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.
Martin Bashir has resigned from MSNBC after the drum beat failed to die down after he apologized on air for having suggested, on air, that someone might defecate in Sarah Palin’s mouth. “Upon further reflection, and after meeting with the president of MSNBC, I have tendered my resignation,” Bashir said in an email first posted by Mediaite today. “It is my sincere hope that all of my colleagues, at this special network, will be allowed to focus on the issues that matter without the distraction of myself or my ill-judged comments.”
Meanwhile, MSNBC president Phil Griffin, whose weeks-long silence on the subject of Bashir has been deafening, said today in a statement: “Martin Bashir resigned today, effective immediately. I understand his decision and I thank him for three great years with MSNBC. Martin is a good man and respected colleague — we wish him only the best.” Before this morning’s news, MSNBC — which fired Don Imus in 2007 for referring to members of the Rutgers women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hos” and suspended David Shuster for two weeks in 2008 for suggesting that Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign had “pimped out” daughter Chelsea by having her make phone calls to celebrities and convention delegates — had said the Bashir “matter” was being handled internally and it would have no comment.
This brings to two the number of on-air talent MSNBC has shed in the past several days. Late last week, the cable news network issued a joint announcement with Alec Baldwin’s camp, saying they had mutually decided to end Baldwin’s Up Late interview show.
MSNBC‘s joint announcement today with Alec Baldwin’s camp that they had mutually decided to end Baldwin’s Up Late interview show leaves the cable news network with just one on-air talent headache: Martin Bashir, whose apology for graphic comments he made about Sarah Palin hasn’t ended chatter as to whether he should be punished.
This past weekend, Palin, a Fox News analyst, said in an interview with Fox News Sunday that MSNBC was guilty of “executive hypocrisy” in not disciplining Bashir for his “vile, evil comments.” Following Bashir’s on-air apology, the network — which fired Don Imus in 2007 for referring to members of the Rutgers women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hos” and suspended David Shuster for two weeks in 2008 for suggesting that Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign had “pimped out” daughter Chelsea by having her make phone calls to celebrities and convention delegates — told the Associated Press it was “handling this [Bashir] matter internally,” and wouldn’t comment further.
Bashir had used his weekday afternoon program on November 15 to criticize Palin for having compared U.S. indebtedness to China to slavery. Bashir cited the diaries of a former plantation overseer who punished slaves by having someone defecate in their mouth or urinate on their face. Bashir suggested the former Alaska governor was a candidate for the same treatment. After Bashir made that suggestion, the same day MSNBC suspended Baldwin’s show after the host’s off-screen behavior, much debate ensued as to why Baldwin’s reprehensible rant during a heated off-air confrontation merited suspension, while Bashir’s thought-out, and deliberately gag-inducing, suggestion, made on air, did not. Bashir apologized during his next telecast, on November 18.
MSNBC and Alec Baldwin‘s camp announced jointly that Baldwin’s Friday show is toast: “We are jointly confirming that Up Late will not continue on MSNBC,” MSNBC and Baldwin rep Matthew Hiltzik said. Added MSNBC: “This is a mutual parting and we wish Alec all the best.” It’s the first MSNBC has spoken about Up Late’s suspension; Baldwin announced earlier this month the network had suspended his show for two weeks; his announcement came after a video clip caught him tearing into a photographer with at least one gay slur and possibly two, though Baldwin has denied uttering the second one and says he did not realize the first was a slur.
“Whether the show comes back at all is at issue right now,” Baldwin wrote in his blog after his show’s first week off the air, setting the stage for its non-return. “[If] the show dies, its fate ends up being no different than the vast majority of start-up TV programming, and so be it,” he wrote – though that all-about-the-ratings-like-any-other-start-up storyline grew less pat when Up Late’s fill-in show, Lockup, clocked an even smaller number than Baldwin’s show the past two weeks. MSNBC said Baldwin’s former time slot — Fridays at 10 PM — will continue to be taken by Lockup.
Last week, Baldwin attended a tech conference in San Francisco to jokingly profess his love for a man, in the hope of, once again, recalibrating his image. After asking a member of his entourage to stand up, Baldwin told him: “I want you to be my lover, Matt. I love you, Matt. I love you in that way.” The Associated Press reports Baldwin’s bit got a big laugh from the conference crowd. The actor also told that tech-conference crowd that he hopes his 3-month-old daughter learns to control her temper better than he has as an adult, the AP reported. He also told the group he now realizes he needs to choose his words more carefully. “If in any context, in the world that we live in today, if any word is remotely offensive to people, then I’m perfectly willing to learn a different word,” Baldwin said.
MSNBC had been very quiet since Baldwin announced his Up Late With Alec Baldwin was being taken off the cable news network for two weeks. That, after the entertainment website TMZ posted a video of the hot-tempered Baldwin’s latest rant. That included zipped lips in re whether the program, which had sunk about 40% in ratings in its brief five-week life, would return.
Tonight, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, MSNBC planned a primetime lineup that included the special JFK: The Day That Changed America, The Kennedy Brothers: A Hardball Documentary, 50 Years of Guns – a docu in which Al Sharpton profiles guns in America decades after Kennedy’s murder — and a “very enlightened and well-researched” edition of Up Late, “dealing with John Kennedy’s assassination,” according to that show’s host Alec Baldwin. But after Baldwin went on another homophobic slur-spewing against a photographer earlier this month, his well-researched show on the JFK assassination has been replaced by one of the cable news network’s Lockup programs, as part of what Baldwin has described as a two-week-and-possibly-forever suspension of his program.
“Whether the show comes back at all is at issue right now,” Baldwin wrote in his blog after his show’s first week off the air, setting the stage for its non-return. “[If] the show dies, its fate ends up being no different than the vast majority of start-up TV programming, and so be it,” he wrote — though that all-about-the-ratings-like-any-other-start-up storyline grew less pat when the fill-in Lockup clocked an even smaller number than Baldwin’s show.
While cable news networks including MSNBC spend the week walking up to the anniversary of JFK’s untimely death, Baldwin attended a tech conference Wednesday in San Francisco to jokingly profess his love for a man, in the hope of, once again, recalibrating his image — this time after a video clip caught him tearing into a photographer with at least one gay slur and possibly two, though Baldwin denies uttering the second one and says he did not realize the first was a slur. After asking a member of his entourage to stand up, Baldwin told him: “I want you to be my lover, Matt. I love you, Matt. I love you in that way.” The Associated Press reports Baldwin’s bit got a big laugh from the conference crowd.
MSNBC has been very quiet since Baldwin announced his Up Late With Alec Baldwin was being taken off the cable news network for two weeks. That, after the entertainment website TMZ posted a video of the hot-tempered Baldwin’s latest rant. That includes a state of mum-ness in re whether the program, which had sunk about 40% in ratings in its brief five-week life, will return.
A day after his MSNBC show Up Late With Alec Baldwin was put on a two week suspension, Alec Baldwin revealed on his blog that the long-term fate of the show is up in the air. “Whether the show comes back at all is at issue right now,” he wrote Saturday morning. “My producers and I had a very enlightening and well-researched program prepared to air on November 22nd itself, dealing with John Kennedy’s assassination. That show is off the air now.” Baldwin released an apology Friday for the alleged anti-gay remarks to a photographer that led to the MSNBC suspension, but in his lengthier blog post denied uttering any slur during the taped incident. “I can assure you, with complete confidence, that a direct homophobic slur (or indirect one for that matter) is not spoken,” he wrote.
Up Late premiered last month to up-and-down ratings in the Friday 10 PM slot and was still finding its footing when the hammer dropped yesterday. Baldwin’s blog post suggests it may not return at all even after the current two-week suspension. “[If] the show dies, its fate ends up being no different than the vast majority of start-up TV programming, and so be it. We do take a small amount of pride in knowing that we beat CNN in the ratings each of our nights. (I forget who they had on at that time),” he wrote.
UPDATE: Donald Trump Invites Vladimir Putin to Miss Universe Pageant Hosted By MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts
UPDATE, 1 PM: On Today’s MSNBC Live, Thomas Roberts asked Miss Universe pageant co-owner Donald Trump asked if giving a thumbs up to his hosting gig, which is “professionally flying in the face of” Russian anti-gay laws, “change any of your prior public stances on marriage equality here in the U.S?”
“No, it doesn’t change,” Trump responded, adding that Roberts is “a wonderful guy.” Trump said he’s invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to the pageant, on November 9. “I know for a fact that he wants very much to come, but we’ll have to see. We haven’t heard yet, but we have invited him.”
PREVIOUS: NBC News landed itself a great angle on a big news story when MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts signed to co-host the Miss Universe Pageant in Russia next month, joining NBC’s America’s Got Talent judge/“Spice Girl” Mel B. Roberts. “Courage is contagious. I have felt that way since coming out publicly in 2006,” Roberts explains on MSNBC.com, saying he aggressively sought the gig. Roberts is replacing NBCU-owned Bravo’s Andy Cohen, who previously hosted the pageant but said he would not do so this time because of Russia’s recently passed anti-gay laws which left him concerned for his own safety and feeling that, as a gay man, he should not set foot in Russia. (The pageant is co-owned by NBC and Donald Trump’s organization.)