FTVLive is reporting that Entertainment Hotlist and At The Movies host/reporter Claudia DiFolco quit MSNBC in the middle of her contract leaving Sharon Tay as the sole host of the show. FTV reports that her bio has been pulled off the website. This can’t be a good omen for the future of the shows which have seen a noticeable downturn in publicity on the network recently…
August 31, 2005
NBC-Universal announced a benefit show for victims of the Hurricane. The show will air in high definition on NBC, MSNBC, and CNBC on Friday at 8 pm EST…
The hour-long, music and celebrity driven broadcast will air live to the East Coast, tape delayed on the West. The telethon, hosted by NBC’s Matt Lauer, will be broadcast entirely from the New York studios of NBC located in 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The special will feature performances by artists with ties to the affected areas, including Tim McGraw, Harry Connick, Jr. and Wynton Marsalis as well as an appearance by Leonardo DiCaprio, among others.
All viewers will be encouraged to donate to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund in support of hurricane relief through its website and donation hotline (www.redcross.org or 1-800-HELP NOW). The humanitarian needs from this catastrophic hurricane are immense and will continue to emerge over the next weeks, months and even years. The American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling, and other assistance to those in need for this disaster and other disasters across the country each year.
Mediaweek’s Anthony Crupi wraps up the huge numbers for the Hurricane…
Not surprisingly, all four nets racked up some stunning ratings, as correspondents donned their de rigueur brightly colored slickers and did stand-ups while being lashed by gale-force winds and torrential rains.
The aggregate numbers were as overwhelming as the fury of the storm itself. Overall, some 83 million Americans tuned in at some point Sunday for information on Katrina, with 50.6 million turning to TWC, 36.9 million watching Fox News Channel, 33.9 million keeping tabs on CNN and 23.2 million heading for MSNBC.
Each network got a lot of mileage out of deploying correspondents in any number of high-risk areas, although Gulfport, Miss., had to be the most dangerous spot for a stand-up. TWC sent Storm Stories host Jim Cantore out to the “hell on earth” that was Gulfport, while FNC went with its unflappable war zone correspondent Steve Harrigan. Meanwhile, CNN lost its “Hurricane One” mobile storm center unit in Gulfport after it was struck by a flying section of a destroyed fence.
Here is the average of the dates since the Hurricane (8/28-8/30) covering the five networks plus The Weather Channel. FOX lead everyone. The Weather Channel lead CNN in Total Day barely and fell behind it in Primetime.
CNN’s Jeanne Meserve talking with Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room…
Huge night for everyone but especially for FOX which came out on top. What’s really amazing is that O’Reilly beat his record numbers from Monday night and still didn’t finish first. Hannity & Colmes edged him out and both programs had record numbers for the year as did Greta Van Susteren’s On The Record. CNN charged hard at FOX and though they couldn’t catch them in Total Day or Primetime they did manage to beat them in their respective Demos. Nancy Grace’s numbers show that she got a small push from the Hurricane but more people perceived Keith Olbermann as a better source for this story; Countdown beat her by 500,000. And Scarborough trounced her repeat….
CNN has created a special “Victims and Relief Desk”. This will be a means to help link missing and stranded people from the Hurricane with families and friends who are searching for them. ICN noted on Monday night what may have been the first instance of something along these lines when Rick Sanchez interviewed a woman by phone in North Carolina who was trying to get her relatives stuck on a roof in New Orleans rescued. Now CNN is doing a regular program segment hosted by Carol Lin. This segment will also focus on hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Quoting the press release…
“As journalists covering Katrina’s aftermath, our responsibility goes beyond describing and showing the horrific scenes of an area devastated by a hurricane,” said Susan Bunda, senior vice president of news for CNN/U.S. “We must also serve as a conduit of communication, providing as best we can a way for people affected by Katrina to find each other or to get the relief they need.”
The creation of the desk helps CNN sort through hundreds of calls and e-mails to the network seeking help in connecting stranded and missing people with their loved ones. While the network cannot conduct full-scale searches itself, CNN crews in all of the hurricane-torn areas will shoot video of refugees, letting them state their name and location so that families and friends will know their condition. CNN/U.S. will air video clips and photos as part of the Victims and Relief Desk.
For its online efforts, CNN encourages viewers and CNN.com users to send information to firstname.lastname@example.org. CNN.com will post names of those missing as well as names and locations of those who survived but have been stranded or reported missing. CNN.com has also compiled and posted some of the thousands of stories, photos and video submitted by citizen journalists.
