CNN’s John King, USA Premieres On Web With Rehearsal Show

There are two very distinct things to note about the way CNN has introduced the upcoming 7pmET show John King, USA to its audience – the show itself and the way it happened.

John King hosted a trial run of the program today on CNN.com/live, which gave a sneak peek at what the show will be, but also gave viewers a chance to give their take on the first look.

Let’s start with the show. Because it isn’t scripted and was almost exclusively about politics, it takes on a bit of a Morning Joe feel (TheLoweDown came up with the name “Evening John”). The difference is King isn’t as strong a personality of Joe Scarborough, and while the show is based around some big personalities (like RedState’s Erick Erickson and FireDogLake’s Jane Hamsher) the reporter Q&A’s are a spotlight as well (including Dana Bash – King’s wife – in the very first segment).

Also, while the show may be more conversational than other hard news programs on CNN, it is significantly more structured than Morning Joe. An interview with Rep. Ron Paul (video on next page) is “One On One.” Other segments including “The Pulse,” “Wall To Wall” and “Pete On The Street,” a man-on-the-street segment with comedian Pete Dominick. Each segment comes with its own logo, and are packaged in almost obsessive detail.

The decision to preview the show online is an interesting one – and led viewers to interact with the show’s staff and each other. Facebook comments streamed in, and commercial breaks streamed live, so viewers could see what happens behind-the-scenes. After the hour-long runthrough, King, his Executive Producer Michelle Jaconi and other CNN staffers went through a post-mortem to discuss what had just happened.

It was a unique viewing experience, and for those already looking forward to the launch, it allowed them to see what they’d be watching beginning Monday night. Will it bring in new tech-savvy viewers as well? We’ll find out next week.

>>>NEXT PAGE: Screenshots from the test show and an interview with Rep. Ron Paul from the rehearsal.


Notice Something Missing? MSM Seems To Collectively Forget Anniversary Of Iraq War

Things I have gleaned from my Twitter feed today: It is the second anniversary of the death of Arthur C. Clarke. Things that are noticeably absent: Any mention that today is the 7th anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq.

It’s an absence made even more noteable when one considers the deluge of reflection that overtook Twitter this last Sept. 11. Today’s anniversary is not even a trending topic

But let’s forget Twitter for a second — though it’s a great measure of where the hive mind is focused — and turn to some more “reliable” news sources. There’s not a single op-ed in the New York Times today to mark the anniversary, or pontificate on where it all went wrong (update: there is a photo slideshow from this weekend’s Magazine). Nor the Wall St. Journal to tell us what went right. Nothing in the Washington Post either. Nor the LA Times. I can’t even find a single link on Drudge. Perhaps even more shocking is that I can’t find anything on Andrew Sullivan.

It’s almost as though where the media is concerned the Iraq War didn’t happen. Which obviously is not the case on either end. And while clearly there is plenty of real news to go around this week — health care, health care, Israel, Afghanistan, the Pope, health care — it’s not as if Iraq, or the decisions that led us there are not still immediately relevant to the country. We still have troops there and they just had an election. Anniversaries provide an easy, cosmetic opportunity to reflect and rehash and refocus, and hopefully shine a brighter, smarter light on decisions past, and their outcome, so that history doesn’t repeat itself. One might even consider it a responsibility. But apparently nothing is getting repeated today.

Video below of CNN’s coverage from that day. Side note: the book on which Matt Damon’s new movie ‘Green Zone’ (which I haven’t seen) is based, is a must-read for anyone interested in the immediate aftermath of the “shock and awe” campaign.

Update:
I am not the only one to notice. Greg Mitchell writes about the phenomenon at his new Nation blog Media Fix. Also, Jason Linkins at HuffPo just posted this. Also this from The Takeaway/Newsweek. And NBC’s Richard Engel reflects. Hooray the Internet.





Another CNN Anchor Fails At Celebrity Jeopardy

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper was on Celebrity Jeopardy last night, and in keeping with the success level of cable news hosts recently on the program, he finished with zero dollars.

