FIRST BIG INTERNATIONAL CRISIS IS A BUST FOR NEW BOSS
PRIMETIME RATINGS WAY LOWER THAN LARRY KING
TELEVISING THE REVOLUTION, THE HARD WAY
On Friday, with Egypt erupting in a people’s revolution, CNN wisely bagged their primetime programs and stayed on the live breaking news with two of the best reporters of our generation: Ben Wedeman and Nic Robertson. Sadly, not many viewers came to the party. Now CNN has put in place Mark Whitaker, a news exec from NBC and Time. Will he be the heroic smoke jumper needed to save the prime real estate?
Below are the A25-54 #s for Friday for CNN from 6-11PM:
Last year, Larry King averaged 199,000 A25-54 on the same week (w/o Jan 25th) last year — without breaking news.
As I mentioned last week, no one helped out Piers Morgan with basic briefing notes or even a map. A quick who, what, why, where and when would have helped, like Mubarak has been president for 30 years, since the assassination of Anwar Sadat, the middle east titan who was murdered because he had the courage to forge peace with Israel, a peace which has lasted three decades. Egypt is a country that straddles Asia and Africa and has 80 million people. This protest is taking place in Cairo and so far the White House and state department, who have relied on Mubarak’s support in the region for 30 years, appear to be taking a wait-and-see approach with the demonstrations, but for how long?
FORGET THE NEXT NEW TOUCH SCREEN TECHNOLOGY AND GIVE A TUTORIAL ON THE BASICS
I think even that most basic bit of information would have helped Pier Morgan’s audience. As ABC’s Terry Wrong said recently, we’ve been spoiled by Peter Jennings and Ted Koppel. Yes, both of those anchors could walk across a map of the middle east and talk about the corner cafes from where they filed news stories. They both immersed themselves in the region. Neither ever covered a story as a photo op for their careers. You know what I mean, the anchors who parachute in, take a few pictures in the tsunami aftermath, Haiti, the green zone, then leave.
CNN viewers know the difference. They know Anderson Cooper is building his career with the depth of reporting they got to see during Katrina. They know Wolf Blitzer is a student (and master) of American and Middle East politics and understands the ramifications of each new development.
Elliot Spitzer? We know more about him as Client 9 than anything else.
Piers Morgan? We’ve seen him in publicity photos with a make-up brush preparing for a show, and with Kim and Khloe Kardashian sitting on his lap, one on each knee. Isn’t there someone who should be watching the brand closer?
Mark Whitaker, wishing you godspeed. You certainly have your work cut out at CNN: the most trusted name in news.