BREAKING…UPDATED (with video): TV’s Southern cooking queen Paula Deen confessed she was “heartbroken” when she sat down with Matt Lauer on Todaythis morning. This was her much delayed but much ballyhooed live interview to salvage her business empire in the wake of her admission she had used “the N-word” in her 66 years and The Food Network’s controversial decision not to renew her contract. “I’m here because I want people to know who I am,” Deen said, choking up. Lauer responded, “Millions of dollars are at stake for today’s interview. Are you here to say what you just said, or to stop the financial bleeding?” Deen replied, “I’m here because I want people to know who I am,” Deen choked up. “People I have never heard of are all of a sudden experts in who I am. And what hurts most is that their words are being given weight.”
I think Deen did very well on the show and cried at all the right moments. To build drama, the Today cameramen zoomed in on her anguished face throughout the segment, especially at the end when she really got going with the tears. For his part, Lauer is also trying to save his career with big ‘gets’ like Deen, and he followed a stern line of questioning sure to please those calling for Paula to be punished. But her supporters will not be happy with the way he treated her. He didn’t hug her or ooze sympathy; instead he sat back in his chair looking like judge and jury. By way of explanation, he said several times he wanted to keep the dialogue with her confined to business and not make it too personal.
“You’re the head of a brand,” Lauer noted, “Given the same circumstances, would you have fired yourself?” Deen responded, “Would I have fired me? Knowing me? No.” When asked by Lauer whether she was a racist, Deen replied simply, “No.” Then she added, “I believe that … every one of God’s creatures was created equal. I believe that everyone should be treated equal. That’s the way I was raised and that’s the way I live my life.”
NBC News’ Todayhas the exclusive with in-the-news celebrity chef/TV star Paula Deen tomorrow morning, but CNN is working hard to keepviewers interested today, interviewing Deen’s sons this morning on its new morning showNew Day. Deen’s sons, Bobby and Jamie, were asked about … Read More »
David Friedman has joined ABC’s morning infotainment program Good Morning America as special GMA Creative Executive, working full-time for several months to help the show ramp up in the fall, GMA senior exec producer Tom Cibrowski announced today. GMA, of course, is now the genre leader in the daypart, besting NBC News’ once dominant Today. Friedman used to be exec producer of CBS’ The Early Show, and started his career at Today. But, these days, he’s maybe best known for the seven years during which he created, launched and exec produced Carson Daly’s late-night show. Most recently, he’s been one of the industry’s go-to guys for live special event programming, including The Biggest Loser finale on NBC. Here’s Cibrowski’s announcement to staff: Read More »
An average of 13 million people watched Nick Wallenda slowly walk a wire across the Colorado River Gorge while conducting a running dialogue with God and Jesus last night on Discovery Channel. “Oh, I praise you, Jesus. Lord, help this cable to calm down — command it,” the 34-year-old aerialist suggested a few yards into his quarter-mile “Skywire” stunt. Wallenda was not wearing a harness but had a microphone and two cameras — including one that looked down on the dry Little Colorado River bed and one that was focused dead ahead. Discovery telecast the ratings grab with a 10-second delay in the U.S. and a couple hundred other countries. The two-hour event delivered 8.5 million total viewers — jumping to 13 million during the actual walk.
Note to Wallenda: you might want to re-think the whole “no harness” thing, because the extra dange did not goose your ratings. They were on par with the numbers you clocked for your last made-for-TV high-wire act, crossing Niagara Falls for ABC. That stunt, which ABC aired last June, averaged 10.1 million viewers, peaking at 13.1 million viewers during the walk.
Anyway, Discovery noted this morning Sunday’s stunt shattered records across numerous platforms including social media, where Wallenda generated 1.3 million tweets becoming the #1 most social show across broadcast and cable in the U.S.
For comparison sake: during the 9:30-10 half hour, in which Wallenda was actually walking the wire and clocking 13 million viewers, ABC’s Whodunnit? logged 3.8 million people, CBS’s The Good Wife rerun snared 3.3 mil, NBC’s Crossing Lines bagged 4.2 mil and Fox’s American Dad repeat popped 3.2 mil.
