“We should mention, we’re going to do this in a tasteful way — this is not The Learning Channel,” Savannah Guthrie said at the top of the hour on the Today show this morning, when Matt Lauer and Al Roker got prostate exams live, on the air, on ratings-hungry Today. Turns out, a tasteful, live, on-air prostate exam involves watching Lauer open a door, enter another room, close the door, after which the Ladies of Today vamp for 34 seconds until Matt emerges from behind the door and his doctor pronounces his prostate small, smooth, and nodule-free. It’s not as dull as, say, CNN’s Crossfire, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Katie Couric’s Celebrity Colonoscopy, about 13 years ago, on Today.
That live on-air colonoscopy changed how many Americans viewed the procedure. But back then, we watched Katie prep the night before, we listened to her talk about the death of her husband from colon cancer; Katie was sedated and therefore charmingly semi-loopy in her hospital gown at the hospital for the procedure. We watched in horror/fascination, as the little camera snaked its way up Katie’s intestine with Katie and her doctor proving commentary. It was gripping stuff. Matt and Al walking behind a door lacks drama. (continued)
More than 13 years ago, morning infotainment ratings leader Today aired Katie Couric’s Celebrity Colonoscopy and changed how many Americans viewed that screening. Tomorrow, Matt Lauer and Al Roker will get prostate exams live, on the air, on the now-ratings-hungry morning show. When Today made a star of Couric’s colon in March 2000, nearly 6.7 million viewers tuned in to watch that day. To put that in perspective, it’s about how many viewers tuned in to Today for updatesthe morning after President Obama successfully pulled off the taking down of Osama bin Laden. Hoping to re-create the ratings magic, Lauer and Roker will get their prostates checked out, live, by a doctor and discuss the importance of prostate screening for men over 40.
When she left the show in June 2006, Couric said on her final broadcast that undergoing the first televised colonoscopy was her proudest accomplishment. Read More »
UPDATE, 2:35 PM: NBC will air its Dateline special, using the helmet-cam video of the skydivers who survived that mid-air collision 12,000 feet above Wisconsin last weekend, this Friday at 8 PM on a Dateline special called Miracle On The Sunset Dive. Sure enough, NBC News was saving that second plot — the one whose plane caught fire and broke into pieces, and who was not seen on Tuesday’s Today show — for the Dateline special. “For the first time, hear from the pilot whose plane lost both of its wings and plummeted to the ground,” NBC News emoted in this afternoon’s scheduling announcement.
PREVIOUS, 10:17 AM: Word that NBC News had paid “in excess” of $100,000 for exclusive rights to helmet-cam video of skydivers who’d miraculously survived a recent mid-air collision in Wisconsin had some media critics harrumphing mightily, accusing NBC News of “checkbook journalism” albeit on a Hollywood-cappuccino-money level — but that’s not the point. In fairness, the news did not offend some media-watchers’ moral sense — no doubt because they don’t have one, you’re thinking. Read More »
NBC no doubt hopes Miley Cyrus‘ Today show appearance this morning cops better ratings than did her Saturday Night Live hosting/performing gig over the weekend. Undaunted by NCAA football’s best effort to nuke her SNL numbers with a nearly half-hour delay, trouper Cyrus packed up her Strategic Hot Mess Tour and sashayed on over to Today to make some news, telling Matt Lauer he’s too old to be sexy, or to understand her VMA performance.
Miley was the only one who mentioned the half-hour football delay — deadline in late-night — that no doubt kept her Twerking Michele Bachmann performance from becoming all the talk on the Sunday Beltway shows the next morning. That football overrun kept Miley from setting any SNL ratings records on the heels of her gone-viral VMA twerkformance. That said, SNL’s delayed-viewing stats will no doubt be even higher than usual. Matt instead, after praising her “really great showing on Saturday Night Live,” wondered if the seasoned pro — who has been slapped in front of TV cameras since around the turn of the century, starred in her own comedy series from ’06-’11, upstaged Justin Timberlake at the VMAs, and had hosted SNL before — was nervous on the late-night stalwart over the weekend. Miley politely explained that she was not. Then Matt said he would never be able to look at another foam finger or wrecking ball the same way again and wondered if it has been harder than she’d expected to navigate the transition from kid star to adult star, and if she was surprised by the attention she’s been getting of late. (Watch Miley talk to Matt after the jump.)
ABC News will officially announce tomorrow that Good Morning Americahas won the morning infotainment war for a full TV season. It marks GMA‘s first victory since the 1992-93 season in the news demographic, and in total viewers for the first time since the 1993-1994 TV season when the show was co-hosted by Charlie Gibson and Joan Lunden. GMA not only won every week of the season in total viewers (it won 43 weeks in the news demo), it also copped the No. 1-rated telecast of each of those weeks. For the full 51-week season (Nielsen specialed-out Hurricane Sandy Week owing to massive schedule, and reception, interruption), GMA clocked about 5.3 million total viewers and nearly 2 million adults 25-54, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Growing for a third straight year — up 9% compared to last season’s total viewer average of around 4.9 million — GMA won the 2012-13 season with its largest overall audience and largest season margin (about 680,000 viewers) over No. 2-ranked Today in more than 21 years. In adults 25-54, GMA also increased for the third year in a row — up 4% compared to last season’s demo average of 1.897 million — to deliver its strongest news demo performance in 5 seasons, and beat Today by its biggest news demo gap — nearly 90,000 – in 21 years. Read More »
The lives of producers tasked with finding fluffy upbeat videos to sprinkle into TV newscasts has become a living hell since Jimmy Kimmel punked a whole industry with his Twerk FailYouTube prank. That’s particularly true for those working under the watchful eye of Matt “Disappointed By The Laziness Of The Media” Lauer at the Today show. This morning, Today dove into the ratings catnip that is Jason Mortensen – star of a funny YouTube video that has nearly as many views as had Kimmel’s funny Twerk Fail before Kimmel revealed it was a prank – 6 million and growing in just one week. In the video, Mortensen is seen allegedly coming out from under anesthesia after surgery, being fed crackers by some very pretty woman who, he discovers, is his wife of several years, which causes him to exclaim, “I hit the jackpot!” and note she has perfect teeth. He withholds judgment on her twerkside, requesting she turn around, but she politely declines — because, of course, she’s documenting their whole renewed acquaintance to post on YouTube, “so he can see how he acts, and so I can show people,” she explained sweetly to the Today on-air panel of non-lazy journalists.
