Bret Baier Hopes To Be “Appointment Viewing For Political Junkies”

baier_12-21A lot has been written here and elsewhere about Fox News’ opinion hosts and the networks overall dominance in the ratings during 2009. But the enormous success is seen beyond the Beck’s, O’Reilly’s and Hannity’s too – as FNC’s news programming is seeing record ratings as well.

We talked to Special Report anchor Bret Baier about his first year at the helm of FNC’s 6pmET newscast, plans for 2010 and his lead-in, Glenn Beck.

“I think its fantastic,” Baier tells Mediaite today about his show’s big ratings. “We are building on what Brit [Hume] created, but its very news-driven in my mind. There are a lot of stories out of Washington that effect everybody’s life. It’s like drinking from a fire hose. Every day is a major, major story that a lot of people are paying attention to.”

The success of the show is evident from its year-to-year ratings average. With a week to go in 2009, the program is on pace to do significantly better than the 6pmET, Hume-anchored broadcast in 2008. It’s up 26% in total viewers and 34% in the A25-54 demographic. In a year where many cable networks not named Fox News have seen declines, the increased average is on par with much of the FNC line-up, including The FOX Report, anchored by Shepard Smith, an hour later (up 16% and 21%).

Still, it has to be noted that the huge year-to-year gains at 5pmET have helped the ratings for Baier’s program. And that thanks goes to Beck. “Glenn is the best lead-in any guy could ask for,” says Baier. “As I’ve said before, a rising tide is great for all the boats in the harbor. He has strong opinions. I don’t watch because that’s my crunch time. But he has done fantastic in the ratings and personally he’s a very nice guy.”

Still Baier’s program offers something very different than Beck’s – and as he looks toward 2010, Baier wants to solidify that point. “I’d like to be appointment viewing for politics junkies who can’t get enough of this stuff,” he says. “And I’m just one of them.”

>>> NEXT PAGE: Baier responds to Hume’s compliment, and the show’s new media outreach.


McCain Weighs In On Visorgate: Why Can’t You Take Palin At Her Word?

Picture 3Whatever else John McCain does with the rest of his political life — and lately he’s been doing quite a lot — it’s likely that he is going to be forced to devote some time to explaining the bizarre behavior of Sarah Palin to the rest of the world.

The latest case is point is Sarah Palin’s much talked about decision to black out McCain’s name from a campaign visor she wore to the beach while on vacation with her family earlier this week — a decision she said was made in an effort to remain “incognito.” Yesterday morning on Fox News Sunday Chris Wallace asked a smiling John McCain for his thoughts on the matter.

“Can’t you take her at her word? Sarah, and I, and Todd, and Cindy have a wonderful relationship. We’re dear friends, she is going to be a force in the Republican party for a long time and the hysterical attacks on her from the left continue to validate that. [Wallace presses McCain on the visor] It’’s fine! Sarah said she wanted to remain incognito and I understand that but the fact is are we in such a world now where we have climate change, health care reform, all these issues that are going on, massive deficits and we worry about Sarah Palin visor?

Wallace points out that he didn’t ask McCain about Tiger Woods so there’s still hope for serious journalism. Also, who knew that TMZ was part of the Liberal media elite. Also, I suspect that at some point McCain is going to regret admonishing the media and public for not taking Palin at her world. Until then the long, strange road to 2012 continues. Video below.



News Sites Treat Obama’s 60 Votes For Heath Care Very Differently

Picture 1If you’re online then you’ve probably already heard: after 13 hours of negotiations with Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, the Democrats have announced that they have the 60 votes they need to pass a health care reform bill before Christmas. That is, as long as they can read all 338-pages before midnight on Saturday. And as long as Rep. Stupak doesn’t play spoiler. But! Things are looking good enough for President Obama to comment:


“I’m sorry to drag you guys out in this weather,” Obama began, before announcing to the American people “the vote they deserve.” The president started in on the specifics, but the takeaway was this: “We are on the cusp of making heath care reform a reality,” he said, also praising the compromise amendments added to the bill in the past days and weeks. “This will be the largest deficit reduction plan in over a decade,” the president added, citing $132 billion dollars over the first decade of the program.

