Monday, November 30, 2009

Director's Cut Alert: GE, Vivendi In Tentative Deal For NBC

Special to the Director's Cut
By Deborah Yao, AP Business Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- General Electric Co. has reached an agreement to buy the 20 percent stake in NBC Universal held by French media conglomerate Vivendi SA, The Associated Press has learned.

The agreement would pave the way for GE to sell control of the TV and movie company to Comcast Corp., the largest U.S. cable TV provider. That deal, which would make Philadelphia-based Comcast one of the nation's largest entertainment companies, is valued at about $30 billion.

An understanding between GE and Vivendi has been reached but has yet to be formalized, according to a person with knowledge of the talks who requested anonymity because the talks were private.

The Wall Street Journal reported that GE would pay $5.8 billion for the stake.

Source: The Associated Press

Notes from the Newsroom: 11/30/09

By Frank Macek

It's time again for an edition of "Notes from the Newsroom" as your blogger shares some of his thoughts on our little corner of local broadcast television.

The Thanksgiving Holidays are over and now we look forward to Christmas and finally kissing off the worst year in the 22 years I have been a Cleveland broadcaster. Fortunately, advertising is beginning to rebound, according to various trade publications - particularly at the national level.

Now, some programming notes:

Don't forget next Thursday night, December 10th, Channel 3 will bring you to the Browns vs. Steelers game from Cleveland Browns Stadium. Kickoff is 8:20 p.m.

Our lineup that evening will include the following:

*6 pm - Channel 3 News at 6
*6:30 pm - Browns Pre Game Huddle
*7 pm - NBC Nightly News
*7:30 pm - Channel 3 News at 7
*8 to 11:30 pm - Browns vs. Steelers
*11:30 pm - Channel 3 News at 11

Cleveland Magazine is featuring a number of former Channel 3 personalities in an article called "Where Are They Now?" Sounds very familiar, doesn't it - if you are regular blog reader. Anyways, you can read the latest on such personalities as Wayne Turney and Cassandra Wolfe from "Hickory Hideout", Elwood Edwards - the voice of "You've Got Mail" (who just happens to sit next to me in the Channel 3 Newsroom), Doug Dieken and coach Sam Rutigliano (both are current analysts for Channel  3 & Sportstime Ohio) and former WKYC evening weathercaster Amy Murphy (Hasten) - who we just discovered has left being on-the-air for another job in Los Angeles. You can find the article in their December edition.

Our "Jay Leno Show" update shows Jay trending upward finally after some tweaks to the show format. We continue to get many comments from our readers about his show being boring and not what they expected. No additional word on any additional changes. NBC is trying really, really hard to keep the show on the air. Prime time ratings in the 10 to 11 pm hour are down 42% from last year.

Finally, November sweeps are over. Our 6 pm show continues to lead the pack at 6 pm in all key demographics. Our 11 pm show trended downward, in large part due to Leno - but did hold its own where other stations across the country fared worse. However, Leno also brought Channel 3 News more men in the 25 to 54 demographic than NBC Prime did last year. Channel 3 News Today from 5 to 7 am continues to hold a firm second place rating and is very attractive to advertisers, which is what matters most.

We posted a new job opening at WKYC if you haven't seen it for Sale Account Executive. These are the folks who sell the advertising to clients and is a thankless job. If you are interested in applying for the position, see the earlier post and links.

Talk to you soon!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Snapshot: Network Fall Season to Date Numbers

Our partners at USA Today are tracking the success of this Fall's television season. These ratings are season to date since September 20th and shows how the networks are faring.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving from the Director's Cut

Hey Hollie! Give My Kid A Call

Make your child's snow day even more special with a LIVE ON-AIR phone call from Channel 3 News Today meteorologist Hollie Strano!

When schools are being closed due to wintry weather, our Channel 3 News Today meteorologist will call some lucky students LIVE on-air to let them know their schools been closed!

To make your child eligible, you'll need to fill out the form at the following link:

Click Here

Monday, November 23, 2009

Send Us Your Favorite Holiday Light Displays Through The Season

CLEVELAND -- Channel 3 News and are on the hunt for the area's best light displays to feature on-air and on-line.

We invite you to snap your favorite holiday lighting displays and upload them on our website.

We'll feature the best of 2009 on Channel 3 News at 11 PM throughout the holiday season, on and on our WKYC Facebook page to share with everyone.

Also, we'll put together an on-line video to help remember the "Christmas of 2009."

It's easy to participate.

Just upload yours at the links provided below and be sure to tell us what city each photo is from.

*To Upload your photos:

Click Here

*To View our photogallery:

Click Here

Thursday, November 19, 2009

From the Wires: Newseum Puts Tim Russert's NBC Office On Display

WASHINGTON -- Museum visitors in Washington will get the chance to step into "Meet the Press" moderator Tim Russert's old NBC office, which has been reassembled at the Newseum.

An exhibit opens Friday with the office recreated to look as it did in June 2008 when Russert died of a heart attack at age 58. The journalism museum will keep the office on display through 2010.

Curators say it's an unpretentious office with Russert's favorite books, family photos and Buffalo Bills pennants.

Newspapers and research binders cluttered his desk.

Russert was NBC's Washington bureau chief. A wooden sign for his staff reads "Thou Shalt Not Whine."

Newseum chief executive Charles Overby has said the only other journalist who gets such prominent treatment is Edward R. Murrow.

Find out more about this new exhibit: 

Click Here

Source: The Associated Press
Photo Courtesy: The Newseum

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Snapshot: Network Fall Season to Date Numbers

Our partners at USA Today are tracking the success of this Fall's television season. These ratings are season to date since September 20th and shows how the networks are faring.

Snapshot: Surfing The Tube

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NBC and WKYC Unwrap A Bundle of Holiday-Themed Series and Specials

NBC gives the gift of holiday-themed series episodes and specials throughout late November and December with a multitude of festivities, a special military audience for "The Jay Leno Show" airing Thanksgiving evening and a night of holiday-themed Thursday night comedies from "Community," "Parks and Recreation," "The Office" and "30 Rock" on December 10.

In addition, NBC premieres "The Sing-Off" as a four-night holiday event series beginning Monday, December 14 featuring the hottest a cappella singing groups from across America competing for the chance at an Epic Records/Sony Entertainment recording contract. Also, a new SNL holiday special "Saturday Night Live Christmas 2009" is set to air on Thursday, December 17.

Other programs joining in on the holiday spirit are the family friendly specials and movies -- the all-new special "Merry Madagascar," "83rd Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Parade," "The National Dog Show Presented by Purina," "Christmas in Rockefeller Center," "A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa," "It's a Wonderful Life," "NBC's New Year's Eve with Carson Daly" and the "121st Tournament of Roses Parade."

The following are airdates of this year's holiday, themed specials:


"Merry Madagascar" (8 - 8:30 p.m.)


"Heroes" (8 - 9 p.m.)
"Trauma" (9 - 10 p.m.)


"83rd Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade" (9 a.m. - 12 p.m.)
"The National Dog Show Presented by Purina" (12 noon - 2 p.m.)
"The Jay Leno Show" (10-11 p.m.)

"Christmas in Rockefeller Center" (8 - 9 p.m.)

"Community" (8 - 8:30 p.m.)
"Parks and Recreation (8:30-9 p.m.)
"The Office" (9-9:30 p.m.)
"30 Rock" (9:30-10 p.m.)

"A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa"

"The Sing-Off" (8 - 10 p.m.)

"It's a Wonderful Life" (8 - 11 p.m.)

"Saturday Night Live Christmas 2009" (8 - 10 p.m.)

"WWE Tribute to the Troops" (9 - 10 p.m.)

"NBC's New Year's Eve with Carson Daly" (10-11 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. - 12:30 a.m.)

"121st Tournament of Roses Parade" (11 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.)

News: Daily Television Viewership Continues to Grow

A new Nielsen report finds daily television viewership continues to grow as Americans have more choices than ever before.

Among the report's key points:

  • For the 2008-2009 TV season, the amount of television watched reached an all-time high as Americans spent four hours and 49 minutes a day on average in front of the TV, up four minutes from last year and up 20% from 10 years ago. The average household watched eight hours and 21 minutes a day on average, also at an all-time high.
  • Daily viewing during primetime remained flat compared to a year ago, but is still at its highest peak since 1991.
  • The continued increase in television consumption can be attributed to several factors including more television sets in the home, and Americans also have more channels and content to choose from and are using their DVRs more than ever.
You can download Nielsen's historical daily viewing activity among households and person 2+ from 1949 to 2009 at the following link:

Click Here

Courtesy: Nielsen

Leno Update: Low Ratings Mean Changes

By Frank Macek

After all the bad press Leno has been getting the last few weeks, it looks like NBC brass, under pressure from affiliates, are forcing changes at "The Jay Leno Show."

Broadcasting and Cable is reporting today (Tuesday) the show is being re-formatted to be even more like his old "Tonight Show," with familiar skits including "Headlines" and "Jay Walking" following his opening monologue.

We also hear more changes are coming.

Ratings on Monday hit an all time low, when the show fell to a 1.2 rating nationally - apparently being the last straw.

Many NBC stations are being hurt by Leno's low ratings leading into their 11 p.m. newscasts during November sweeps.

Locally, Tuesday night's ratings were better with a 5.3 rating in households (3rd place at 10 p.m.) and a 3.2 rating in adults 25-54 (4th place when comparing Channels 3, 5, 8 & 19).

Friday, November 06, 2009

Spotlight Feature: Is It Finally Time to Cancel Leno?

By Frank Macek

After two months, NBC executives must be asking themselves whether its finally time to shelve "The Jay Leno Show."

The show's strong start in September has been followed by a dramatic drop off that has kept the network in 4th place during the fall and has seriously hurt affilates 11 PM newscasts across the country.

Nielsen ratings recently showed Cleveland as among Jay's most watched markets. Sad thing is, the ratings have wobbled between only a three and a five rating every week since the show's launch. We can only imagine how smaller markets must be faring.

NBC brass suggested early on that even a three rating would satisfy advertisers and make the network a ton of money in comparison to the amount they would have to pay for dramas or scripted shows in the 10 p.m. hour.

But is destroying the network worth it in the long run?

With NBC's arrogance the show would re-invent television, without considering "what if" the show failed, the network apparently never believed how such a failure would dampen affiliates news numbers at 11.

With all due respect to Jay and his staff, the show has not improved since its first week or two. In fact, the show has become very difficult to watch for a quarter hour, let alone a full 60 minutes. The skits are lame, the interviews are bland and the momentum seems lost in a show that seems the same night after night.

We highly doubt any network would stick with such a low rated show in its 10 p.m. hour for more than a week or two, let alone for 8 weeks.

With the recent news that NBC may be on the block by such suitors as Comcast, we wonder aloud whether a change in ownership could bring a quicker end to the show and a return to a traditional 10 p.m. hour of drama in some form.

Last week, Jay himself suggested he would be happy to return to the "Tonight Show," if NBC asked. This kind of statement makes us think Jay doesn't feel the show is working or knows something we don't going on behind the scenes.

In addition, Conan's numbers have slipped dramatically, giving the higher ground to David Letterman at 11:35 p.m. - not to mention how stiff Jimmy Fallon continues to look as host of "Late Night."

One idea we floated on the "Director's Cut Blog" not long ago was for NBC to consider allowing local affiliates the option of moving their newscasts to 10 p.m. weeknights as a compromise.

The network would push back Leno to 10:35 pm. and leave the rest of its late night schedule intact.

As of yet, we have not heard of any rumblings to this nature.

Perhaps the station in Boston who originally refused to air Leno was right after all.

Disclaimer: The thoughts and opinions expressed in this feature are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of WKYC or Gannett Broadcasting.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Leno Says He'd Return To 'Tonight' If NBC Asked

Special to the Director's Cut Blog
By Frazier Moore, AP Television Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Jay Leno's plugging away in prime time, but he still says he would have rather stayed put at "The Tonight Show" -- and if NBC offered him that late-night job again, he says he'd take it.

In an interview with Broadcasting & Cable magazine, Leno hastily adds that such a decision isn't his to make. Conan O'Brien, his successor as "Tonight" host after 17 years, is "doing fine," says Leno.

"The Jay Leno Show" began on NBC in September, airing Monday through Friday at 10 p.m. Eastern, where it has displaced prime-time scripted dramas. For that, and for his less-than-stellar ratings thus far, Leno has taken heat within the TV industry as well as from critics.

But getting beat up is just part of the game, says Leno, who insists he enjoys his role "being the underdog."