Oh, no, not again. Neil Cavuto went on the air today to announce the death of Brenda Buttner, Fox News business reporter and host of Bulls and Bears. If you get déjà vu watching this, it’s because it wasn’t so long ago that Cavuto has gone on TV to announce the passing of Terry Keenan, who also died at a young age. Sad business.
Update: And in more sad news for Fox News their resident liberal Alan Colmes has died, age 66.
The big news this week has been all the shifting around in cable news in the wake of Megyn Kelly’s announcement that she is leaving Fox News for NBC.
The word is that Tucker Carlson is taking his show over to fill Megyn’s old time slot at 9pm. Meanwhile, his old 7pm timeslot on Fox News is to be taken over by Martha MacCallum who will do a show devoted to coverage of President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office.
But we all know who the real star of MacCallum’s show is going to be: Donald Trump.
Who, by the way, used to have a show of his own on NBC, but that effort The Celebrity Apprentice is now hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger. “You’re terminated!”
In other news, Greta Van Susteren, who left Fox News a while ago in the wake of all the post-Roger Ailes fallout, and whose former show is now hosted by Carlson, will now have a show on MSNBC. It will be called — no, not On the Record, but For the Record.
Anyone else find amusing the fact that both Greta and Megyn have joined NBC right after the Donald left?
Today turned out to be a big day for TV news departures.
Peter Mansbridge announced he is going to retire as anchor for The National as of next July 1. He has been at this job for something like three decades.
Mansbridge is known for a lot of things in the news business in Canada but he is particularly famous for his anchoring of major political conventions in this country. The timetable for his departure is interesting because it allows Mansbridge to be around for one last leadership contest — the Conservative vote next May 27.
Interestingly, the story of how he got The National anchor job is legendary in itself — his predecessor Knowlton Nash had stepped down from the job in an effort to convince Mansbridge to stay at the CBC instead of bolting to CBS’s morning show in the USA.
Quite honestly, I’m convinced that if Mansbridge had gone to CBS, he would have ended up becoming anchor of the CBS Evening News. Think about that for a moment.
The only reason I am posting today about a Boston TV anchorwoman is because we get all the Boston local TV stations on our local cable in most of Saskatchewan (although Shaw customers still get their stations from Detroit).
So in addition to their nonstop obsessive coverage of the Patriots (which outdoes our local coverage of the Roughriders), we get all their local news shows featuring all their highly-paid big-name local news gals — Kim Khazei, Lisa Hughes, you name it. Real major-league anchorwomen.
Anyway, Maria Stephanos has just left Fox 25 News and that is shocking because she practically was the station. I mean, you saw her and her newscasts all the time on that channel. She was there 18 years. The reasons she left are a mystery, but the theory is it might have something to do with the new ownership there. At least, that is the speculation, but nobody’s talking or confirming what the exact reason is. Anyway, here’s the story here.
Early this morning Sun News Network ceased operations. A proposed sale of the channel fell through, and so that was that.
Viewers who tune in the channel today are instead seeing a message that states the channel is no longer available. In truth, the conservative-leaning channel, home to Ezra Levant, Michael Coren, Brian Lilley etc., was not being watched by most people anyway. That entire operation has been plagued by distribution problems right from the start. And viewership levels were, to say the least, atrocious. I will say this: at least this operation lasted longer than CityNews Channel, which went kaput after about a year.
(If you want to see the SNN channel’s final moments, I notice it’s been put up on YouTube.)
It’s a sad day for TV in Canada to see so many media jobs go up in smoke — apparently 200 people. In this case I happen to personally know some of the people affected, so it’s a sad day. But this sort of thing has been happening too often lately.
I’m not surprised this closure happened, though, because there were rumors out there for a few weeks now about the end being near. For me, this channel was on borrowed time ever since the entire Sun chain of newspapers was sold to Postmedia — with the Sun TV channel not included as part of the deal.
I know there’s a lot of people on Twitter dancing on this channel’s grave today, because they hated its conservative point of view and the personalities on there. (Pretty shameful comments, if you ask me — but also typical of what we have come to expect from social media lately.)
