Sunday, November 16

Barbara Bowman claims the media protected Bill Cosby from her rape allegations; China's president finally faces a free press; the TV station behind #pointergate refuses to apologize.

Barbara Bowman claims the media protected Bill Cosby from her rape allegations; China's president finally faces a free press; the TV station behind #pointergate refuses to apologize.

July 20th, 2014
12:25 PM ET

Did NBC punish Gaza reporter for bias?

In the video above, Brian Stelter talks with CNN International anchor Jim Clancy about the unique challenges in coverage of the Middle East.

"It's very difficult territory," Clancy said. "A journalist can only expect that, if he's really doing a good job, both sides are criticizing his reporting."

Clancy also discussed NBC's decision to remove foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin from Gaza, only to reinstate him a few days later amid a barrage of criticism from Mohyeldin's fans and fellow correspondents. Check out Stelter's related story about NBC here.


Filed under: NBC • Reliable Sources
June 1st, 2014
12:06 PM ET

Red News/Blue News: Edward Snowden

Following Edward Snowden's first American television interview, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg gives his take on how Snowden has been characterized by liberal and conservative media.


Filed under: Blog • Edward Snowden • NBC • Reliable Sources
Disproving predictions of nightly newscasts' demise
May 27th, 2014
02:05 PM ET

Disproving predictions of nightly newscasts' demise

By Brian Stelter, CNN 

The next time I'm asked about the relevance of the network nightly news, my answer will involve Edward Snowden and Hillary Clinton.

Later this week, NBC will feature Snowden's first television interview since he decided to leak top-secret NSA documents to Glenn Greenwald and other reporters. The questioner is Brian Williams, the anchor of the "NBC Nightly News."

In a couple of weeks, ABC will have Clinton's first interview about her book "Hard Choices." The interviewer is Diane Sawyer, the anchor of "World News."

These are two Q&A's that every television network wanted to have — "big gets" at a time when there are fewer and fewer of them.

FULL STORY...

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Filed under: ABC • NBC
Narrow ratings win for 'Today' shows how much trouble it's in
February 19th, 2014
05:15 PM ET

Narrow ratings win for 'Today' shows how much trouble it's in

By Brian Stelter, CNN

Last week NBC's "Today" show out-rated ABC's "Good Morning America" for the first time in a year and a half - but NBC probably shouldn't be celebrating.

"Today" notched the weekly win thanks to NBC's coverage of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. But the show surpassed "G.M.A." by only 210,000 viewers - a small fraction of the advantage that it had over "G.M.A." during previous Olympics.

The results demonstrate just how wounded "Today" remains after falling from first place to second in the closely-watched network morning show race.

Executives at ABC, meanwhile, have been overjoyed by how well "G.M.A." has held up, though they declined to comment on the record about the ratings results.

Read more of Brian's article here. 


Filed under: NBC • Reliable Sources • Today
February 9th, 2014
12:02 PM ET

Leno says good night to "Tonight"

As Jay Leno hosts his final “Tonight Show,” Bill Carter looks back at his career and to the prospects for his successor, Jimmy Fallon


Filed under: Blog • Jay Leno • Jimmy Fallon • NBC • Reliable Sources
December 8th, 2013
12:37 PM ET

Ryan Seacrest: media Idol

By Brian Stelter, CNN

Ryan Seacrest has a few big decisions to make.

His contract to host "American Idol," once the biggest television show in the United States and still a linchpin of Fox's lineup, expires when the singing competition's next season ends in May. Another of his contracts, a wide-ranging one with NBCUniversal, comes due around the same time. Both are likely to be renewed in some form; the requisite talks are already underway. But the decisions in front of Seacrest — ones that any broadcaster would be glad to be facing — highlight how he's been able to work for so many competing media companies simultaneously. He recently extended his contract to host "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" for ABC and he leads two radio shows for Clear Channel.

When I interviewed him for CNN's "Reliable Sources" last Friday and asked how he pulls off this pretty unique juggling act, he joked about making sure to always remember which network he's on at any given time: "When I'm on Fox, I want to remember 'Fox.'"

More seriously, he added, "I really believe that every single one of those partnerships is equally as important."

He carved out time for the interview during the Los Angeles portion of Jingle Ball, Clear Channel's annual concert series in cities across the country. Seacrest's deal with the radio giant, valued at $25 million a year, will come up for renewal in 2015, according to people with direct knowledge of the deal terms. (They insisted on anonymity while discussing private contract details.)

But his business relationships with Fox and NBC require more urgent reconsideration. When I asked him if he'll continue to host "Idol" after this season, which begins in January and ends in May, he said, "I hope to host as long as they want me to host."

Seacrest acknowledged his dissatisfaction with the sharp ratings declines that "Idol" has suffered, particularly in the season that ended last May.

"We obviously did not deliver … the numbers that we wanted to deliver," he said before asserting that he had lost slept over the relative weakness of the ratings.

Looking ahead to this season, which involves an almost entirely new team of producers and judges, he said, "I want people to watch, and I want people who perhaps didn't watch last season to come back and see their 'American Idol' this season because we have put the show back together in a fun way."

