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Nat Geo Tosses Bits Of New Monica Lewinsky Interview To News Orgs To Plug Documentary ‘The 90′s: VIDEO

By | Tuesday July 1, 2014 @ 7:51am PDT

Nat Geo Tosses Bits Of New Monica Lewinsky Interview To News Orgs To Plug Documentary ‘The 90′s: VIDEONational Geographic Channel today tossed bits of its Monica Lewinsky interview to plug its new three-part docu, The 90s: The Last Great Decade. NBC News Today show, for instance, aired an “exclusive first look” at Monica Lewinsky’s interview that just happened to also include a snippet of Brian Williams weighing in, and a clip of a Saturday Night Live sketch from that era that poked fun at Lewinsky. CNN also lent a hand, showing a clip in which Lewinsky modestly observes, “I was the most humiliated woman in the world” — Lewinsky World being a place in which there is no Hillary Clinton.

Today, more accurately, called Lewinsky  “the most famous White House intern in history.”

In the clip of her interview for the NatGeo’s upcoming three-parter (her first TV interview since ’03) Lewinsky also called herself a “virgin”  — as in, “I was a virgin to humiliation of that level, until that day” when details of her canoodling with President Clinton were revealed in a 445-page report by special prosecutor Kenneth Starr. The lines just kept on coming; Lewinsky said, of finding herself “in the vortex of this media maelstrom,” back then,  she now thinks it “had to do with the fact that I was a woman.”
Watch here: Read More »

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UPDATE: NBC News Keeps Clipping Edward Snowden In Advance Of Tonight’s Exclusive Interview (Video)

By | Wednesday May 28, 2014 @ 8:20am PDT

UPDATED: NBC News, nbc-newswhich is battling ABC News for the ratings top spot in various dayparts, continues to tease tonight’s exclusive primetime interview with Edward Snowden.  This morning on Today NBC News aired a clip in which Snowden explained he’s in Russia because the United States stranded him there, and Secretary of State John Kerry called Snowden “pretty dumb,” adding that a “patriot” would return to the U.S. and “trust in the American system of justice.”

abcnewsABC News responded with a video clip of its exclusive look inside the training program designed to keep U.S. diplomats safe overseas and how it was expanded “After Benghazi” — and a tweet from outgoing ABC News president/incoming Disney/ABC Television Group co-president Ben Sherwood about ABC World News’s May sweep win, reports of which you may have seen last week  (final few days of that derby came in this morning, making it super-official):

Watch Today‘s Snowden interview clip here: Read More »

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Industry Bemused By Report NBC News Talking To Katie Couric About Subbing For ‘Today’s Savannah Guthrie

By | Monday May 5, 2014 @ 12:48pm PDT

LisaColumn__131015210634-275x198NBC News is having conversations with Katie Couric about filling in for Savannah Guthrie when Guthrie goes on maternity leave during the summer. Nothing is set, and the news division also is talking to others about helping out Katie-Couricwhile Guthrie’s gone, including Natalie Morales — and Meredith Vieira  who had Guthrie’s job a few years ago (pre-Ann Curry) and could use the platform to help plug the launch of her daytime talk show in the fall.

Related: ‘GMA’ Beats ‘Today’ By Biggest Margin In 3 Months; ‘Today’ Tops 18-49

Vieira’s the gal who beat Couric when Couric subbed for Robin Roberts over at ABC’s Good Morning America in April 2012. Back then, Couric was getting ready to launch her daytime talk show. After GMA announced its weeklong Couric booking two years ago, Today promoted some big “gets”  — including a “surprise legend” that Monday, who turned out to be Vieira announcing she would participate in NBC’s coverage of the Summer Olympics in London. (NBC noted the next morning that GMA enjoyed bigger ratings two Mondays ago than it did that Monday with Couric.) Read More »

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‘Today’ Lands First Post-Release Interview With Vice News’ Simon Ostrovsky

By | Sunday April 27, 2014 @ 2:26pm PDT

simon ostrovskyNBC’s Today Show has landed the first on-air interview with Vice News reporter Simon Ostrovsky since his release from a four-day detainment in Ukraine by pro-Russian forces. The American correspondent was held in the eastern Ukraine city of Slovyansk during his time in captivity. He’d been covering Russia’s invasion of Crimea in video dispatches for Vice since March. Ostrovsky will sit down with Today‘s Savannah Guthrie live Monday, April 28 with an additional interview airing that night on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.