And like any good millenial, I wondered how the web’s most newsy, opinionated and wide-read sites were reporting the milestone announcement. My first stops? From oldest media to newest: New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Fox News, Drudge Report, Gawker, Huffington Post and Hot Air. Click through to the next page to see their respective front pages on this (maybe) momentous afternoon — some of it is quite telling.


>>>NEXT: Screenshots of some media front pages on the afternoon of Obama’s announcement…


O’Reilly’s Spat With Ingraham Helps Factor To Another Best Cable News Show Win

Cable news ratings, December 17, 2009: Check out the highlights, and see the full ratings below:

Bill O’Reilly’s dust-up with his usual fill-in host Laura Ingraham occurred on the top cable news show Thursday night – O’Reilly was once again #1 in the A25-54 demo and in total viewers. Sean Hannity was #2 in both categories.

• The top non-FNC show was Keith Olbermann on MSNBC at 8pmET 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

520

Blitzer

158

Matthews

93

Prime

92

6 pm Baier

356

Blitzer

132

EdShow

108

Prime

106

7 pm Shep

378

Tonight

112

Matthews

154

Issues

144

8 pm O’Reilly

762

Brown

139

Olbermann

337

Grace

250

9 pm Hannity

581

King

168

Maddow

294

Behar

188

10 pm Greta

487

Cooper

134

Olbermann

254

Grace

184

11 pm O’Reilly

435

Cooper

80

Maddow

140

Showbiz

153

TOTAL DAY 358 130 116 133
PRIME TIME 612 147 295 204
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

2305

Blitzer

571

Matthews

554

Prime

233

6 pm Baier

2087

Blitzer

482

EdShow

536

Prime

245

7 pm Shep

1835

Tonight

446

Matthews

494

Issues

426

8 pm O’Reilly

3290

Brown

559

Olbermann

986

Grace

874

9 pm Hannity

2382

King

817

Maddow

806

Behar

752

10 pm Greta

1895

Cooper

575

Olbermann

628

Grace

557

11 pm O’Reilly

1473

Cooper

304

Maddow

345

Showbiz

380

TOTAL DAY 1492 477 397 352
PRIME TIME 2524 650 807 711
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.


Five Reasons Why Fox News Dominated Ratings In 2009

oreilly_10-14What we’ve known since about March is about to come true – Fox News is headed for its best ratings of all time this year.

As their competitors in cable news fall far behind, FNC looks toward the rest of the cable universe as its new competition – it finished in the top five on all of cable in prime time and total day. What was the reason for FNC’s success? Heres’ five reasons.

1: Glenn Beck: Beck’s enormous success during his first year has helped FNC tremendously. His 5pmET show is up 96% in total viewers and a whooping 148% in the demo from what was in its place last year. But the most important factor for FNC as a whole is Beck’s timeslot. By having the show on at 5pm, the network gets another hour of prime time-like ratings while still keeping its three prime time programs in place. It’s a win-win – and as Beck continues his 100-year plan in 2010, it’s a strategy that will likely continue to pay dividends.

2: Bill O’Reilly: The O’Reilly Factor has been the #1 show on all of cable news for 10 years now, in the demo and in total viewers. Year-to-year, O’Reilly improved as well – up 14% in total viewers and 29% in the demo. While FNC’s all-star continues having his best year, their 9pmET host, Sean Hannity, has enjoyed his best year ever, going solo for the first time.

3: Pres. Barack Obama: FNC has, without a doubt, benefited greatly in the ratings from the election of Pres. Obama. It’s hard to imagine how their ratings would look if Sen. John McCain was elected, but it’s likely they wouldn’t be nearly as strong. By playing the voice of opposition, FNC will continue their ratings success for the next three years – at least. But all of their programs were up in both categories, including their hard news shows at 3, 6 and 7pmET. While their opinion hosts drive the ratings, their viewers are interested in the news product as well.

4: Tea Parties: While the summer months generally see lower ratings, FNC was strongly helped – as their competitors, to some degree – by the tea parties that took place. It didn’t just benefit the tea parties biggest drivers, Beck and Hannity, but from all the news coverage that came from the admittedly great media moments at the parties. Politicians and citizens fighting? Great TV, especially for the FNC audience. The FOX Report, Studio B and Special Report all had their best years ever in total viewers.

