UTA apparently sees big business opportunities ahead for TV news personalities after picking up an agency whose client list includes Bill O’Reilly, Anderson Cooper, Robin Roberts, Megyn Kelly, Bob Scheiffer, Norah O’Donnell, and Glenn Beck. The changes at the operations will mostly be felt internally for now: N.S. Bienstock will keep its name and, as the companies put it, its “corporate identity, location and corporate ethos with the entire leadership team and agents remaining in place.” Founders Richard Leibner and Carole Cooper will continue to manage it as co-presidents, and will also become special advisers to UTA. Jonathan Leibner and Adam Leibner are now partners at UTA, but will continue to work at Bienstock. UTA Managing Director Jay Sures will oversee the relationship. “As the entertainment, media, news and technology industries comingle in new and exciting ways, we see tremendous potential for broadcast news talent across every conceivable media platform.” says UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer, whose company has been looking for opportunities to expand in the Big Apple. Richard Leibner says the alliance “is a significant step forward in the growth and evolution of N.S. Bienstock.” The companies say that Bienstock clients “will now have access to UTA’s full breadth of resources, including new opportunities across digital content platforms, motion pictures, scripted television, online entertainment, video gaming, books, theatre, touring, branding, licensing, endorsements, voiceovers and speaking engagements.”
A tumultuous year for cable news networks wrapped with all of them having experienced some kind of ratings ding compared to ’12 – except HLN, whose currency is court trials, not presidential election cycles. 2013 was the year of the George Zimmerman and Jodi Arias trials – a good year for HLN.
Perennial cable news ratings leader Fox News Channel wound up ‘13 ranked No. 6 in primetime among all ad-supported cablers – behind USA, ESPN, History, TBS and TNT – with an average audience of 1.761 million viewers. (For comparison sake, MSNBC ranked No. 29 with 640,000 viewers, and CNN ranked 32nd with 568,000. HLN brought up the rear, with a primetime average of 395,000 viewers, but that’s a 22% year-to-year improvement.)
FNC made headlines this year when it revamped its primetime slate in October, adding Megyn Kelly at 9 PM, and moving Sean Hannity to 10 and Greta Van Susteren to 7. Since the change, all four of FNC’s primetime shows are up in total viewers and in the demo compared to year to date averages with Kelly’s show up the most: 10% in the news demo and 20% in overall audience.
Jeff Zucker took over the reins at CNN at the start of ’13; the network edged back up to No. 2 in total day, but remained in third place in prime, behind MSNBC, with its smallest ratings in two decades. That said, CNN’s weekday primetime programs saw some growth, including Anderson Cooper’s double-digit improvement, and a Piers Morgan inch-up.
‘Daily Show’s Jon Stewart, FNC’s Bill O’Reilly Weigh In On Megyn Kelly’s Santa-Is-White Segment: Video
“I guess we all owe you an apology,” The Daily Show faux newsman Jon Stewart said Monday night for his cracks about Megyn Kelly‘s show segment debating Santa Claus and Jesus’ ethnic backgrounds, after the Fox News Channel anchor said the segment was tongue-in-cheek.
Over in the other corner, FNC’s Bill O’Reilly last night insisted Kelly was right, in re Santa being white, but that “the spirit of Santa transcends all racial boundaries,” adding that the bruhaha over her remarks is another attempt by “the far left” to demonize FNC, “because they cannot defeat us on the media battlefield.”
Click over to watch the Stewart video, but beware autoplay:
Last night marked Saturday Night Live hosting gig #13 for John Goodman, who noted that he’d last hosted in 2001 but stopped “because I had to work.” Speaking of having to work, the Inside Llewyn Davis co-star wasn’t the only veteran actor who showed up to promote a new flick: Grudge Match duo Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro dropped by to cameo alongside Goodman as the “Three Wise Guys” in a pre-holiday Nativity sketch (Sly & De Niro’s old-guy boxing pic hits theaters on Christmas Day). Unfortunately they lacked the ease Goodman had elsewhere even dressed as a snowflake and a woman. Meanwhile Kenan Thompson got significant screentime in multiple sketches through the night, including a stint as Black Santa as Weekend Update poked fun at Megyn Kelly‘s recent yuletide comments. Watch highlights below:
UPDATE: 8 PM: Megyn Kelly said tonight on her Fox News Channel program that her Wednesday show segment, in which she said that Santa Claus and Jesus are white, was tongue-in-cheek and that anyone who says otherwise needs to lighten up. “Humor is a part of what we try to bring to this show, but sometimes that’s lost on the humorless,” she said on tonight’s The Kelly File. “This would be funny if it were not so telling about our society, in particular, the knee-jerk instinct by so many to race-bait and to assume the worst in people, especially people employed by the very powerful Fox News Channel.” On her show Wednesday, Kelly and panelists discussed a Slate piece written by a black woman suggesting Santa should not be a white man anymore. Writer Aisha Harris suggested a penguin replace Santa Claus, so as to appeal to children of all races. “For all you kids watching at home,” Kelly said Wednesday. “Santa just is white, but this person is just arguing that maybe we should also have a black Santa. But Santa is what he is, and just so you know, we’re just debating this because someone wrote about it, kids.”