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John Oliver Visits Jimmy Fallon, Matt Lauer To Promote HBO ‘Last Week Tonight’ Debut: Video

John Oliver took the NBC package deal to promote the launch of his new HBO late night show, Last Week Tonight this coming Sunday. Oliver stopped by Tonight show last night, where he made fun of Jimmy Fallon‘s interview style and talked about friends’ reaction to his final The Daily Show appearance:

Earlier this week, Oliver so deftly explained to Today show’s Matt Lauer why his satirical show would not bother to cover a report that had just been featured on Today, that Lauer barely noticed he’d been dinged: Read More »

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‘Good Morning America’ Celebrates First Quarterly Demo Win With ‘Today’ At Olympics

robin-roberts-webThe same day ABC’s Good Morning America officially said so long to news anchor Josh Elliott, it announced it had delivered its most watched quarter in more than 22 years in first quarter 2014. The show also celebrated its first demo win for a quarter in which NBC broadcast an Olympics, since Nielsen’s electronic records began. That said, Today, which broadcast during a chunk of the quarter from the Sochi Winter Games, cut its quarterly total viewer gap relative to GMA by 22% (150,000) and posted the most year-to-year total viewer growth of the broadcast morning infotainment programs.

The quarter was GMA’s seventh consecutive win over Today in total viewers and sixth in the news demo. GMA logged 5.908 million viewers in the quarter and 2.339 demo viewers. NBC’s Today clocked 5.369 million viewers and 2.210 demo viewers. CBS This Morning averaged 3.148 million viewers and 1.060 million demo viewers — which, is  that morning show’s best first-quarter total viewer delivery in a decade, and an 11% total-viewer jump compared to same quarter last year.

The GMA numbers are good news for that morning infotainment program, because its  longtime weatherman Sam Champion bowed out at the end of ’13. More recently, ABC News chief Ben Sherwood announced Sunday GMA’s news anchor Josh Elliott had left to take a job at NBC Sports.

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NBC’s ‘Today’ Wraps Love Your Selfie Campaign To Hang On To Sochi Viewers: Video

By | Friday February 28, 2014 @ 7:33am PST

today-show__130820101116-275x177NBC‘s Today show has tried to hang on to its Sochi ratings bump with a week-long Love Your Selfie campaign that this morning included a First Daughter to First Lady talk about childhood obesity. Its second week of Sochi broadcasts during Olympic competition, Today scored 5.844 million viewers, which was down 6% from the previous week’s 6.134 million viewers. Today logged 2.310 million news-demo viewers, slipping 8% from previous 2.506 million. Today outperformed ABC’s Good Morning America, which logged 5.590 million viewers overall last week, and 2.174 million in the demo. Today’s advantage over GMA in total viewers grew by 54% week-to-week, though its demo advantage slipped 16%. Watch Today‘s former First Daughter correspondent Jenna Bush Hager interview First Lady Michelle Obama:

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NBC Makes It Official: Tamron Hall To Co-Host Third Hour Of ‘Today’

By | Monday February 24, 2014 @ 6:21am PST

Todayshow07__120726201155-200x129Tamron Hall joins Al Roker, Natalie Morales and Willie Geist at 9 AM. A regular fill-in host on Today, Hall has most recently interviewed Hugh Jackman, Mariah Carey, and Instagram’s CEO Kevin Systrom for the show. In addition to her role on the morning infotainment program, Hall is the anchor of MSNBC’s NewsNation which launched in 2010.  Hall joined MSNBC in 2007 and has since hosted several special reports for MSNBC and NBC News. Hall also hosts Investigation Discovery’s Deadline: Crime With Tamron Hall and TLC’s Sister Wives — produced by NBC News’ Peacock Productions.

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‘Today’ Beats ‘Good Morning America’ From Sochi, But Margins Shrink

By | Tuesday February 18, 2014 @ 2:55pm PST

Today climbed back on top of the ratings among morning infotainment programs, last week,  though it did not find itself at the same dizzying ratings heights, relative to the competition, it has enjoyed in past Winter Games.   Today, after today3some recent ratings doldrums, delivered its biggest audience advantages over ABC’s Good Morning America since the second week of the London Games in August 2012, according to fast national program ratings from Nielsen for last week.

The second week of the London Games, you’ll recall, is the last time Today show beat GMA in total viewers. GMA has won every week since in overall audience.