5: Stronger Weekends: The one area FNC was not the strongest network in the past was on the weekends, where CNN did news and MSNBC did doc block – to big ratings. With the addition of Mike Huckabee and the continued success of Geraldo Rivera (and Hannity/Beck repeats), the weekends have thrived as well.

- Broadcasting & Cable’s Marisa Guthrie has more on FNC’s ratings.

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FNC Tops Cable News Competition Combined In Prime Time Demo and Total Viewers

Cable news ratings, December 16, 2009: Check out the highlights, and see the full ratings below:

• Fox News Channel regularly beats CNN, MSNBC and HLN combined in total viewers every weeknight during prime time. But last night, they also beat the cable news competition combined in the A25-54 demographic during prime time – averaging 695,000 to 627,000. They also topped the other three combined in total viewers, total day.

• The top non-FNC show was Nancy Grace on HLN at 8pmET in the demo, and Keith Olbermann on MSNBC at 8pmET in total viewers.

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

665

Blitzer

88

Matthews

94

Prime

132

6 pm Baier

474

Blitzer

124

EdShow94 Prime

81

7 pm Shep

469

Tonight

115

Matthews

160

Issues

128

8 pm O’Reilly

894

Brown

111

Olbermann

249

Grace

258

9 pm Hannity

692

King

184

Maddow

208

Behar

168

10 pm Greta

496

Cooper

232

Olbermann

279

Grace

210

11 pm O’Reilly

568

Cooper

160

Maddow

151

Showbiz

199

TOTAL DAY 398 135 109 150
PRIME TIME 695 175 245 207
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

2476

Blitzer

621

Matthews

527

Prime

278

6 pm Baier

2172

Blitzer

553

EdShow

488

Prime

254

7 pm Shep

1997

Tonight

534

Matthews

560

Issues

405

8 pm O’Reilly

3362

Brown

484

Olbermann

1068

Grace

826

9 pm Hannity

2369

King

820

Maddow

915

Behar

645

10 pm Greta

1706

Cooper

921

Olbermann

753

Grace

501

11 pm O’Reilly

1611

Cooper

489

Maddow

404

Showbiz

382

TOTAL DAY 1477 542 415 347
PRIME TIME 2480 742 912 638
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.


Santa Claus May Be The Reason Children Are Fat

A-Christmas-Story-movie-01Someone alert Bill O’Reilly. The war on Christmas may have extended its reach to include Santa Claus. Or at least Santa Claus’ lifestyle! Santa’s a bad role-model and a public health menace and he may be making children FAT. Also spreading Swine Flu. From the AP:

Public health expert Nathan Grills of Monash University in Australia says the beloved Christmas icon should ditch his sleigh and start biking or walking to lose his jelly belly. After conducting a ["light-hearted"] literature review, Grills identified a “very high Santa awareness” among children. He determined that Santa made a reckless role model, noting his frequent cookie snacks, occasional cigars and refusal to don a helmet during “extreme sports such as roof surfing and chimney jumping.”

“Santa is a late adopter of evidence-based behavior change and continues to sport a rotund, sedentary image,” Grills wrote. He also found a correlation between countries that celebrate Santa and large numbers of fat children.

…He suggested that jolly old Saint Nick should swap his traditional snacks of cookies and milk in favor of sharing carrots with Rudolph. More disturbingly, Grills said Santa’s close-up contact with sniffling, coughing kids made him a one-man outbreak waiting to happen, with swine flu the biggest seasonal concern. “Unsuspecting little Johnny gets to sit on Santa’s lap, but as well as his present, he gets H1N1 influenza,”

Emphasis mine. Sigh Santa. Is nothing sacred, etc. I can guarantee you if someone had left carrots out in my house as a child I maybe would not suffered under the bad influence of all those Barbie dolls left nicely wrapped under the Christmas tree. Anyway, it’s Christmas, go eat some candy and be jolly. Hopefully these helpful researchers don’t alert PETA about the Easter Bunny.