I’m starting a new weekly feature called What’s hot/What’s not. The purpose is to highlight the people/events/channels that are noticeably noteworthy. Something can be hot/not hot and be either a negative or a positive thing. Or both. The way I will go about doing this is every Saturday I’ll ask for reader submissions for the hot and not hot categories for the week. On Sunday I’ll post the hottest/not hottest which may be from those submissions or I may choose something that nobody suggested. But for today, I’ll forego the nomination process and instead put out this week’s items to give you an idea of the kind of things I’m on the lookout for.
Anderson Cooper - Twice this week Cooper was on the air for big news stories (Peru earthquake, Seismic Bump mine event) and both times he got the best Demo numbers in cable news. Of course, FNC and MSNBC would be quick to ask, “Yeah? Well, what about his Demo numbers when he doesn’t have a breaking news event to skew his numbers?” True. But, this week at least, Cooper is hot!
Joe Scarborough - Scarborough was hot this week. He memorably trashed Don Imus, revealed that people in the MSNBC newsroom booed the 2003 SOTU, and beat up Bill O’Reilly for using said event against his network. Good news: He got a lot of media attention and internet attention as a feisty and unpredictable media personality. Bad news: It’s questionable whether this notoriety will help his program’s below-Imus-in-the-Morning ratings any.
FNC’s 1/2 Hour News Hour - Despite performing well for the network, FNC’s comedy program is not going to be airing new episodes after September 16th and may be retooled for a re-launch in a different form at some future date. This doesn’t make sense to me. The program is doing well but it’s not continuing? Where’s the other shoe? All too often, whenever you see the words “mutually decided” in an announcement, there is more going on than meets the eye. Speculating about whether more is going on and what that might be is what makes this hot!
Alexis Glick - Twice this week Alexis Glick hosted Your World. Glick had been working behind the scenes at FNC until News Corp. announced the launch date for Fox Business Network. Now her appearances and profile on FNC are increasing as preparations are being made to launch FBN in October.
CNN’s 8pm hour - Faced with a three month long programming hole at 8pm until Campbell Brown arrives in November, CNN has opted to go with an assortment of live programs and documentaries to fill the gap. While it hasn’t hurt the network’s ratings at that hour much, there is a danger that CNN could be facing what MSNBC faced in the multi-month gap at 9pm between when Deborah Norville left the network and when Tucker Carlson began. Tucker never was able to get traction at that hour, after months of a mix of live programs and docs airing at that hour. To further complicate things, even when Brown does arrive she won’t be there long as she’ll have to go on maternity leave within a couple of months. All of which points to possible traction trouble ahead for the network at that hour going in to early 2008.
FNC’s breaking news programming decision making process - Thursday’s strange decision by FNC to go to tape at Midnight while the Seismic Bump incident was still unfolding left this blog’s FNC fans scratching their heads. FNC ended up dipping in and out of tape over the subsequent hours and, though they probably caught most of the news developments, by going to tape they ceeded blocks of minutes to CNN and MSNBC, both of whom continued their live coverage nonstop. I don’t think this decision affected their ratings much, if at all. But, in my opinion, from an appearances standpoint their reputation did take it on the chin a bit.