Today averaged 6.221 million viewers last week — its biggest weekly crowd since the week of the Royal British wedding in April 2011. Today‘s 6.221 million viewers topped GMA’s 6.010 million for the week by 211,000 viewers. For comparison sake, that second week of the London Games, Today’s total viewers lead over GMA was 1.541 million. And Today’s lead over GMA during the first full week of broadcast goodmorningamerica_2012__120411163915__130328183014__130404165656from the Olympics in 2010 was 1.884 million.

In the news demo, Today averaged 2.545 million viewers its first full week of Sochi Olympics broadcasts –  its biggest demo haul since the week of the Joplin, Missouri tornado in May of ’11. That 2.545 million is 185,000 viewers ahead of GMA’s 2.360 million demo viewers last week. Here too, it’s Today’s biggest edge over GMA since the second week of the London Games. Four years ago, during the comparable week at Vancouver, Today led GMA by 1.011 million demo viewers. Read More »

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Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Tonight Show’ Luge Gag Delights ‘Today’ Team: Video

By | Tuesday February 18, 2014 @ 7:36am PST

NBC’s Today team this morning celebrated making the opening monologue in Jimmy Fallon’s celebrity-strewn Tonight Show debut last night. “The screaming actually came from their sled,” Jimmy Fallon had joked as he showed a clip of spandex-ed Al Roker and Matt Lauer making their return to the luge, on the Olympic track in Sochi. “You can’t unsee that,” Fallon snarked.

Watch here:

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UPDATE: Meredith Vieira Steps In For Bob Costas At Sochi Games, Makes TV History

By | Friday February 14, 2014 @ 6:34pm PST

MeredithVieira110913221045-275x275UPDATE, 6:30 PM: “At an Olympics, there is no way to know what will happen at the moment everything matters most — no guarantee you’ll turn all that preparation into perfection,” Meredith Vieira said tonight at the International Broadcast Center in Sochi as she kicked off NBC’s primetime broadcast of Olympics competition held earlier in the day. The comment was particularly appropriate under the circumstances: Vieira, who’d been brought to Sochi to co-host the Opening Ceremony with Matt Lauer and had been doing segments for Today on U.S. athletes to watch at the Games since, was tapped to replace Bob Costas as the network’s primetime Games anchor, taking over for Lauer, who’d pulled double duty for three days. Costas still is battling an infection in both eyes that makes studio lighting his enemy.

Related: Sochi Olympics’ First Wednesday Ratings Free-Fall From 2010

nbcsochi__131202172913__140212145821Vieira is on duty for at least one night – possibly two, according to NBC’s Games EP Jim Bell, who called her the best choice for the gig among a considerable stable of talent at Sochi because her schedule was most flexible. For a TV veteran whose new syndicated daytime talk show is set to launch in the fall, the Sochi exposure is a gift. Before Costas, former Today anchor Bryant Gumbel served as primetime host of NBC’s Olympic coverage and was preceded by Curt Gowdy and Bill Henry, making Vieira the first woman to do the job. Hannah Storm, Mary Carillo, Gayle Gardner and Jane Pauley have previously hosted NBC’s daytime and late-night Olympic coverage.

“It’s so funny, I woke up this morning and I was feeling fine, and now my eyes are killing me,” Vieira joshed on Today this morning when her new assignment was announced. “I watched you guys [Lauer and Al Roker] attempt the luge. I think I’m going blind.” Read More »

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Al Roker Lands ‘Today’ In Thick Of Snowstorm Story From Sochi When He Apologizes For Forecasting One Term For NYC Mayor: Video

By | Friday February 14, 2014 @ 8:18am PST

roker1Today show weatherman Al Roker apologized this morning on air from Sochi for suggesting New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio would be one term and out over his “goofball” decision to keep schools open in the thick SochiOlympicsNBC__131021180345__140123184857__140127203358of the latest winter storm.

One of the popular theories as to why NBC’s Today show is not grabbing the usual winning crowds it enjoys whenever it goes to an Olympics (its ratings have popped, but ABC’s Good Morning America was able to snag a bigger crowd this past Tuesday, for instance, though Today jumped back on top Wednesday) is  that Today is getting pummeled by the weather. Not the surprisingly warm temperatures in Sochi, which is affecting conditions for several Olympics competitions, but the mondo snowstorm that was forecast for, and then hit, the U.S. East Coast. Particularly East Coast morning viewers looking for information about the storm barreling down on them might have been too distracted to watch Team Today each morning, interviewing U.S. medal winners, discussing Russian culture, and wearing eucalyptus-branch hats while soaking at a Russian bath house. That, even though Today at least one morning led its broadcast with a big storm report, and has included segments on the storm throughout its Sochi broadcasts.