What happened? Here’s a look at how it all went wrong – and how the guy who smokes weed with Tommy Chong became the champ.

Gawker TV has the breakdown, which shows it started off very slowly for all three contestants on the show last night. Cheech Marin, Aisha Tyler and Cooper struggled with continents in the first category, leaving each in the red.

It got a little better after that, but with Final Jeopardy, Cooper and Tyler bet it all and lost, finishing with zero, and Marin got the victory.

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews finished in second place recently, while fellow CNN anchors Wolf Blitzer and Soledad O’Brien finished in third. Cooper had Marin on his show last night to talk about the loss and general Jeopardy strategy.

Cooper also reminded viewers he “won Jeopardy the first time around I went on it,” which is actually how he got on yesterday’s show – it was a tournament of champions. But you could tell he was a little irked. “Not only did I lose, I lost to this guy,” he said, before showing a clip from a Cheech & Chong movie.

Also, it’s fun to see Cooper call his finish “tied for 2nd,” which I guess is technically true.

Here’s Cooper’s interview with Marin last night – find out whether thumb or index finger is the way to go with the buzzer:

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Obama Interview Brings Big Ratings For Baier

Cable news ratings, March 17, 2010: Check out the highlights, and see the full ratings below:

Bret Baier’s exclusive interview with Pres. Obama Wednesday made Special Report the 2nd highest rated show on cable news in total viewers, finishing 3rd in the A25-54 demographic. The program was up 22% increase in total viewers and 23% bump in the demo from its March averages. It also topped the cable news competition (CNN, HLN, MSNBC) combined at 6pmET.

• The #1 show on cable news was Bill O’Reilly’s again, while Glenn Beck finished #2 in the demo.

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

679

Blitzer

67

Matthews

104

Prime

96

6 pm

Baier

635

Blitzer

105

Ed Show

82

Prime

53

7 pm

Shep

557

Blitzer

128

Matthews

163

Issues

94

8 pm

O’Reilly

932

Brown

150

Olbermann

219

Grace

179

9 pm

Hannity

699

King

147

Maddow

221

Behar

100

10 pm

Greta

565

Cooper

184

Olbermann

182

Grace

160

11 pm

O’Reilly

532

Cooper

117

Maddow

105

Showbiz

120

TOTAL DAY 426 114 103 123
PRIME TIME 735 161 208 144
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

2465

Blitzer

454

Matthews

486

Prime

222

6 pm

Baier

2907

Blitzer

420

Ed Show

537

Prime

224

7 pm

Shep

2177

Blitzer

465

Matthews

655

Issues

325

8 pm

O’Reilly

3650

Brown

477

Olbermann

1022

Grace

765

9 pm

Hannity

2565

King

755

Maddow

960

Behar

535

10 pm

Greta

2329

Cooper

727

Olbermann

625

Grace

502

11 pm

O’Reilly

1663

Cooper

411

Maddow

449

Showbiz

341

TOTAL DAY 1639 455 415 307
PRIME TIME 2851 653 869 590
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.


It’s Official! Christiane Amanpour To Anchor This Week

After months of rumors speculating who would fill George Stephanopoulos‘ seat at ABC’s This Week — and a circulating roster of fill-ins — we have an answer. Christiane Amanpour is leaving her longtime employer CNN to take over the position. Memos from both CNN and ABC below.

It’s an interesting choice on a number of levels. The most obvious being that ABC felt it had to go outside the network to find someone for the job. Over the past few months the network has experimented with a number of guest hosts all from within ABC’s family: Jake Tapper, Terry Moran, Barbara Walters. Early on many viewed Moran as the likely successor to Stephanopoulos, who left to take over Diane Sawyer’s job at Good Morning America. Lately, however, Jake Tapper has appeared to be the crowd favorite. Only very recently did Amanpour’s name pop up as a possibility.

