Departing Tonight Show show host Jay Leno and his successor Jimmy Fallon will sit down with Matt Lauer in their first joint interview set to air January 27 on Today. According to NBC, Leno and Fallon talk about the Tonight Show legacy and how they have handled the passing of the mic. They also discuss the fraternity of late-night comedians and what they do to keep tabs on one another. Fallon will begin hosting The Tonight Show on Monday, February 17. Meanwhile, CBS spoke with Jay Leno about the upcoming Tonight transition in an interview set to air Sunday on 60 Minutes.
Is this the big assignment NBC News was referencing when it denied a report it would not renew Ann Curry‘s pricey contract? The news division said today Curry will report from Bangui in the Central African Republic for tonight’s NBC Nightly News, on NBCNews.com, on Curry’s YouTube channel, and on tomorrow’s Today. The announcement comes a couple days after a report surfaced that NBC News would not renew Curry’s $12 million contract; Curry segued into that contract after she exited as co-anchor of the network’s morning infotainment series, which has been trying to recover from the image problem it created ever since. At the start of this week, NBC News unveiled some of its plans to get Today back on its feet, including a new “Rise to Shine” tagline to help viewers forget its bungled dumping of Curry. Read More »
2014 is getting off to a busy start for NBC News. No sooner does the division announce its priority is getting Today back up on its feet with a new tagline “Rise to Shine” that will help viewers forget its bungled dumping of show co-anchor Ann Curry, than a report surfaces that NBC News will not renew Curry’s $12 million contract — the one she got when she was shoved off Today. The network has denied the Radar report, noting that Curry has been given an actual big assignment which, presumably, is what happens when you pay someone $12 mil a year.
Meanwhile, the division’s Sunday Beltway show Meet The Press got its fourth quarter numbers, and they’re the franchise’s worst in its history in the news demo. MTP also suffered its smallest fourth-quarter total-viewer crowd since ’91. This news forced the news division to have to insist to Politico that it has no plans to replace anchor David Gregory, because the site’s media columnist had suggested just that.
And MSNBC has had to refute a report in National Review that Rachel Maddow dictates the cable news network’s editorial direction and has a lot to say about personnel decisions. This after MSNBC anchors Martin Bashir and Alec Baldwin got the hook over separate incendiary comments, and a teary apology by Melissa Harris-Perry for an episode of her program in which she and a bunch of comics poked fun at little black grandson Kieran sitting on Mitt Romney’s knee in the family’s Christmas photo.
A Halloween coup and a Dancing With The Stars pop catapulted ABC’s Good Morning America to its second consecutive November sweep win among the broadcast morning infotainment programs. GMA won the sweep in the news demo (2.226 million viewers) and among viewers of all ages (5.950 million). The win marks GMA’s first back-to-back November sweep wins in 20 years overall, and 21 years in the demo. The November victory extends GMA’s streak to six straight in total viewers and five in the demo.
Today, meanwhile, noted this morning is has now been No. 1 rated in the 18-49 demo for 77 consecutive sweeps overall and 22 consecutive November sweeps. News programming is not typically sold off that demo, but it is one that NBC targets aggressively in other dayparts. Read More »
In early September, NBC News announced that Carson Daly, host of NBC‘s late-night show Last Calland the network’s primetime singing competition The Voice, would be joining Today as a daily contributor. At the same time, Last Call, renewed in April for a 13th season, was slated to begin production but it didn’t, raising speculation about the show’s future. NBC back then stressed that Daly will remain an exec producer on Last Call, which was working on a “transition” plan. That typically is a code name for a quiet cancellation but in this case, Last Call indeed started production in late September, a couple of weeks behind schedule. It quietly started airing originals the last week of October, introducing a new format that still features Daly. Because of his increased workload, he is now only doing “wraparounds,” framing each episode with an opening and a conclusion, while the artist interviews are being done by producers. After testing out the format, it seems to be working for everyone, with NBC planning to keep the show as is, at least for the next few months. (Last Call has scheduled hiatuses for the holidays and the Winter Olympics.) In addition to The Voice, Daly also hosts NBC’s annual New Year’s Eve special.