Today weatherman Roker may have solved that problem when he gave himself a speaking part in the storm spectacle, launching a Twitter tirade against New York mayor Bill de Blasio over the latter’s decision to keep NY schools open Thursday despite severe weather warnings. This morning, Roker got a big fat plug across the media landscape when he apologized on Today for one of those tweets, in which he gave his “long-range forecast” that de Blasio would be a one-term mayor.

Read More »

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TCA: Weather Channel Tells TV Critics That DirecTV Is Putting Americans At Risk; Critics Dubious

Weather Channel DirecTVA major storm rained down on Winter TV Press Tour 2014 this morning when The Weather Channel took the stage to blast DirectTV over their current carriage dispute. In anticipation of the channel’s appearance before a couple hundred journalists at the tour, it  issued an ominous campaign late last night warning viewers they needed to contact their congressional reps to intervene, or else DirecTV would take away “its critical weather programming,” calling it a “public safety issue.”

TV critics at the press tour weren’t entirely drinking The Weather Channel’s  Kool-aid. One critic noted TWC is a successful company owned by a big corporation, asking “Is it fair to declare it a public utility?” in what’s really a business dispute.

Related: DirecTV Hits Back In Weather Channel Spat, Citing Customer Complaints

DirecTV Weather channel“Absolutely. And I’m not kidding,” Weather Channel president David Clark responded ominously.  “If you’ve ever been in a severe weather situation and you need to make a decision to protect your family and you need to make it fast” you need “to know your information comes from a trusted source… We have a mission to serve that we take seriously. Don’t think you can stand a fly-by-night alternative to that,” he said, warning “you’re going to be putting your audience at risk.”

And by “fly-by-night” he meant a little channel called WeatherNation that the satellite giant’s subscribers might have noticed appearing right next to Weather Channel on DirecTV’s lineup in recent weeks, as the satcaster’s carriage deal with The Weather Channel is set to expire next week.

At Clark’s side on stage, The Weather Channel’s pricey new hire Sam Champion warned “there isn’t one,” in re alternatives to The Weather Channel in a weather emergency. “I’d love to say we can rest assured we’re safe in our homes because of BLANK. There isn’t one… Getting people ready, getting them through a storm that is the worst time in their life, is something I don’t take lightly, and this channel does it better than anyone else  — anywhere . The Coast Guard, the Navy — everybody — police officers, fire officers watch this channel during emergencies to get  information. That’s a responsibility that no one takes lightly. What we’re trying to say is we want people to have access to it.”

Read More »

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‘Today’ Ad Blitz Unveiling Upstaged By Robin Roberts Coming Out On ‘GMA’: Video

LisaColumn__131015210634-275x198NBC began its Today show Olympics walk-up this morning with a strategically timed piece in The New York Times about a Comcast-wide ad blitz for a new show tagline “Rise to Shine”.  It’s part of a big push to get Today back on top in the morning infotainment show ratings.  In the article, NBC noted that Today, which lost its ratings crown to ABC’s Good Morning America some time ago, has been Todayshow07__120726201155-200x129chipping away at GMA’s lead, even beating its rival by 18,000 in the news demo the week of December 16 (aka The Week GMA Sent Robin Roberts to the Vatican). The head of NBC News research spoke passionately about Matt Lauer‘s importance to the show’s ratings resuscitation,  and Matt himself discussed taking selfies when you think you’re looking good, not when you’re looking bad.

GMA responded this morning with a news release announcing that it won all four quarters of 2013, including its largest fourth-quarter total-viewer lead over Today in more than 22 years, and its biggest demo lead over Today in 19 years (371,000 viewers) during the final full week of the calendar year.

Oh, and Robin Roberts come out on GMA this morning — taking some of the wind out of Today’s carefully orchestrated “Rise to Shine”. Read More »

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Did Visit To Vatican Cost ‘GMA’ A News Demo Win For Week Of December 16?

By | Monday December 30, 2013 @ 2:22pm PST

Today Todayshow07__120726201155-200x129finished first among 25- to 54-year-olds for the week – its first demo win in nearly six months. The NBC morning infotainment show edged out ABC’s Good Morning America by 18,000 viewers in the age bracket, while also snagging its closest total-viewer position relative to front-runner GMA in nearly a year.

Related: Bryant Gumbel And Jane Pauley To Reunite On ‘Today’

Today actually outstripped GMA in the news demo on every morning of the week except Friday, when GMA posted a commanding 212,000 lead – its  second-largest Friday margin of the season over the NBC program. On Monday, Today led by a mere 1,000 demo viewers, Tuesday by 26,000 and Thursday by 67,000. But Wednesday, when GMA sent Robin Roberts and Josh Elliott to the Vatican to cover the huge crowd gathered to hear Pope Francis’ last public-speaking engagement of 2013 (the pope having just been named Time magazine’s Person of the Year), GMA fell 211,000 viewers behind Today. That wiped out GMA’s boost on Friday, when Roberts hosted GMA’s review of the year, in partnership with People magazine.

On the bright side for GMA, all three of the broadcast network morning infotainment programs were up in ratings compared to same week last year, though Today showed the most growth, percentage-wise:  12% in overall audience and 16% in the demo.

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Bryant Gumbel And Jane Pauley To Reunite On ‘Today’ On December 30

By | Thursday December 26, 2013 @ 5:24pm PST

NBC’s Today will take a loving look back at when it was tops in the ratings, on December 30, when it brings back former anchors Bryant Todayshow07__120726201155-200x129Gumbel and Jane Pauley to co-anchor the morning show. Gumbel and Pauley were co-anchors of Today another time it found itself playing second fiddle to ABC’s Good Morning America in the ratings, Todayand their pairing is credited with putting Today back on top eventually. Maybe they’ll talk about that. And, yes, Matt Lauer will be there too December 30, in case they scare up a big crowd.

Pauley left the show — or was eased out for the younger Deborah Norville, depending on your source –  in 1989.  Gumbel left in 1997 to anchor a primetime newsmagazine on CBS. That did not go well. Gumbel got back together with his anchors once before during Today‘s 60th anniversary, in January 2012; Pauley still appears on the show monthly for a segment in which she spotlights Americans over 50 embarking on new careers.

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Lifetime Developing Brian Stelter’s Morning Infotainment Wars Book, ‘Top Of The Morning’, As Movie

Lifetime is developing a TV movie adaptation of Brian Stelter‘s Top Of The Morning: Inside the TODAYCutthroat World of Morning TV, about the rise of Good Morning America over Today in the morning infotainment ratings war. The movie will be executive produced by Liz Gateley and Tony DiSanto (and produced by their Diga Vision), who acquired the rights. They’re still working on securing writers and closing various deals, an informed source says. The source adds that Stelter, who covered media for the New York Times when he wrote the blah-ly reviewed book, has had virtually no involvement with the project — though word of the deal first broke on TVNewser, which Stelter founded, along with TV Guide. Stelter, meanwhile, has moved on from NYT and is now senior media reporter and Reliable Sources host at CNN.

And now, to  the important stuff — casting! Who should play Matt Lauer? Ann Curry? George Stephanopoulos? Robin Roberts? Sam Champion?

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Stephen Colbert And John Lithgow Outstrip ‘Today’ Show’s November Sweeps Prostate Exam

By | Friday November 15, 2013 @ 6:32am PST

Stephen Colbert, John Lithgow, and Katie Couric demonstrated how Today could have improved on the ratings performance of its on-air prostate exam with Steven Colbert’s November Sweeps Prostacular. “It’s no accident Today played this groundbreaking stunt during the November sweep, because Today show knows what brings in the great ratings is men in their 50′s being finger puppeted,” Colbert explained on last night’s The Colbert Report, adding, “I will not be sweeps-swept by the Today show.” Watch here: Read More »

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NBC’s ‘Today’ To Launch Sir Richard Branson And Offspring Into Space

By | Friday November 8, 2013 @ 7:44am PST

While CBS News correspondent Lara Logan was over at CBS This Morning, apologizing for 60 Minutes’ botched report on the Benghazi attack this morning, over at NBC’s Today show they were announcing a three-hour live broadcast covering the first commercial space flight of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo,with first passengers Sir Richard Branson and his two children, Holly and Sam. No date yet.

Fine print: last month, NBC committed to a space travel reality series with Branson and his Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. In the Mark Burnett-produced reality series, everyday people compete for a trip into space on the vehicle, after being trained at Virgin Galactic’s home in Spaceport America, in New Mexico.

The news event/publicity stunt announced this morning on Today will be carried across NBCUniversal brands and platforms, including CNBC, MSNBC,, Syfy, The Weather Channel. The coverage will include a primetime special airing on NBC the night before launch, as well as the three-hour live event on Today, hosted by Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie.

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