Then on tonight’s show, Kelly said: “Contrary to what my critics have posited, neither my statement, nor Harris’, I’m sure, was motivated by any racial fear or loathing. In fact, it was something far less sinister: a lifetime of exposure to the very same commercials, mall casting calls, and movies Harris references in her piece. Should that change? Well, that debate got lost because so many couldn’t get past the fact that I acknowledged, as Harris did, that the most commonly depicted image of Santa, does, in fact, have white skin.” She did acknowledge tonight that her assertion Wednesday that Jesus was a white man “is far from settled.” Kelly said, “The fact that an offhand jest I made during a segment about whether Santa should be replaced by a penguin has now become a national firestorm says two things: Race is still an incredibly volatile issue in this country, and Fox News, and yours truly, are big targets for many people.”
FNC’s Megyn Kelly To Jay Leno: “I Am A Straight News Anchor — I Am Not One Of The Opinion Hosts At Fox”: Video
“I always tell people if they think I am this conservative operative, ‘Ask Karl Rove if that’s true’,” Megyn Kelly told Jay Leno in making her first visit to …
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.
2nd UPDATE, 6:20 PM: “Good Evening everyone, I’m Megyn Kelly, and I’m BACK!” FNC‘s newest primetime host said/shouted at 9 PM ET today as she dove into the launch of The Kelly File while the camera panned lovingly over her fabulous little black dress and her gorgeous gams, that could be seen through her plexiglass desk. “What does it feel like to be The Most Hated Man in America?” she asked her first guest — Sen. Ted Cruz — her first question. Cruz instead said how honored he was to be her first guest on her first broadcast of her primetime show, as she returned from maternity leave to take over the plum post-Bill O’Reilly timeslot. “Thank you very much, sir. Now ANSWER the question!” Kelly barked, smiling.
Later in her maiden voyage as primetime host, Kelly welcomed the co-hosts of FNC’s The Five to discuss, among other topics, Miley Cyrus’s appearance earlier today on NBC’s Today show in which Miley told Matt Lauer he, like everyone over 40, is too old for sex. A theory that Miley may have a “mental health issue” seemed to be gaining favor, until Kelly shot it down by mentioning “some study recently” that found women over 40 have the most satisfying sex lives — because they don’t want it, and aren’t having it.
Things are changing at Fox News Channel on October 7. That’s when the cable news network will celebrate the 17th anniversary of its launch — and also will have an almost all-new primetime lineup. Megyn Kelly is taking over Sean Hannity’s 9 PM slot with The Kelly File as Hannity moves to 10 PM. On the Record With Greta Van Susteren moves from 10 PM to 7 PM, taking over the Fox Report slot soon to be vacated by Shepard Smith, while ratings juggernaut The O’Reilly Factor stays at 8 PM. This is the first significant shift in FNC’s prime lineup in more than a decade — since Van Susteren debuted at 10 PM in 2002. “As the network continues to dominate with the top 13 programs in cable news, Fox News already redefined primetime viewing to extend well beyond the antiquated 8-11 PM format”, said FNC boss Roger Ailes in a statement today. “We’ve developed a deep bench of engaging and thought-provoking personalities that have grown with Fox News as it has evolved into the most influential and successful cable network in television. These changes will enable the network to continue setting the industry standard for years to come.” This is the latest of a series of changes at the cable news network that has seen Smith get a new show and new role, former The View co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck join morning show Fox & Friends and F&F’s Gretchen Carlson get her own daytime show.
After years of a steady schedule, Fox News Channel is shuffling its primetime deck. The cable news network announced today that Megyn Kelly will be joining FNC’s primetime lineup in some as yet unspecified capacity. The daytime America Live host is currently set to go on maternity leave later this month. FNC also said today that it has signed new long-term contracts with its evening stars Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Greta Van Sustern, as well as news anchors Shepard Smith and Bret Baier. Both Kelly and Van Sustern were reupped by FNC back in early May. Read the release from FNC today here:
Megyn Kelly will move to FOX News Channel’s (FNC) primetime lineup upon her return from maternity leave, announced Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO, FOX News. Additionally, the network has signed long-term deals with Bret Baier, Shepard Smith, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteren. A new schedule will be announced at a later date.
In making the announcement, Ailes said, “Megyn is an exceptional talent who has successfully filled and surpassed each role we have given her at the network. Her ability to command the screen, delve into the facts and lead a debate is what makes her one of the most sought-after anchors in the business.”
Megyn Kelly and Greta Van Susteren are both going to be at Fox News Channel for a while but it may not be in their present time slots. Both the America Live and the On The Record …