I also asked Seacrest about NBC's "Today" show, since his current deal with NBCUniversal includes a special correspondent role on the morning show. Around the time the deal was struck in the spring of 2012, there was informed speculation in the press about Seacrest being in line to someday replace Matt Lauer on "Today." Lauer asked Seacrest about his interest in the "Today" show during an April 2012 interview:

LAUER: Do you see yourself doing a job like this?
SEACREST: You know, I don't know. I see you doing this for as long as you want to, so maybe the question is, how long will you be on the 'Today' show? … Because fans, myself included, think you should be here for years to come.

Subsequently, Seacrest has said that Lauer should host the "Today" show for as long as he wants to. So I asked him if hosting "Today" was still a possibility, and he answered this way: "Look, I mean, as far as I'm concerned, everything is a - I hope everything is a possibility. You know, I like to leave every door open. If it is open, I think that's up to them to decide."

At the moment, the door is not open — Lauer has not telegraphed any plans to leave the show. But NBC executives are dutifully thinking about a "Today" show succession plan anyway. In the interview, I told Seacrest that I thought he might be "too big" for the "Today" show — because he has too many other jobs and business ventures — but he circled back to his interest in the possibility, citing his love for live broadcasting.

"I truly thrive off of being on-air or on-stage in a live environment," he said.

NBC tried to launch a live prime time game show, "Million Second Quiz," with Seacrest as the host earlier this fall. "Quiz" turned in disappointing ratings; postmortems focused on the overly complicated game-play. NBC executives said they were pleased with Seacrest's performance.

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Filed under: American Idol • Media • Media Criticism • NBC • Olympics • Ryan Seacrest
November 10th, 2013
12:48 PM ET

'Checkbook journalism': Paying for stories

Paul Farhi, Callie Crossley and guest host Eric Deggans weigh in on the allegations that NBC pays for interviews.

CORRECTION: The Toronto Star revealed it paid $5,000 for a video of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. On Reliable Sources Sunday Nov. 10, guest host Eric Deggans named a different newspaper. 


Filed under: NBC • Reliable Sources • Toronto Star
What we're reading this week...
November 7th, 2013
03:24 PM ET

What we're reading this week...

By Elizabeth Cherneff, CNN

'Reliable Sources' is glad to welcome back NPR tv critic Eric Deggans as our guest host this week. We've got a busy show planned for Sunday, but in the meantime, check out these other media stories that caught our eye this week:

'Your Late Fees Are Waived: Blockbuster Closes'  It's the end of an era for Blockbuster, which announced this week that it would be closing all remaining U.S. stores. And it didn't take long for movie renters of the 1980/90's to start cracking jokes on Twitter about not having to pay late fees in the wake of the announcement. "Yes! All the Blockbuster Video Stores are closing! That means they'll never get back that VHS tape of Vampire In Brooklyn. I won!" added actor and comedian Paul Scheer. Not to be outdone, 'he New York Times reported the news with a reference to the 1979 hit from the Buggles with the headline, "Internet Kills the Video Store."

'Stephen Glass' California bar admission to be decided in court'  Disgraced reporter Stephen Glass became infamous across media circles in the late 1990's after it was revealed that he had plagiarized dozens of articles, complete with fake sources and websites, while working at The New Republic. Since then, he 's received his law degree from Georgetown University and passed California's state bar exam- now, he's back in the spotlight as the state's Supreme Court weighs whether or not to grant Glass the credentials to practice law in the state.  The issue raises significant ethics questions for legal/media analysts, some who argue that Glass has proven his law capabilities while others point to his journalistic transgressions as a permanent stain on his record.

'Wait for it- Norway's Slow TV Revolution'  Want to watch people knitting on tv? Norway has you covered. This week, Grantland blogger Tess Lynch highlights Norway's 'Slow TV' genre, which included 'National Knitting Evening' last week via NRK, the country's public tv company. And if you think people aren't interested, you'd be wrong, as more than 1 million viewers tuned in for this particular 4 hour slow tv viewing session. In an ever fast-paced media world that places a premium on disseminating news quickly, it appears Norway is taking the opposite approach – and it's starting to resonate with consumers. 

'Matt Lauer, Al Roker have live prostate exams on 'TODAY"  Viewers tuning into NBC's Today Show on Thursday got up close and personal with the show's male co-hosts this morning. In an effort to raise awareness about prostate cancer/preventative screenings, both Matt Lauer and Al Roker underwent prostate exams live on the show. The procedures took a mere 35 seconds and afterwards, doctors weighed in on the prognosis and follow up for each anchor.

August 11th, 2013
01:16 PM ET

NBC News breaks glass ceiling

Jane Hall and Paul Farhi return to the round table to join guest host Brian Stelter on NBC News' new president and the RNC chairman's threats against NBC and CNN.


Filed under: NBC • RNC
August 4th, 2013
01:02 PM ET

Focusing the lens on Hillary

Are various network/cable plans for a Hillary Clinton miniseries sparking premature 2016 rumors? Marisa Guthrie, Matt Lewis and guest host Patrick Gavin weigh in.


Filed under: 2016 • CNN • Hillary Clinton • Hollywood • Media • Media Criticism • NBC
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