“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 »
Just over 7 months after the former Today publicist was brought in as SVP Communications for CNN Worldwide, Jeff Zucker today added Chief Marketing Officer to Allison Gollust’s job titles. “As we put even greater emphasis in the year ahead on re-imagining our content, and in parallel, our brand, this is a key move in assuring our success,” said the CNN boss in a statement Tuesday. “Allison has a keen understanding of how every aspect of communications works together to tell a story – be it on the public relations side or in strategic marketing. Combining these two areas under one proven leader simply makes sense.” CNN’s former CMO Janet Rollie exited the job back in May. A long time Zucker loyalist, Gollust first started working with the exec in 1997 when he ran the NBC morning show. After leaving following Zucker out of NBCUniversal, Gollust served as communications director for NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo starting in late 2012 before rejoining her old boss in March of this year.
Two-time Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir announced on NBC‘s Today this morning that he is retiring from competition and joining the network’s coverage team for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He’ll be joined by 1998 Olympic gold medalist Tara Lipinski, and 2006 ice dance silver medalist Tanith Belbin, the network announced. Weir, the two-time Olympian and three-time U.S. champion, and Lipinski, the youngest individual gold medalist in the history of the Olympic Winter Games when she won in Nagano in 1998 at age 15, will serve as analysts for NBC Olympics’ multi-platform figure skating coverage. Belbin, a silver medalist in ice dancing at the Torino Olympics, will serve as a reporter for NBC Olympics’ Sports Desk and will present features for The Olympic Zone, NBC Olympics’ 30-minute daily show for NBC affiliates covering all aspects of the Games. Weir and Lipinski debut on NBC this Sunday at 4 PM ET alongside Terry Gannon on the network’s telecast of the 2013 Skate Canada International, featuring performances from the men’s and ladies’ free skate competitions. Read More »
Until the network figures out how to feature her in an episode of The Blacklist, it appears Miley Cyrus has completed her Strategic Hot Mess Tour through The Platforms Of NBC, with her appearance last night as the guest and music act for the entire hour of Jimmy Fallon’s late-night show. Fallon noted Cyrus had to wear clothes on his show. Miley was too smart for him — yes, she wore a modest white shirt, but with bits of a bra on the outside (her shorts had expired backstage, but her feet were, as usual, very modestly covered). During her interview with Fallon, Cyrus said her appearance on NBC’s Saturday Night Live– she was not only the host but the music act on SNL which, like Fallon’s show, is produced by Lorne Michaels — she had the opportunity to show she had other talents besides twerking and “licking stuff”. “I can sing and I can act a little bit too,” she said, adding, “I’m multi-talented. My parents are proud.” Still a tiny bit of the Hannah Montana child in Strategic Hot Mess Miley. She did not discuss what had happened to her shorts (R.I.P.) during her appearance on Today which, according to press reports, had left The NBC Decency Police scrambling as she danced with mushrooms. Watch Miley, Fallon, and The Roots here:
NBC’s Today today announced its second Today Book Club pick: Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy, by author Helen Fielding. It’s the third in a series of Bridget Jones books — the first two were made into movies which, in one of those incredible coincidences, was distributed in parts of the world by NBCUniversal’s Universal Studios. “I hope that when people have read the book, they’ll feel as though they’ve had a slice of life. And I hope they’ll have cried. I hope they’ll have laughed. And most of all, I hope they really have a lovely, lovely time reading it,” Fielding revealed on the show this morning, under questioning by NBC News correspondent/former First Daughter Jenna Bush Hager. More where that came from when Bush Hager hosts the second Today Book Club Google Hangout with the author on November 4th at 10 AM ET. The novel releases in the U.S. on October 15, and on October 16 Fielding will kick off her U.S. tour — on Today naturally, live in studio where she will sign books for fans and answer questions.
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 »
Today fourth-hour co-hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb have been signed to join the New York Daily News as columnists. NBC News’ Today has been making moves to boost its ratings against ABC News’ now-dominant Good Morning America; New York is the country’s No 1-ranked TV market. They will offer their unique take on food, fashion, pop culture and “fun,” the newspaper said this morning. Gifford has been a morning show staple since her days on Live! With Regis And Kathie Lee, while Kotb has been a Dateline correspondent since 1998 and Giffords’ on-air partner since 2008.
