Variety’s Sam Theilman writes about how the primaries have boosted news ratings…
This time last year, the three cable news nets were filling their programming hours with missing teens, miscreant celebs and Anna Nicole Smith. This year, with topsy-turvy primary races in both parties, they’ve found gold in parsing every facet of the campaigns and the latest polling numbers.
Fox News Channel’s VP of newsgathering John Stack says you need look no further than last week’s Florida primary for why the election makes for good TV.
Stack spoke to Variety on Jan. 30, when his point was being illustrated by the day’s breaking news.
“Today you had the results from Florida, and then the speculation that (Rudy) Giuliani would drop out, and then the surprise that (John) Edwards was dropping out, and that suits the 24-hour format really well,” he says.
Political fever seems to be more pervasive than ever. MSNBC has drawn on NBC heavyweights Tim Russert and Matt Lauer to pump up its debates. CNN is opening the floodgates for a 40-hour marathon of Super Tuesday coverage. Fox’s broadcast net was even planning to showcase FNC’s Shepard Smith with a three-hour programming block in which Smith and fellow cablers Bill Hemmer and Megyn Kelly reported on politics and football before the Super Bowl on Feb. 3.