NBC News says the former heavyweight champ-turned-Broadway star will sit down with Matt Lauer in Las Vegas for an interview airing tomorrow morning on Today. Mike Tyson surprised the heck out of the press last week when they showed up for what they thought was a news conference about his return to boxing as a promoter, and instead listened as he told them, “I’m a motherfucker” who has been lying for years about being sober. Sure to come up will be this statement at last Friday’s news conference cum confessional: “I’m a bad guy sometimes. I did a lot of bad things, and I want to be forgiven. … I wanna change my life, I wanna live a different life now. I wanna live my sober life. I don’t wanna die. I’m on the verge of dying because I’m a vicious alcoholic. Wow. God, this is some interesting stuff.”
Congratulations Ann Curry! Your return to NBC on the one-year anniversary of your Today show ouster clocked bigger numbers than did Matt Lauer last week on his day with his exclusive Paula “I Is What I … Read More »
Paula Deen’s comments on Today this morning about her experience at the wrong end of a gun during a 1987 bank robbery dovetail with the statement made by the guy at the other end of the gun, according to the latest TV program to jump on the story today. “I was surprised when I walked in and saw the lady that was the teller at the window, because I knew her from the downtown bank where I normally bank,” the alleged robber said in his account of the incident, according to the police report obtained by CBS-distributed Inside Edition. “I thought she would recognize me because there were some holes in the stocking covering my face. I can’t remember her name, but I know who she is,” Inside Edition reported the man said, citing the police report. Deen told Matt Lauer this morning on Today that she had used “the N-word” just once, and in reference to this incident, during which she said the man’s hand was shaking, which caused her to fear he had recognized her. Deen is under the gun now because of a statement she made, during a deposition for a harassment suit that’s been filed against her, that she has used the racial slur in the past. Food Network announced it was dropping her after that deposition was leaked, and Walmart and Caesars Entertainment severed ties with the TV celebrity cook after her Today interview.
Celebrities on trial in the court of public opinion might want to think twice before using Today to get out their message. Almost immediately after Matt Lauer’s interview with Paula Deen on the program this morning, the show began critiquing it — and gave Deen mostly failing grades. “Paula Deen’s TODAY apology ‘failed’ and was ‘bizarre,’ experts say”, ran the Today.com headline. “Opinions are split over how effective her 13-minute mea culpa really was,” the show’s website’s critique said. The critique included reviews by public relations experts, one of whom noted, “(Former President Richard Nixon) never apologized by saying he was guilty or wrong about Watergate; she was the same way.”
“Toward the end it was kind of bizarre,” weighed in another. Insisting she’d only used the N-word once was a big strategic mistake, they all agreed. If anyone ever caught her on a cell phone making a racial slur “she’s done,” said one PR expert. The show ticked off the “other low points” in Deen’s appearance. Among them, she was accused of giving rehearsed responses and gestures, and of using “pidgin colloquialism” like “I is what I is.” Read More »
Wednesday’s live sitdown interview will be exclusive to NBC’s Todaywhose Matt Lauer had been scheduled originally to talk to Paula Deen on Friday. “She has told us she will be here this time,” Lauer said today on the air. The Southern comfort food cook was a no-show citing exhaustion Friday, the same day she received the bad news that The Food Network wasn’t going to renew her contract when it expires at the end of June. This, despite her release of two videotaped apologies for using “N-word” racial slurs in her past. Today on its website asked whether Deen can stage a comeback after the racism allegations. But this TV appearance also may re-ignite the media frenzy after what appears to be a public backlash to Deen’s punishment for what seemed a survivable scandal on the surface. Now the entire matter has sparked a national debate about what constitutes ”acceptable” old and new Southern attitudes towards race.
“It’s been an interesting year — no question about it,” NBC‘s Matt Lauer said to Jay Leno on Thursday night. Understatement much? But, the embattled Todayhost told the embattled Tonighthost, “I am not a guy who complains — I love this job, I … Read More »
Today‘s Matt Lauer this morning interviewed filmmaker John Ziegler, who has spent a year poring through evidence in the Penn State pedophile scandal to make a documentary he hopes will clear the name of the late legendary head coach Joe Paterno. Now, Paterno’s only alleged transgression was not being aggressive when a graduate assistant (who’d later become a coach) brought to his attention an “encounter” in the football showers between former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and an underage boy that sounded like molestation. We’ve written numerous stories on the subject, breaking stories about a feature film in the works that will likely re-team Scarface director Brian De Palma and Al Pacino for Happy Valley. That is the working title of a film based on Paterno, the book written by Joe Posnanski. Paterno was unceremoniously fired after the scandal shocked the nation, and the NCAA took unprecedented actions against the school, including stripping the coach of the distinction of being the winning-est major college football coach in history. All for the failure of Paterno and university higher-ups to do next to nothing to stop Sandusky, supposedly fearing bad publicity for the powerhouse gridiron program they presided over. Read More »