It’s been more than 14 months since Ann Curry’s unceremonious exit from NBC’s Today, and now Matt Lauer is lashing out at the way the situation was handled in the media. The morning show’s longtime anchor hurls some verbal salvos in a new magazine interview. “The way the media treated what happened with Ann Curry was a disappointing learning experience,” he toldEsquire. “I was disappointed by the laziness of the media, the willingness to read a rumor, repeat that rumor, and treat it as a fact.” Even though the show’s then-EP Jim Bell defended Curry’s ouster, several outlets cited Lauer as the heavy. And the show’s continued ratings slide even led to NBC brass reaching out to CNN’s Anderson Cooper to replace him during the summer. That came weeks after Lauer reportedly offered to resign amid the Curry fallout. But back to the 16-year Today host’s latest words: “What were my options?” he said about the media coverage. “Does anyone want to see a person who’s making the money that the newspapers say I’m making complaining, ‘Woe is me, my life is terrible, and people are being unfair’? No one would’ve had any patience for that. I wouldn’t have any patience for that. So you just shut up and go about doing your job.”
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.”
The newsman who covered President Kennedy’s assassination and the civil rights movement for CBS and was an anchor on NBC’s Todayin the mid-’70s has died of kidney failure In a Riverside hospice. Lew Wood was 84. He began his career in the early 1950s on the radio in Indiana. On Nov. 22, 1963, he was in Texas covering JFK’s visit. After reporting on the president’s breakfast speech in Fort Worth, he spoke by phone with his CBS colleague Dan Rather, who was covering Kennedy’s motorcade in Dallas. In Wood’s entry on reportersnotebook.net, he recalled Rather telling him, “Hold on, Lew — don’t go away,” then quickly coming back on the line to say the president had been shot and that he should go to the hospital. Wood went on to anchor the news at WNBC New York before replacing Frank Blair on Today in 1975. He left the show a year later. Wood then went into PR, retiring in 2006.
ABC News’ morning infotainment program Good Morning America celebrated 52 consecutive weeks — one full year — in first place among viewers of all ages. That’s the show’s longest stretch at No. 1 in more than two decades. GMA averaged 5.08 million viewers last week, more than tripling its lead over NBC News’ Today (4.3 million) compared to same week last year. Season to date, GMA is averaging 5.3 million viewers, which makes this its most-watched season in more than two decades “It is an amazing accomplishment and a fantastic ride,” GMA’s senior exec producer crowed in a memo to staff this morning, adding, “We are also extremely grateful to the viewers who tune in every morning, and now it’s up to us to keep going.
But, the morning infotainment war is not a total-viewer game — it’s all about the news demo. Which GMA also took last week, outdrawing Today by just under 200,000 viewers. In the demo, GMA this TV season is averaging nearly 2 million viewers, which is its biggest haul in five years.
UPDATE, 6:30 AM: NBC News this morning announced the launch of the Today Book Club. The first edition, focused on 21-year-old Samantha Shannon’s debut novel The Bone Season, will be held September 16.
PREVIOUS 3 AM: In what looks like a win for the publishing industry, NBC‘s Today will this morning kick off a new monthly book club akin to the one created by Oprah Winfrey in 1996. The New York Timesreports that the first book out of the gate will be Samantha Shannon’s dystopian debut novel The Bone Season, which goes on sale today. (Andy Serkis and Jonathan Cavendish’s The Imaginarium acquired film rights to the higly-anticipated book series last October.) Picks for the Today book club will be made every four to five weeks and will bear a sticker noting they have been selected, The Times said. Orders for The Bone Season about doubled after retailers were informed of its inclusion, Sara Mercurio, a spokeswoman for publisher Bloomsbury, told the paper. “One can’t overstate the importance of a nationally televised book club,” Mercurio said. “I think it will have a huge impact on this book and on the publishing industry.” Today is the No. 2 morning program behind Good Morning America with a July average of 4.4M viewers. It had a book club about 10 years ago and this revival, The Times writes, “is the latest … Read More »
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 Is” Deen interview on the morning infotainment show.Ann Curry Reports: A Face In The Crowd, about the recipient of the most extensive face transplant to date, averaged 6 million viewers at 10 PM Friday, with 2.2 million of them 25-54 year olds — the hot blondes of news programming ad sales. Two days earlier, Lauer’s much-ballyhooed Today sit down with Deen to discuss her career-killing past use of a racial slur looks to have logged just under 5 million viewers, according to preliminary stats — 1.9 million of them in that important demo. (On Friday, hours before Curry’s appearance, Today averaged 4.4 million viewers — 1.7 million in the demo). Sure, there are a lot more Homes Using TV in primetime than in the early morning, giving Curry a certain edge. But that’s not her problem — she did not ask to be moved from early mornings to primetime. She got “promoted” out of Today back in June 2012, when Lauer kissed the top of her head and sent her packing.