Cable News in Perspective

CJR Fellow Terry McDermott argues that Fox has “simply (and shamelessly) mastered the confines of cable.”   He blathers on and on and on before finally coming to an actual point: Cable news is not literally a broadcast business, but a narrowcast. At any given moment, there are a relative handful of people (in peak hours […]

Network News Dying: So What?

NBC is the only network news program that’s not losing gobs of money, and that’s only because it has a 24/7 cable news outlet (MSNBC) to recoup its investment.   ABC and CBS are continuing to cut staff to pare costs but have no plan to actually make money, aside from hoping CNN will agree to […]

NBC Olympic Coverage: Congressional Action Needed?

Senator Herb Kohl is pressuring NBC to open up online access to its Olympic coverage. A Democratic senator criticized NBC on Friday for its handling of online access to the Vancouver Olympics, calling it unfair and restrictive. Sen. Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel, wrote NBC Universal Chief Executive […]

ESPN 3D Coming in June

First there was color.  Then hi-definition.  Now, 3-D?   ESPN’s betting on it: ESPN 3D will showcase a minimum of 85 live sporting events during its first year, beginning June 11 with the first 2010 FIFA World Cup match, featuring South Africa vs. Mexico, ESPN and ABC Sports president George Bodenheimer announced. Other events to be […]

Academic Specialization and the Cult of Irrelevance

Stephen Walt laments the hyper-specialization of the social sciences: One of the more unfortunate trends on contemporary social science has been a growing “cult of irrelevance,” a set of implicit standards that encourages smart young scholars to write more and more about less and less for fewer and fewer readers. The principle of academic freedom […]

Comcast Buys NBC to Get USA, Bravo and SyFy

I’m dubious of the Comcast-NBC merger, which NYT describes as a “Deal that Reshapes TV.” Almost immediately, the transaction reshapes the nation’s entertainment industry, giving a cable provider a huge portfolio of new content, even as it raises the sector’s anxieties about the future. In a joint statement announcing the agreement, Brian L. Roberts, the […]

Fox Fake Crowd Videos

For the second time in a week, Fox News has been caught using old video to give the false impression of larger-than-actual turnout at appearances of politicos they supported.  Sufficiently embarrassed at having been caught, Fox executives are promising “serious disciplinary action” for those responsible. While the incidents add fuel to the fire that Fox […]

CNN in Last Place – Behind MSNBC Reruns!

CNN has dropped to fourth place in the cable news business it invented. And Fox continues to rise while under fire from the administration. CNN, which invented the cable news network more than two decades ago, will hit a new competitive low with its prime-time programs in October, finishing fourth — and last — among […]

Regulating Loud Commercials

Peter Suderman and Berin Szoka provide sane, libertarian arguments against the Nanny State regulating the volume of television commercials.  While they both find the longstanding practice where the ads are several decibels higher than the surrounding programming annoying, they nonetheless argue that it’s not a matter where government should intervene. Says Suderman, It’s easy enough […]

50 Things Killed by the Internet

Matthew Moore marks the 40th anniversary of the Internet with a list of “50 things that are being killed by the internet.” My favorites: 1) The art of polite disagreement While the inane spats of YouTube commencers may not be representative, the internet has certainly sharpened the tone of debate. The most raucous sections of […]

MPAA Loses Again

The Supreme Court yesterday declined to hear an appeal from the MPAA, thus letting stand a lower court ruling that Cablevision’s new remote DVR technology does not constitute a “retransmission” of the programming and thus require additional fees. The new DVR service would work by storing a viewer’s recordings in computers housed at the cable […]

Fox Says No to Obama 100 Day Stunt

Friday, noting that President Obama was costing the television networks millions by constantly demanding prime time for news conferences, I mused, “given the availability of a half dozen cable news channels, I’m not sure why the networks don’t just go with original programming.”   Someone must be reading because Fox will be running “Lie to Me” […]

Obama TV Appearances Take Toll on Networks

News photographers surround the teleprompter as US President Barack Obama delivers opening remarks during his primetime press conference in the East Room of the White House on March 24, 2009 in Washington. Obama told his crisis-weary nation he sees signs of economic progress but pleaded for “patience” as he battles to overcome the worst financial […]

The Obama Presser

I suppose I should say something about last night’s Obama press conference.  Like Andrew Sullivan, I did not watch it live.  Unlike Sully, I did not DVR it and do not intend to watch it at some future point in time.  (I did, however, watch the previous night’s “Heroes.”) My reasons are these: 1.  The […]

TV Networks Need New Plan

When it was announced that NBC was turning its 10 pm time slot to Jay Leno, I had the same puzzled reaction as most.  Brian Stelter, though, argues that we’re likely seeing the future of network television. The programming and viewing habits of the last 50 years — exemplified by the checkerboard of competing programs […]