The reality, though, is Sun News Network did offer something original and different from what these other Canadian channels were doing with their usual boring rerun programming.
SNN’s particular high point came when they covered the now-famous Justin Trudeau-Patrick Brazeau charity boxing match a while ago. That was entertaining stuff. Actually, come to think of it, the fact that this Trudeau-Brazeau fight was their high point probably says it all. (They also ran the “Ford Nation” show, with Rob and Doug Ford, but that was more of a low point because they cancelled it after one airing.) This channel probably would have done better if they were a little more entertaining, and a little less in-your-face with its right-leaning viewpoints and with its programming and hosts. Ezra Levant and Michael Coren, in particular, repel about as many people as they attract.
But really, in the end the main issue was distribution, as not even viewers who wanted to see these people on TV could get easy access to them.
Anyway, that’s that, a perfect exclamation point to a truly awful week for the TV news business.
Just watched David Letterman interview AJ Clemente on CBS. Clemente is now famous for his foul-mouthed news anchoring performance on KFYR – NBC 5 in Bismarck, North Dakota. This hilarious video has gone viral and, well, here it is (watch your ears — language warning):
Yes, that’s right, you heard it right. This guy said the words “f—ing s—” on air as the newscast started.
It was obvious to me, though, that he was really nervous on the air. Still, even if you’re nervous you would think you wouldn’t start swearing on TV.
For his troubles, AJ Clemente is one and done as an anchor in Bismarck, North Dakota, fired after his debut newscast. I learned about this debacle by reading Ken Levine’s blog and he said “what a way to launch your news career. Yikes.”
I’m thinking, though — maybe this is what I should have done when I was on TV. I should have cursed on the air. Then I would have become famous and gotten job offers and appeared on late night TV. Heck, look at this guy!! He’s on Dave Letterman!!
Letterman even took the time to show a clip of longtime legendary New York anchorwoman Sue Simmons swearing on TV and seemed to get a big kick out of the whole thing, saying this happens to everyone. In fact, there have been plenty of anchoring meltdowns over the years. Wasn’t there even one time when an anchor at CNN went to the bathroom with her mike on or something like that?
Then again, Howard Stern says stuff all the time on the air on satellite radio and gets away with it completely. It all depends on the situation. AJ Clemente’s main problem was that he was hosting a serious newscast and not a wild and crazy radio show.
Maybe that’s the next career move for AJ Clemente: to be a shock jock on radio. Seriously, swearing on TV may be the best career move he could have hoped for.
Well, sorry for skipping out of the big convention coverage last night. Instead of liveblogging as usual, I instead drove out of town and missed most of the TV and online coverage of the convention. However, I was never out of the loop, as I did tune in to the live coverage on satellite radio on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC.
Now, I have to rant and rave about the coverage. I gotta say it, MSNBCs coverage was just terrible. They didn’t even try to be fair and balanced — they just piled on the Republicans like there was no tomorrow. It was Rachel Maddow going nuts, and Chris Matthews going nuts, and all these other talking heads just ripping the GOP. They were particularly bashing Paul Ryan at one point and ultra-fact-checking him, and saying he lied to Americans during his speech the other night. They all sounded like Democrat operatives.
You didn’t get any sort of real convention coverage from these nitwits or any attempt to convey what was actually happening. It was all about Rachel Maddow and her opinions.
At least CNN broke away from their talking heads to tell you what was going on at the podium, and Fox News was their usual selves with big conservative Sean Hannity (oddly enough, during THE FOX REPORT the main story they covered was the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac, with all the flooding down there). But MSNBC was really awful.
Also apparently really awful, according to the GOP bashers, was that old codger Clint Eastwood. The speech was described as really odd and rambling, and a lot of people thought it took the party off message. But again, I didn’t see what was so terrible about it, it was just Eastwood being off the cuff. It was entertaining enough. But again, I’m not a political pro.
Mitt Romney’s speech was about what I expected and maybe it made a difference, I don’t know. Honestly, though, the way things are going I am as pessimistic as ever about the GOP chances. Last year I thought McCain had a hope, but I am just not feeling it this year from the public.
The Democrats go ahead in Charlotte next week. I plan to be back for that.