Matt Lewis Leaves Townhall to the Inmates

Consermatt_lewisvative columnist Matt Lewis has announced, via his Twitter feed, that he is leaving Townhall.com. The split is mutual and amicable, and the world will continue to enjoy his wit and wisdom on the pages of Politics Daily, but his departure from Townhall completes a mini-exodus of influential commentators from the site. What’s left isn’t all that pretty.

Matt now departs a Townhall bench that used to include influential young conservatives like Lewis, Mary Katherine Ham, and Amanda Carpenter. Carpenter has moved on to the Washington Times, and Ham is now a regular Fox News contributor. All three maintain a regular presence on cable news panels.

In their place, Townhall has increasingly relied on less mainstream (to put it politely) columnists for their original content. Christian broadcasting company Salem Communications purchased Townhall in 2006, and after this brief run at relevance, seem increasingly eager to put their stamp on the site. After recently borrowing $300 million, the stakes for Salem are high.

Lewis, a former colleague of mine, remains grateful to Townhall, which afforded him many opportunities like covering the 2008 RNCC. He tells me “Townhall remains one of the most important outlets for conservative news and commentary.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, but three years is a long time, and in this business, blog years are like dog years.”


Geraldo Rivera Has Top Cable News Show Sunday

Cable news ratings, December 6, 2009: Check out the highlights, and see the full ratings below:

• Geraldo Rivera had the top cable news show Sunday night, in both total viewers and the A25-54 demographic. The program, at 10pmET on Fox News, featured an interview with Mike Huckabee, and a major focus on Tiger Woods and Amanda Knox.

Check out all the ratings below, and leave your own thoughts in the comments:

TV NEWS RATINGS: 25-54 DEMOGRAPHIC (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm 185 50 197 57
6 pm 183 85 114 35
7 pm 167 117 164 99
8 pm 182 153 92 131
9 pm 163 154 100 113
10 pm 216 93 140 195
11 pm 176 69 47 189
TOTAL DAY 195 103 111 120
PRIME TIME 187 133 111 146
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.
TV NEWS RATINGS: TOTAL VIEWERS (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm 754 337 459 157
6 pm 801 394 276 156
7 pm 839 364 421 296
8 pm 874 419 199 447
9 pm 745 453 233 335
10 pm 893 323 253 362
11 pm 610 216 115 378
TOTAL DAY 779 375 235 274
PRIME TIME 837 398 228 381
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.


Tops On Saturday: Lockup, Huckabee

Cable news ratings, December 5, 2009: Check out the highlights, and see the full ratings below:

• The top cable news show Saturday in the A25-54 demographic was MSNBC’s Lockup: Arizona at 11pmET. The top show in total viewers was Mike Huckabee’s 8pmET hour on FNC – which included several news-making moments.

Check out all the ratings below, and leave your own thoughts in the comments:

TV NEWS RATINGS: 25-54 DEMOGRAPHIC (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm 210 146 115 35
6 pm 138 90 125 76
7 pm 186 67 179 112
8 pm 228 97 203 105
9 pm 244 120 279 91
10 pm 199 114 305 87
11 pm 150 76 347 121
TOTAL DAY 222 134 157 107
PRIME TIME 223 110 262 94
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.
TV NEWS RATINGS: TOTAL VIEWERS (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm 905 593 222 218
6 pm 752 423 253 269
7 pm 1017 401 353 330
8 pm 1374 375 435 415
9 pm 1053 357 501 323
10 pm 978 410 569 305
11 pm 540 227 545 312
TOTAL DAY 962 476 310 284
PRIME TIME 1135 380 502 348
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.


The Quality of The Vetala’s Production Is No Myth

So, how’s your knowledge of Sanskrit mythology? Yeah, me neither. But don’t assume that’s a hindrance to enjoying the independently produced web series The Vetala, which frames its premise around the emergence of an ancient hostile spirit surfacing in modern times. Because to do so is a major disservice to an extremely well-made dramatic thriller, whose supernatural underpinnings only become evident later in the life of the series.

Vetala, another web series immigrant from Vancouver, British Columbia (which also recently gave us Riese and Hurtling Through Space), opens on Lily (Candace Chase) and Alex (Paul Mendel), two college students doubling as investigative journalists on the trail of a gun syndicate. (Why they’re only college journalists, not professional ones, is a detail that frankly doesn’t make much sense, but it’s a minor one in the grand scheme of things.) However, in Episode 1, a meet-up with a source goes badly for Lily, and an increasingly strange series of events results.