In the latest upheaval at NBC‘s ratings-challenged Today show, longtime director Joe Michaels has been named senior director of the show, the network said today. No word from NBC on what his specific responsibilities will be, but … Read More »
Good Morning America‘s ratings hot streak has continued right through the May sweep. The ABC morning show won the key period for the first time in 19 years in the adults 25-54 demo (2.102 million viewers) and the first time in 18 years in total viewers (5.704 million). Those numbers were up 2% and 10% year-over-year, respectively, the network said today. Previously, those May sweep top spots had been held by NBC’s Today, which finished second overall among the morning shows this year, behind GMA by 921,000 in total viewers and 110,000 in 25-54, the largest margins in 21 and 19 years, respectively. Today did edge GMA in 18-49 viewers (1.507 million vs. 1.512 million), and the shows tied in 18-49 ratings (1.2/10). GMA nearly doubled the performance of CBS This Morning during the month in viewers and 25-54. Overall, the May sweep was GMA’s fourth sweep victory in a row in viewers and third in a row in 25-54. (See the full rankings below.) Read More »
Howard Stern got Katie Couric during his Sirius XM radio show to reveal that at some point there were “cautious overtures” from NBC about her returning to Today, where she spent 16 years. The morning show has had its share of troubles, from ratings declines to backlash over … Read More »
Dancing With The Stars may have hit its lowest finale ever on Tuesday night, but it helped provide a nearly two-decade high to Good Morning America. With DWTS winners on the show on Wednesday, the ABC morning series continued its dominance over rival Today by beating the NBC show by 1.6 million viewers. That’s the largest single-day total viewership spread GMA has had in fast affiliate results over the NBC show since May 18, 1994. Good Morning America pulled in 6.1 million total viewers compared to Today’s 4.5 million. Back on that May day in 1994, GMA had 5.7 million viewers over Today’s 3.8 million. Until Wednesday, the biggest spread between the two was on November 28, 2012, when GMA’s 5.7 million viewers topped Today by 1.3 million. GMA had DWTS winners from last season on that day too. Read More »
UPDATED, 9:40 AM:ABC News and NBC News said they will expand their evening newscasts to an hour tonight to cover the aftermath of the Oklahoma tornado that so far has killed 24 including many children stuck in their schools. On CBS, the CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley is expanding to 90 minutes from 6:30-8 PM. ABC also is airing a special edition of Nightline dedicated to tornado coverage, and ABC News’ David Muir, Ginger Zee, and Mike Boettcher will report in from Oklahoma this afternoon on Katie.
PREVIOUS, MONDAY PM: The network and its sister outlets MSNBC and the Weather Channel will focus Tuesday on coverage of today’s massive twister that cut a huge swath of destruction near Oklahoma City. Along with live coverage from devastated Moore, OK, on NBC’s Today and MSNBC’s morning programs, the broadcast network will air a one-hour special hosted by Brian Williams live from the scene at 8 PM ET (delayed in other time zones). That will pre-empt a recap show of The Voice featuring the top 10 performances; a new live episode of the singing competition will air as scheduled in the 9 PM hour. Read More »
Good Morning America has topped the morning show wars for the first quarter of 2013 in total viewers and the adults 25-54 demographic over the sliding Today. With an average audience of 5.389 million, it marks the first time the top-rated morning show has won the quarter in total viewers since 1994. With 2.2026 million in the demo, it is also the first time GMA has been tops among the 25-54 in the quarter since 1993. Adding to the trophy cabinet, GMA has scored its second straight quarterly win in adults 25-54 since the second and third quarters of 1994. Continuing its total viewership winning streak for a third straight quarter, the ABC show is now tied with the record it set from the first to third quarters of 1994. This quarter saw a big ratings boost for GMA with the return of co-anchor Robin Roberts on February 20 after a five-month leave to undergo a bone marrow transplant.
Once is bad, twice is worse for Today.For a second consecutive month, the NBC morning show was beaten in its home market by Fox station WNYW’s Good Day New York. In the February sweep, Good Day New York won over Today with an average 1.3/9 rating compared with the NBC show’s 1.2/8. That marked the first time that’s happened since Nielsen’s Local People Meters were introduced in 2003. With the close of the March frame, Good Day New York garnered a 1.4/9 to Today’s 1.3/9. The local show had 115,000 viewers in the adults 25-54 demographic on average in March, compared to Today’s 105,000. The local show is up 23% versus its performance with adults 25-54 last March. Today, on the other hand, is down 27% from last year. The spread this month was similar to the February difference: Last month, Good Day New York had an average of 112,500 viewers in the demo, while Today had 102,700.
Today‘s Matt Lauer this morning interviewed filmmaker John Ziegler, who has spent a year poring through evidence in the Penn State pedophile scandal to make a documentary he hopes will clear the name of the late legendary head coach Joe Paterno. Now, Paterno’s only alleged transgression was not being aggressive when a graduate assistant (who’d later become a coach) brought to his attention an “encounter” in the football showers between former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and an underage boy that sounded like molestation. We’ve written numerous stories on the subject, breaking stories about a feature film in the works that will likely re-team Scarface director Brian De Palma and Al Pacino for Happy Valley. That is the working title of a film based on Paterno, the book written by Joe Posnanski. Paterno was unceremoniously fired after the scandal shocked the nation, and the NCAA took unprecedented actions against the school, including stripping the coach of the distinction of being the winning-est major college football coach in history. All for the failure of Paterno and university higher-ups to do next to nothing to stop Sandusky, supposedly fearing bad publicity for the powerhouse gridiron program they presided over. Read More »
NBC’s Today show on Monday plans to show excerpts from interviews with former Penn State University assistant football coach and convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky. “The former longtime defensive coordinator will describe what he says happened on the campus, and … Read More »