It might be known as the week that saw an earthquake at Fox News Channel as Megyn Kelly beat the almost unbeatable Bill O’Reilly in the key news demo last week. Yes, the 9 PM The Kelly File has topped 8 PM’s The O’Reilly Factor on FNC before both on individual nights and even for a full week. However, those single nights were mainly around the time Kelly’s show debuted in early October last year and on Election Night 2013. The Kelly File beat The Factor during the week of May 5, but O’Reilly himself wasn’t hosting that week. Last week’s victory was the first host-to-host face-off where Kelly came out the winner. From June 2-June 6, Kelly File drew 413,000 adults 25-54. That’s a hair ahead of the 402,000 that O’Reilly pulled in among the demo, but in ratings as in horse races, a win is still a win. Both shows were up from the 344,000 and 370,000 among the 24-54s that they had the previous week, respectively. O’Reilly remained No. 1 with 2.528 million viewers overall compared to Kelly’s 2.434 million. Last week was Kelly’s second best week of the year among the demo so far. For the week of January 27, the host had 440,000 viewers on average among Adults 25-54. With Kelly at No. 1, O’Reilly at No. 2 and Hannity at No. 3 with 340,000 in the demo, FNC …
Fox News’ New Take On Female Panelist Daytime Talker Will Feature One Guy And Be Called ‘Outnumbered’
Fox News Channel finally announced the replacement program with which it will fill the void left when Megyn Kelly moved to primetime — Outnumbered. It’s kind of like The View, in that it’s a panel of women taking on the day’s top news/pop culture headlines — only with an FNC spin in that it’s got one rotating slot for a guy, who’s, you know, outnumbered. The announcement comes the same day The View announced it had talked all of its current and former co-hosts — including the ones who left under a cloud — to return to the show May 15 to say so-long to Babs Walters, who is retiring as show on-air Den Mom, though she’s continuing as show exec producer.
Outnumbered debuts Monday, April 28 at 12 PM ET; Fox Report Weekend anchor Harris Faulkner and Fox Business Network’s Sandra Smith are among the panelists named today. Additional personalities to be featured include co-hosts of The Five, Kimberly Guilfoyle and Andrea Tantaros; along with FNC contributors Jedediah Bila, Katie Pavlich and Kirsten Powers. Each of the panelists maintain their respective roles on FNC and FBN.
Megyn Kelly has landed a sit-down with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — his first cable news network interview since his January press conference on the George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal. Kelly’s Fox News Channel interview — a cable news exclusive — will be presented on The Kelly File in two parts, tomorrow and Monday. The interview will take place at the governor’s Trenton office; he also is expected to be asked about his 2016 presidential aspirations and the other members of the GOP field.
ABC News’ Diane Sawyer sat down with Christie and his wife Mary Pat today at their home in New Jersey — his first television interview since that marathon January news conference. The interview airs tonight on World News and all ABC News platforms.
FNC Hangs On To Ratings Lead But CNN’s Bill Weir Tops His Timeslot, While NBC’s Chuck Todd Joins CNN Critics As Missing Plane Coverage Continues
As the Mystery of Missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 mystery dragged on, Fox News Channel continued its hold on primetime Thursday in the news demo (391,000) with CNN a competitive No. 2 (321,000) followed, not closely, by MSNBC (166,000) and HLN (128,000). Piers Morgan Live, hosted by possible Morgan replacement Bill Weir (373,000), was the only CNN program to best FNC — Megyn Kelly (353,000) in the demo. But CNN took a tumble at 10 PM when the network switched from missing-plane coverage to docu-series Chicagoland (172,000). FNC’s Hannity clobbered it (331,000). Earlier in the evening, CNN’s Erin Burnett (347,000) came within 9,000 demo viewers of FNC’s Greta Van Susteren (356,000), after which FNC’s Bill O’Reilly (486,000) widened the lead, over CNN’s Anderson Cooper (420,000).
Weekly Column: People who work in the media are deeply divided into two factions right now: those who think TV news operations have lost their minds with their coverage of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, and those believe there’s no such thing as too much when it comes to this Practically Perfect TV News Story that has held viewers spellbound for nearly two weeks and potentially launched a few new TV careers, despite a pesky lack of actual information. And while few things in this world are more painful than the realization that an estrangement has occurred between colleagues who for years have jogged along through life sharing the same views on the relative importance of TV news, the uselessness of overnight ratings, the urgency of attracting millennials (or at least viewers under 50) and how great House Of Cards is, the divide has been interesting to watch play out.
In the interest of accuracy, viewers actually have learned a lot watching coverage of the missing plane story. They now have useful information about the relative ease of boarding an international flight in Malaysia with a stolen passport, which may inform future vacation-making plans. Better still, they’ve learned where Malaysia is on a map, its proximity to Australia, and the depth of the Indian Ocean. They know how much they could get on the open market for a used Boeing 777. Security experts have told them they’re not alone in suspecting that a steward armed with an aisle-blocking beverage cart is not a terribly effective way to thwart a would-be plane hijacker during a pilot potty break. They now know what a “C block” is in the TV news biz thanks to Fox News star Megyn Kelly, who joked to NYT reporter Michael Schmidt, “Way to hold it right until the C block, Michael!” the other night when he was her guest — but waited to give her his scoop (that its first path-diverting turn was done by a computer system programmed in the cockpit) until later in her program so it would first break on his paper’s website.
Viewers love this story because it’s jammed with mystery, and pathos, and taps into their fear of flying — like Lost. So many had suggested it resembled the setup of the ABC serialized hit that a plan to screen the pilot during last weekend’s 10-year reunion panel at PaleyFest was scrubbed, out of consideration for the families of the missing passengers and crew. Last Sunday, CNN’s Don Lemon wondered, “Especially today, on a day when we deal with the supernatural — we go to church, the supernatural power of God…people are saying to me, ‘Why aren’t you talking about the possibility — and I’m just putting it out there — that something odd happened to this plane, something beyond our understanding?’ ”
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 NBC‘s Tonight show. “The way we do it on the Fox News Channel is the straight news anchors—like myself—give a hard time to both sides.”
She singled out Anthony Weiner as a “contentious interview”: “He used to come on the show, and he was so full of hubris and he was so—sort of—in your face… If you were walking around with that kind of secret, and you were going on the national news, wouldn’t you dial it back a little bit,” she asked, turning to Leno’s other guest, Simon Cowell. “I don’t know,” said Cowell, who is in the news these days for getting a pal’s estranged wife pregnant. Kelly reminisced about the time her show put up on the screen a graphic showing congress has a lower approval rating than cockroaches and hemorrhoids. Leno suggested “the internet” has caused the congressional stalemate. Kelly said it would help if the White House would do more outreach to congressional leaders but that it doesn’t help to have the Republican leader in the Senate saying their primary goal is to stop Barack Obama‘s agenda, adding she doesn’t know how to fix it but “I know …
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.