CNN.com continues to serve up record numbers of video streams. Its two day total (Monday and Tuesday) has now reached 15.7 million video plays. Also, since soliciting submissions from “citizen journalists”, CNN.com has received more than 3,000 emails, hundreds of which contained photos or videos. The gallery can be accessed from CNN.com’s main page…
Michael Learmonth in Variety (sub req.)
What began as a story of 140-mph winds and “flagpole-flying” correspondents turned slowly into one of flooding, looting and death.
Reporters traded hurricane rain gear for hip waders Tuesday as levees broke around New Orleans, bringing misery to the city and the realization that the worst was yet to come.
NBC’s Brian Williams, who weathered the storm in the Louisiana Superdome, watched the story shift as he made his way into the French Quarter Tuesday morning to tape a standup for “Today.”
He was about to report that the city had been spared the worst as the eye of the storm skirted 60 miles to the east. Then two levees broke and the water began to rise.
“I used iodine tablets in Iraq, but I never thought I would have to use them in New Orleans,” said Fox News correspondent Steve Harrigan, who was loading up a rented Ford Excursion to make the run from Gulfport, Miss., to the Big Easy.
Next to Harrigan’s SUV, a shipping container sat on top of what was left of a house. Elsewhere in Gulfport, people poured water on a marooned sea lion that had floated out of a local tourist attraction.
“It’s like a box that got shaken up; nothing is where it’s supposed to be,” Harrigan said.
ABC and Fox purchased video from a private pilot flying over Biloxi, but news helicopters have been prohibited from flying over New Orleans, making aerial shots scarce.
The Oregonian’s Douglas Perry….
Just as the iPod has allowed us all to feel like we’re in a movie by giving us our own life soundtrack, terrible tragedies now enable us to rise to leading-man status. So the loss of a home is at least partly offset by the opportunity to become Bruce Willis for an afternoon.
Too cynical? Maybe, but there’s no denying that TV news has increasingly embraced the movie trailer as its creative model. Never is that more obvious than during horrifying events, like Hurricane Katrina, when 24/7 coverage and a lack of new information require news shows to juice up their rhetoric.
As a result, after a day and a half, no hero had clearly revealed him or herself, telegenically speaking. (The Coast Guard guys kept their helmets on and were too busy to talk to reporters.) And so CNN went to Plan B: With images of men and women wading through chest-high water, a graphic spun onto the screen: “What About Pets?
I never found out what happened to the pets because I switched over to Fox News Channel, where detailed knowledge was also sparse. “New Orleans is under water,” said “Day Side” host Linda Vester, her blond hair pulled back into a bun to signify the seriousness of the moment. “The levees are broken, and they can’t figure out why.” (The hurricane, Linda, the hurricane.)
How can anyone be expected to take this article seriously when the author obviously can’t recognize Linda Vester? Linda is out on materinity leave and wasn’t on Dayside yesterday. And it’s not like Juliet Huddy was trying to disguise herself as Linda Vester either. She must have announced herself as Juliet Huddy half a dozen times during the show. How Perry could miss this rather obvious bit of information makes the whole article suspect in my opinion…
TV Guide’s Stephen Battaglio caught up with FOX’s Bill Hemmer…
TVGuide.com: You weren’t supposed to show up on Fox News Channel until Monday, but you were on Sunday night. When did you find out that you were going on?
Bill Hemmer: I got a call early Sunday morning to move up the debut by a day. I was more than happy to. Stories like these are what we do.
TVGuide.com: When you were working at CNN, what did you think of Fox News?
Hemmer: I always felt Fox was trying to push the product forward…. The graphics, the production, the presentation, have always been things they’ve wanted to improve, to make different. I’ve already found that out in the short time I’ve been here. They are still pushing. They encourage new ideas. The attitude is, “All right, we’ll give that a shot. We’ll try that.” We have to be adults here, too, and if it’s not working, we back away from it. The approach I’ve found is the first answer is yes and not no.
USA Today’s Bill Keveney…
For many correspondents reporting on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Tuesday was an occasion for awe at the scale of the damage. “It looks like a giant came through and stamped this place,” said Fox News Channel’s Orlando Salinas, who was on the scene in Gulfport, Miss.
He said his crew brought extra supplies, including water, which they gave to dazed survivors. “This is just as bad as Andrew,” the hurricane that devastated southern Florida in 1992, Salinas said.
The immensity of the destruction also came through Monday night in CNN correspondent Jeanne Meserve’s live phone report — in an emotional tone of voice, unusual for a veteran correspondent.
“It’s been horrible. … You can hear people yelling for help. You can hear the dogs yelping, all of them stranded, all of them hoping someone will come,” Meserve told anchor Aaron Brown.
Marketwatch’s Jon Friedman….
CNN (TWX), for example, dispatched about 100 journalists to the area extending from New Orleans to Mobile, Ala., and Nashville. They flocked by cars and airplanes from bureaus as far away as Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, New York, Washington and even Los Angeles and San Francisco. The other TV networks had similar levels of commitment.
Thankfully, I didn’t see any suicide footage. I want to believe that the networks wouldn’t have shown it in the interest of not allowing drama to deteriorate into voyeurism. (The lure of high ratings versus dignity? Hmmm. Okay, who am I kidding?)
CNN/US Senior Vice President Sue Bunda compared the level of suffering in New Orleans now “to the human toll of 9/11, in terms of people calling into CNN and asking about their loved ones.”
At one point, I saw footage of a distraught man who couldn’t find his wife in the wreckage. The helpless man’s tears were real and his dismay was genuine. It was terrific, dramatic TV. But the man’s suffering seemed too private for a stranger like me to be witnessing. I felt like a voyeur.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Scott Leith (via Cox News Service)…
“The difficulty’s only beginning,” said John Stack, vice president of newsgathering for Fox. On Tuesday, he predicted coverage could get tougher in the muggy coastal region, where power is out, communication is difficult and food and water can be hard to find.
When the hurricane hit, the big task was just covering the basics. As the hurricane roared, CNN often featured images sent via “video phone,” an easily transportable device that links to a satellite. While far from perfect, the murky pictures gave CNN something to show it otherwise couldn’t have obtained.
“Our million-dollar satellite trucks are so vulnerable in a storm like this,” said Jack Womack, senior vice president of operations and administration for CNN U.S.
At Fox, much of the coverage featured frenetic correspondent Steve Harrigan, whose satellite crew staked out a spot in Gulfport. Unlike Cantore, Harrigan was farther away and better protected from the elements. Stack credited an experienced crew with choosing a good location to ride out the storm and stay on air.
“Luck is good,” he said, “but experience and luck is even better.”
Richard Huff in the NY Daily News…
Coverage of Hurricane Katrina took a severe turn yesterday as networks shifted from Monday’s repetitive footage of correspondents battered by rain to real stories of death and destruction.
“Every street, every building, every store - they all have their own story,” Fox News’ Steve Harrigan told Hemmer, before relating one about how many people were craving ice and water.
“You feel bad,” he said. “Last time I felt like this was actually in Rwanda, where I had water and people outside of the barbed wire fence didn’t have water.”
In some ways, the coverage was old school. Video clips, delayed by difficulties in getting signals out, arrived on air long after they were shot. Yet the images were powerful: people on roofs waiting for help and water everywhere.
Linda Stasi in the New York Post….
Make no mistake about the on-screen talent that they sent out there yesterday. It was mostly the A-list stars — FNC’s Shepard Smith, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Miles O’Brien, NBC anchorman Brian Williams — probably in fear of a repeat of the disastrous coverage that immediately followed the tsunami.
These days, the next best thing (career-wise anyway) to reporting in a bush jacket in a war zone is getting pelted by the gale-force rains under a swinging gas-station sign.
FNC’s Smith was in the French Quarter reporting from a third-floor balcony that “the storm has subsided, but it’s still too dangerous to come out!” — then he did.
It was all good. And to Harrigan, who at one point during his drenching yesterday said, “People are asking me what the storm surge is going to do,” I’d say that a storm surge can get a guy a raise, that’s what.
You had to be in it to win it.
August 30, 2005
Paul J. Gough turns in a must read in the Hollywood Reporter about what the news channels were going through today…
Journalists, who on Monday had weathered the 150 mph-plus winds and heavy rains from Katrina, found themselves faced not only with storm damage but also shortages of food, water and gasoline. Rising water in New Orleans KO’d an NBC News truck and cut off most TV journalists in the Crescent City from the rest of the country. And the deteriorating conditions there led to concerns about looting, other crime, dysentery and other water-borne diseases in the 90 degree-plus heat.
That’s atop a day marked by spotty communications and techniques and technology developed for the war in Iraq being used to get the story out from nature’s battlefield in and around New Orleans.
“We’re facing a couple of real tough days that will test the mettle of our personnel,” said David Verdi, vp worldwide newsgathering at NBC News.
The “Bloom Mobile,” a mobile satellite uplink truck made famous by the late NBC News correspondent David Bloom, was called into action for the production of the “NBC Nightly News” with anchor Brian Williams, who is on the scene in New Orleans.
The Weather Channel lost two rental cars and a satellite truck during the height of the storm as meterologist Jim Cantore and crew scrambled from floor to floor at a veterans home to escape the rushing water. The satellite truck was stuck nose first in the water, said Terry Connelly, senior vp and general manager of the Weather Channel.
For a while there I was wondering why the Bloom Mobile wasn’t being used during the hurricane. Then I read what happened to CNN’s Hurricane One….
James Carville spoke during The Situation Room about the hurricane disaster. Carville has a sister living in the area who is now homeless. Here is a transcript…
FNC - 2,815,000 viewers
CNN - 1,837,000 viewers
MSNBC - 679, 000 viewers
FNC - 3,398,000 viewers
CNN - 2,638,000 viewers
MSNBC - 876,000 viewers
UPDATE: Here’s a list of the top six program from Drudge. O’Reilly was huge with 4,000,000.
FOX O’REILLY 4,019,000
FOX HANNITY/COLMES 3,292,000
CNN LARRY KING 2,991,000
FOX GRETA 2,883,000
CNN AARON BROWN 2,466,000
CNN ZAHN 2,455,000
The August numbers are out. FOX had the largest primetime viewing month yet in 2005 and it was the 44th consecutive month that FOX beat CNN across the board. FOX’s gap over CNN continued to widen. It’s now up to 23% in Total Day and up to 57% in Primetime since Dec of 2004. FOX was up accross the board except in the daytime demo where it had a three percent drop from the same period last year. CNN wss down across the board from the same period last year. HLN was up across the board. MSNBC was down from the same time last year across the board. CNBC was down in daytime and primetime but up in their respective demos.
FOX News issued a release on their phenomenal ratings numbers for Sunday’s Hurricane Katrina coverage…
FNC averaged 2,341,000 viewers in total day, up 247% over the same day last year, the highest percentage jump among the cable news networks. CNN averaged just 1,086,000 viewers and MSNBC clocked in at only 497,000 viewers.
FNC continued its domination in primetime with a whopping 4,073,000 viewers, again beating CNN’s 2,279,000 viewers and MSNBC’s 1,021,000 viewers combined, making the night FNC’s second highest rated primetime of 2005. FNC again was up the most among the news networks, with a jump of 376% over the same day last year.
FNC also beat CNN and MSNBC combined in the advertiser-friendly 25-54 demo, attracting 909,000 viewers in total day to CNN’s 464,000 and MSNBC’s 260,000. In primetime, FNC averaged 1,644,000 viewers to CNN’s 933,000 and MSNBC’s 536,000. Both showings marked FNC’s highest 25-54 viewership of 2005
Following up on the early numbers I posted yesterday, CNN issued a release on the final numbers for its hurricane based web traffic…
Hurricane Katrina coverage yielded record numbers for CNN.com as users viewed more than 9 million videos on Monday, Aug. 29, more than doubling site’s previous full day peak. Additionally, more than 10 million unique users visited CNN.com, accessing more than 130 million pages online.
“The record numbers reveal CNN.com as the place to go online to really see and understand the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina,” said Susan Grant, executive vice president, CNN News Services. “CNN.com’s coverage was a powerful complement to the front-line on-air reporting from CNN. And it will continue to be the top online news source for coverage of Katrina’s aftermath.”
The full release is here…
Glenn Garvin in the Miami Herald writes about Bill Hemmer’s debut on FOX News Channel…
Hemmer says the philosophy at Fox is keep things moving, and he’s in total agreement.
‘’I am of the firm belief that cable-news viewers are a click-fickle bunch,'’ says Hemmer. “Make them wait for what they want, they’ll go find it on their own, somewhere else. They’ve got other choices, and other options, and you’d better keep them engaged.'’
But what about those critics who say Fox News is just a lot of right-wing claptrap? Did Hemmer get a briefing before this morning’s show about which Democrats to gore and which Republicans to praise?
‘’Oh, puh-leaze,'’ he groans. “It’s never come up. It’s never been an issue. And I think my record over the past 10 years makes it clear I’m not that kind of reporter.'’
On The Record will be on for two hours tonight to cover the hurricane aftermath. Meanwhile an emailer notes that Rita Cosby will be doing Hurricane coverage as well as reporting on the Holloway case from Aruba again tonight…
Tim Cuprisin of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes about Steve Harrigan’s hurricane reporting yesterday on FOX…
Although it’s easy to criticize the idea of reporters battling a hurricane as a silly stereotype of telejournalism, it is the best way for viewers to feel the effects of that kind of weather. You don’t have to be in the path of the storm to be intrigued by the power of a storm like Katrina.
That’s why hurricanes have always been perfect for live TV coverage.
Harrigan’s sense of humor was the driest thing along the Mississippi Coast on Monday, as he tweaked anchors asking him to talk about things way beyond his ability to report, like the drainage capacities of the coast near his position.
“Was that your first dolphin question ever?” said anchor Brian Kilmeade.
“At least it’s better than your Mississippi gulf drainage along the coast question.”
Forget that Hercules Harrigan business. Call him Hurricane Harrigan.
FOX News beat all the other channels combined in Total Day, Primetime, and their respective Demos. During the daytime hours FOX doubled CNN’s number and nearly did it again during primetime. MSNBC had a good evening with more than 1,000,000 viewers in primetime.
FNC — 2,341,000
CNN — 1,086,000
MSNBC — 497,000
FNC — 4,073,000
CNN — 2,279,000
MSNBC — 1,021,000
Total Day 25-54
FNC — 909,000
CNN — 464,000
MSNBC — 260,000
FNC — 1,644,000
CNN — 933,000
MSNBC — 536,000
The Hollywood Reporter’s Paul J. Gough weighs in….
NBC’s Brian Williams became the only network news anchor on the scene; other correspondents on the scene included Fox News’ Shep Smith, who reported from the French Quarter in New Orleans; Steve Harrigan from Gulfport, Miss.; CBS’ John Roberts; and CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Miles O’Brien. All three network news morning shows continued coverage until at least noon ET.
Liz Smith kibitzes in The NY Post…
IT WAS amazing on Sunday afternoon to hear both MSNBC and CNN exhort their viewers to go out and capture dramatic hurricane footage, but to do it “safely.” This was before Katrina hit the mainland, so I don’t know what the two news venues expected. To my knowledge, Fox News did not require civilian video, but there was an unexpected moment of levity in a very serious situation. Fox anchor Shephard Smith was in New Orleans, talking to those who were unable or unwilling to evacuate the city. He happened upon a man walking his dog. “What are you doing here, walking your dog? ” asked Smith. “None of your “f - - - ing business,” came the casually drawled reply.
Newsmen just don’t get no respect. Even when they’re out risking their own necks.
That’s the lead in the Washington Post’s Korin Miller’s Names and Faces that’s used to describe FOX News Channel’s Steve Harrigan’s reporting on Hurricane Katrina yesterday…
Send in the tough guy! To tackle coverage of Hurricane Katrina, Fox News dispatched someone who has seen his share of disaster: Miami-based correspondent Steve Harrigan , who has provided plenty of war coverage for the network over the years.
In a broadcast yesterday, a soaked (and goggle-wearing) Harrigan described the weather conditions, including 135-mph winds, in Gulfport, Miss., as “scary” — this from a man who has reported on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as the Afghan and Chechen wars.
When veteran war correspondent Steve Harrigan says it’s “scary” out, be afraid, be very afraid. (Fox News)
News anchor Jon Scott remarked: “Steve, I know you’ve been in places like Afghanistan. When you describe it as ’scary’ it’s got to be pretty scary.” Harrigan’s response: “It is.” Yikes!
Jonathan Storm of the Philadelphia Enquirer took a skeptical view of yesterday’s events…
The storm turned away from New Orleans, but that didn’t stop Fox News Channel from using the label “Direct Hit.” The network’s coverage, heavy on a repetitious radar “loop” of the hurricane, was almost shockingly devoid of visual material. One forlorn ruined business sign in Gulfport, Miss., popped up over and over.
You could see CNN’s Anderson Cooper in the elements in Baton Rouge, La., or, while that loop went round and round on Fox News, you could listen to U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal (R., La.), “our eyes and ears on the ground in Baton Rouge,” said the network anchor.
Why hire a journalist when you can talk to a politician?
Still, Fox’s Steve Harrington gets a valor award, along with Jennifer Donelan, who works for a network news service, though Philadelphia’s KYW (Channel 3) would like you to think she works for them. Donelan, who looks as if she weighs 120 soaking wet, which she was, seemed ready to take to the skies at any moment
When it comes to 24-hour news, people watch more for visceral stimulation than for information. MSNBC knows that.
“Survivors of Katrina tell their emotional stories to Rita Cosby,” its announcer pitched, flogging the prime-time honey whom the network lured from Fox. And, on a desperate, storm-ravaged day, there was reassurance that cable news had not lost its way:
“Plus, Rita Cosby, live in Aruba!” Next to a blond teenager missing on her high school graduation trip, hundreds of thousands of displaced families are a drop in the bucket.
Storm is really off base here in my opinion. Every network was interviewing government officials. I saw Jindal, the Representative Storm mentions, on more than one cable channel yesterday. Why single out FOX News for criticism? And Cooper, though he was out in the elements and it sure sounded bad and looked bad, wasn’t getting the pounding that Steve Harrigan got. Does Storm have an agenda here?