranded
PREVIOUS UPDATE, FRIDAY PM: Cable news networks exercised extreme caution covering the shootout at LAX this morning when a gunman opened fire with a high-powered rifle at a security area and made his way deep into Terminal 3 before being wounded and apprehended — a shooting that left one TSA agent dead, and actors and network execs reporting for news operations.
In the cable news First To Bulletin Race: Fox News Channel broke in first, at 12:42:43 PM ET, followed by CNN at 12:44:38 and MSNBC 12:46:34 to cover the shooting that left injured seven — six of whom were sent to local hospitals, including the gunman, who was shot multiple times in the chest by an LAPD officer.
James Franco was on the scene — of course he was — though stuck in a plane at LAX. “At #lax Some S**tbag shot up the place” he tweeted, also Instagramming a pic of himself stuck on the plane. Tim Daly called in to CNN and delivered one of the most colorful initial reports from the scene. He’d been in a VIP lounge at Terminal 3 when the gunman was wounded and apprehended very nearby, in the vicinity of Gate 35, he said. Very quickly after the shooting “The LAPD burst into the lounge…weapons drawn, herding everybody together to make sure there were no bad guys in the lounge,” he described, noting that “having a gun pointed at you” in real life is a harrowing experience. He complimented authorities for doing “an outstanding job trying to keep people calm” and said he and others were locked in the lounge for “almost an hour” and when they were brought out, he saw a rifle and several clips on the ground about 30 feet away, as well as a blood and broken glass. Authorities told them to be careful not to disturb the blood or glass as they moved to the tunnel.
But Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters personality Tory Belleci is credited with breaking the new that something was up at LAX when he tweeted at 9:23 AM:”Something crazy is doing down at LAX. People running everywhere. We just got evacuated.” He and Mythbusters colleague Grant Imahara were in Terminal 3 at the time of the shooting, en route to Delaware for the filming of Discovery’s Punkin Chunkin. The two are tentatively booked to tell their stories to CNN’s Anderson Cooper tonight; Belleci was closer to the shooting, at Gate 33, while Imahara was also in the Virgin Airlines lounge. “During evac, I counted officers from Airport Police, LAPD, Homeland Security & other local PDs. All calm, all working together. Thanks guys!” Imahara tweeted about two hours after the gunfire.
AMC’s Lionsgate period drama Mad Men was the only thing filming at the airport today, according to officials at the LAX film office. The crew of about 20-30 had just completed the scene they were filming, at Terminal 4, before shooting occurred and, like many others at LAX, were held in limbo while authorities investigated the shooting. Only late this afternoon was the crew at the airport –able to get the last of their equipment out of the airport, and they had to literally walk it out – no trucks allowed.
“Go fuck yourself,” Jon Stewart told the media — but, mostly, Fox News Channel – in response to an orchestra of news talking heads having pointed to Stewart’s snarking about the Affordable Care Act as proof of its failure. “If you’ve lost Jon Stewart you’re in trouble,” FNC’s Howard Kurtz said at the top of Stewart’s The Daily Show segment last night, followed by other mostly FNC talking heads and guests contributing plenty more where that came from:
* “I guess it was very significant that even Jon Stewart has turned against this.”
* “I can’t recall even Jon Stewart doing that before.”
* “When Jon Stewart and SNL are making fun of the job you are doing and the website, that speaks to the fact that young Americans are laughing at the secretary and the website.”
“If that causes things to end, why is the network you are on still on the air?” Stewart faux wondered aloud. “Don’t act like us making jokes about a certain program or the president is evidence that politician, or issue, has reached some tipping point for action,” he scolded, noting he’d also mocked former President Bush, VPOTUS Dick Cheney, etc.
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 …
FOX News has hired columnist Dr. Ben Carson as a contributor, announced Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of the network. Carson will provide analysis and commentary across Fox News Channel’s daytime and primetime programming and will make his debut in the new role on The Kelly File tonight. For 39 years, Carson served as the director of pediatric surgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. He retired last June and now serves as a professor emeritus at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. During his career there, he performed the only successful separation of Siamese twins joined at the back of the head, in 1987.