A big key to Vetala’s success is an intriguing choice in the way Lily reacts to her situation — which is to say, she’s totally freaked out. But her reaction doesn’t make her any less strong as a character, and instead truly grounds the supernatural events of the series in the real world. Lily’s initial denial of what’s happening is reminiscent of the way a real person would react to the action that occurs, and gives her a level of believability similar narratives have failed to execute.

Vetala is also a triumph of low-budget production; writer/director Damon Vignale has a knack for faking locations and shooting around high-cost action that helps the series look much more expensive than it is — great score, sound design, and graphics adding a professional polish to the goings-on. Episode 5, Premonition, contains one of the best no-budget effects I’ve ever seen, using character reactions, sound effects, and one well-staged aftermath shot to effectively convey an event it can cost Hollywood hundreds of thousands of dollars to fake.

The first season, only seven episodes long, comes together as an intense and action-packed ride with intriguing cliffhangers to each episode’s conclusion — the only major misstep is that the finale of the show concludes with a grand reveal of the Vetala, who turns out to be a Gollum-esque CGI monster, decently rendered for this scale of production but clearly, tragically fake. Hopefully in the promised season 2, he’ll return to the shadows — where he was far, far scarier.



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Larry King’s Knox Trial Focus Gets Him Top Non-FNC Cable News Show Friday

Cable news ratings, December 4, 2009: Check out the highlights, and see the full ratings below:

• Just a few hours after the Amanda Knox trial came to a close Friday night, CNN’s Larry King had the top non-FNC show in total viewers, on cable news, with a program focused on the news. Nancy Grace at 8pmET had the top, non-FNC show in the A25-54 demographic for HLN.

• The top show on all of cable news was FNC’s The O’Reilly Factor, in both categories.

Check out all the ratings below, and leave your own thoughts in the comments:

TV NEWS RATINGS: 25-54 DEMOGRAPHIC (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm Beck

526

Blitzer

128

Matthews

83

Prime

132

6 pm Baier

392

Blitzer

170

EdShow

116

Prime

98

7 pm Shep

402

Tonight

117

Matthews

165

Issues

103

8 pm O’Reilly

723

Brown

174

Olbermann

212

Grace

247

9 pm Hannity

501

King

243

Maddow

147

Behar

188

10 pm Greta

454

Cooper

236

Special

83

Grace

204

11 pm O’Reilly

485

Cooper

201

Special

137

Showbiz

123

TOTAL DAY 394 141 114 146
PRIME TIME 560 217 147 209
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.
TV NEWS RATINGS: TOTAL VIEWERS (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm Beck

1992

Blitzer

621

Matthews

479

Prime

296

6 pm Baier

1891

Blitzer

721

EdShow

489

Prime

260

7 pm Shep

1733

Tonight

626

Matthews

610

Issues

322

8 pm O’Reilly

3077

Brown

793

Olbermann

884

Grace

772

9 pm Hannity

2075

King

893

Maddow

643

Behar

555

10 pm Greta

1640

Cooper

809

Special

261

Grace

498

11 pm O’Reilly

1420

Cooper

606

Special

255

Showbiz

365

TOTAL DAY 1423 571 375 358
PRIME TIME 2265 832 596 591
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.


KTLA Anchor Slams Perez Hilton: ‘You Talentless Dope!’

What began as a scheduling snafu for Perez Hilton on KTLA's Morning Show has quickly escalated into a full blown battle.

Hilton and KTLA anchor Sam Rubin offer differing accounts of what prompted the pseudo-celebrity gossip blogger to leave the studio before his scheduled appearance Monday. Hilton tweeted the saga throughout the morning Monday, culminating in his request for an "on-air apology/retraction".

Anchor Sam Rubin had his response for Hilton on Tuesday's show, and it was not quite the apology Hilton was hoping for. You know a rant is going to be a good one when it begins thusly:

Perez said we lied about what happened here, and he demanded a retraction...Well demand this you talentless dope, here is what really happened.

Sam goes on, and on, and on with his venomous "deposition," detailing his version of the events. According to Rubin, Perez was booked for a 9:20AM slot on the morning show, but his staff had him arriving at 8AM. The earlier slots on the show were taken by the unlikely combination of Snoop Dogg and a children's choir, so moving him up was not an option. Upon finding out he was scheduled an hour later, Hilton decided he could not wait, as he needed to tend to his blog. Despite being offered an office in which to work, he instead offered to make an appearance via Skype.

Rubin concluded his comments on a poetic note:

The KTLA Morning News and yours truly have been here long before Perez Hilton upchucked his way on to the scene, and we will be here long after he slithers away.

Needless to say, he is no longer welcome on the KTLA Morning Show.

WATCH the video. It is a good one: