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.