It seems clear that ABC was attracted to Amanpour’s international reporting bona fides — ABC head David Westin notes early on in his memo to staff that Amanpour boasts a “wealth of experience and knowledge, as well as a deep commitment to bringing news of the world to the American people” and that with her at the helm the network will now be able to “provide our audiences with something different on Sunday mornings. We will continue to provide the best in interviews and analysis about domestic politics and policies. But now we will add to that an international perspective.” He also said that over the years the network has talked to Amanpour about bringing her aboard but that it had never worked out until now. Needless to say, she’s also a woman, which marks a welcome and long overdue change to the Sunday morning political shows.

According to CNN’s memo, Amanpour will leave the network at the end of April. She will start at ABC in August and Jake Tapper will fill in in the interim. Both memos after the jump.

Related: Would A Christiane Amanpour Hiring Drastically Change This Week?


Does CNN’s Objectivity Conflict With ‘Funny’ Tea Party Coverage?

CNN tried to bring some levity to the health care debate yesterday with their coverage of the Tea Party march on Washington attended by representatives Louie Gohmert and Michele Bachmann– and the now-traditional homemade signs that are staples of the movement. The network assigned its comic relief correspondent Jeanne Moos to preside over a montage of clips from the rally and, while the segment was obviously intended to be funny, the jokes flopped, and Moos’ hostile commentary belies CNN’s insistence on objective news coverage.

She begins the segment noting that “a bunch of homicidal protesters” stormed Washington yesterday and delighting in reading off their signs, most of which say preposterous things like “Pelosi spits in America’s face” and “commie pig” (with a picture of Barack Obama, of course). She lazily quips in response to an anti-health care bill chant: “What fun it is to chant about obscure congressional strategy!”

Given the fears of radical Tea Party activists turning to violence and their record of bringing weapons to rallies, calling this type of peaceful demonstration “homicidal” invokes a reputation for violence that is neither statistically accurate nor particularly funny. Exclaiming “what fun!” in reaction to a crowd of people that sincerely believes it is fighting for the future of the nation is precisely the kind of flippant attitude no one would tolerate against any other sort of congregation of people. Imagine saying “what fun!” to a crowd of military parents protesting the Iraq War or even a crowd of PETA members protesting McDonald’s; it wouldn’t happen.

It would also be forgivable if CNN weren’t so obsessed as a network with their idealized version of objectivity.

Watch the clip and decide for yourself below:



Hannity Bumps Beck For Second Place Monday

Cable news ratings, March 15, 2010: Check out the highlights, and see the full ratings below:

Sean Hannity had the #2 cable news show on Monday night, in the A25-54 demographic and total viewers. Bill O’Reilly was #1 in both, while Glenn Beck (who had a streak going of 2nd place finishes) came in #3.

• The top non-FNC show in both total viewers and the demo was MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow at 9pmET.

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

642

Blitzer

104

Matthews

77

Prime

64

6 pm Baier

470

Blitzer

109

Ed Show

92

Prime

53

7 pm Shep

448

Blitzer

166

Matthews

160

Issues

109

8 pm O’Reilly

917

Brown

154

Olbermann

261

Grace

180

9 pm Hannity

770

King

183

Maddow

290

Behar

119

10 pm Greta

597

Cooper

230

Olbermann

278

Grace

144

11 pm O’Reilly

480

Cooper

197

Maddow

112

Showbiz

149

TOTAL DAY 403 144 118 129
PRIME TIME 762 189 276 143
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

2361

Blitzer

540

Matthews

500

Prime

168

6 pm Baier

2335

Blitzer

462

Ed Show

556

Prime

157

7 pm Shep

1979

Blitzer

493

Matthews

654

Issues

300

8 pm O’Reilly

3769

Brown

579

Olbermann

1029

Grace

644

9 pm Hannity

2937

King

888

Maddow

1086

Behar

572

10 pm Greta

2466

Cooper

899

Olbermann

710

Grace

346

11 pm O’Reilly

1520

Cooper

585

Maddow

378

Showbiz

330

TOTAL DAY 1599 515 460 289
PRIME TIME 3059 789 941 512
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.