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January 20, 2011 in broadcast news | Tags: "The Congresswoman and The Astronaut", ABC News, CBS "The Good Wife", crosshairs, Diane Sawyer, earthly ratings, Gabby Giffords, Gabriel Zimmerman, Gabriellle Giffords, love story, Mark Kelly, NBC "Parenthood", Pam Simon, President Obama, rampage killing, ratings, rhetoric, Ron Barber, shooting victims, space shuttle, speech, third place, Tuscon, valedictory flight, wedding rings | by Shelley Ross dailyXpress | 6 comments
****UPDATE: FINAL RATINGS SINK LOWER
WHEN MORE TUNE IN TO WORLD NEWS THAN ABC SPECIAL, WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO WOW VIEWERS?
A few disclosures will be sprinkled throughout this post, but first, I think I have a news crush on the astronaut, Mark Kelly. You know how when you meet a guy who’s so spectacular but taken, so you think, “is there a brother like him at home or did they throw away the mold after this one?” Well he’s got an identical twin.
My news crush on Kelly began the moment I saw that photo: the close up of his hand grasping hers, “hers” being Gabrielle Giffords who the world now knows has been fighting for her life, and now is just fighting to return to her husband. Their love story was told by Diane Sawyer Tuesday night in a special edition of 20/20.
This ABC News exclusive, a story that is still developing daily, played to all the strengths of Sawyer. (Disclosure #2: I produced Diane’s interviews for 15 years. I acknowledge this not to reveal any personal bias, but more to state a truly academic knowledge of the art of the interview.)
In the broader Tuscon story, Capt. Kelly was “the get.” From the start, the killing rampage in Tuscon captured the hearts and minds of America. Anchors rushed to the scene. The nation was captivated. Over 2 million more people watched the combined evening newscasts than the week before.
The individual stories of the victims were both heart-breaking and heart-rendering… the nine year old who wanted to learn about democracy, the 30-year-old congressional aide who had just proposed to his girlfriend, the husband who was killed throwing his body over his childhood sweetheart to save her life. And now, the story of Gabby Giffords, the congresswoman who was shot in the head by the disenfranchised community college student who appears to be off his rocker.
Tuscon is an epic tragedy with, it turns out, many tenacles. It developed into a political drama as well and not just the debate sparked over use of crosshairs graphics or incendiary rhetoric. After the President of the United States arrived bedside and offered words so powerful and healing, his biggest critics agreed his speech to the local crowd in the gymnasium could mark a turning point in his presidency.
Obama’s revelation that Gabby Giffords had opened her eyes reminded us all, “Yes, we can.” And when the astronaut, or rather her knight in shining armour agreed to tell his story, their story to Diane Sawyer, I knew it was an hour not to miss. Who better to mine the interview, write the narrative and weave the various threads together into a tapestry of hope, faith and personal challenges.
*** UPDATED RATINGS Oddly, I was in the minority. Among adults 18 to 49, ABC News’ “Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly: The Congresswoman and The Astronaut” came in third Tuesday night with a 1.3 rating . CBS’ “The Good Wife” and NBC’s “Parenthood” tied for first with 2.1 rating each.
Among total viewers, (still preliminary) ABC News came in a distant second with an audience of 6.12 million viewers, less than Sawyer averages for World News. “The Good Wife” garnered 11.34 million total viewers. (These are The Nielsen Company Fast Affiliate, Live + Same Day Ratings, 1/18/11, which were posted on ABC.com, and may be adjusted Friday.) Read the rest of this entry »