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October 7, 2015

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TV Star Fights With Octomom, Oscar Producers Downplay Oprah's Involvement & More TV News

by Maggie Furlong, posted Jul 10th 2011 4:00PM
Kristen Johnston, Nadya SulemanWhen Octomom became a household word, people everywhere dreamed of what they'd say to Nadya Suleman, the outrageous single mom of multiples who was grabbing headlines for all the wrong reasons.

According to MSNBC, Kristen Johnston -- best known for her role on '3rd Rock From the Sun' -- got the chance on a recent flight from NYC to L.A.

Apparently Octomom was having trouble keeping her 12 children quiet, even before the flight took off, and the outspoken Johnston was not gonna put up with it for the entire cross-country trip.

Suleman's rep told E!: "Nadya and her children were in business class ... apparantly Kristen became upset and came from 1st class to tell her to keep her kids quiet. They had an altercation and Kristen got off the plane and never returned. While Nadya had help from her friend and two older children, it's not easy to travel with one two-year-old let alone eight two-year-olds on a plane. She did the best anyone could."

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Joseph Wershba, TV News Pioneer, Dies Aged 90

by Catherine Lawson, posted May 17th 2011 6:45AM
Joseph WershbaTV news pioneer Joseph Wershba, an Emmy-winning CBS News producer and reporter, whose work helped to bring the McCarthy witch hunts to an end, has died at the age of 90.

The Associated Press reports that Wershba, who was one of the original '60 Minutes' producers, died at his home at Long Island, New York of complications from pneumonia.

In a statement, CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager said, "Joe Wershba was a wonderful man who was a pioneer of broadcast journalism, without the notoriety of his more celebrated colleagues Ed Murrow and Don Hewitt. ... Almost everything he touched became part of the foundation for CBS News, including '60 Minutes.'"

In 1954 Wershba led a report on Sen. McCarthy for Edward R. Murrow's CBS TV news segment, 'See It Now.' The exposé helped discredit McCarthy, and was one of the inspirations for the movie 'Good Night and Good Luck,' in which Wershba was played by Robert Downey, Jr.

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Guess which network had thirteen of the top fifteen cable news shows in 2009?

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 30th 2009 5:02PM
Bill O'Reilly bookYou can probably guess that Fox News dominated the ratings in 2009. In fact, thirteen of their shows made it to the top fifteen of the year. The other seven spots of the top 20 are made up of various MSNBC and CNN shows, with only Countdown with Keith Olbermann and Larry King Live cracking the top fifteen.

After the jump, the top fifteen (and here's the whole list).

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TV Squad Poll: Which TV news do you watch?

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 28th 2009 5:08PM
FOX NewsI was just over at TV Newser looking at the latest ratings for the cable news outlets. FOX News beats CNN and MSNBC combined all day, Nancy Grace has been beating Keith Olbermann lately, MSNBC has been beating CNN in primetime. On the networks, NBC is still ahead, followed by ABC and CBS. And that got me thinking: what do you watch for news now? I work from home and watch TV all day long, so I watch both CNN and FOX News. At night, I usually watch Katie Couric on CBS.

How about you?

Which news do you watch?
CNN799 (11.8%)
FOX News3636 (53.9%)
MSNBC956 (14.2%)
Local news only284 (4.2%)
Network nightly news (ABC, CBS, NBC)415 (6.1%)
I only read newspapers/web sites for news658 (9.8%)

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TV 101: Why we need public figures who lie to us (and how TV screws that up!)

by Jay Black, posted Mar 11th 2009 10:02AM
I am so gonna ponder the hell out of you!Because I tend to hang out with mostly hobos and philosophy majors, about 90% of my conversations wind up in hypotheticals about the kind of superpower I would most want. While I don't yet have an answer to that worked out, I have figured out the superpower I would least want: mind reading.

Think about just how awful it would be to read another person's thoughts:

You would know for certain that your wife fantasizes about other people in bed (probably your friends). You would know for sure that your father doesn't brag to his friends about the $110 a month you make as a semi-professional blogger. You would know just exactly what websites your husband is looking at with the "private browsing" function turned on in Safari (and you would be blinded by them).

It would be horrible. And that's just the kind of world TV is making for us.

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Katie Couric does the best newscast, says RTNDA

by Bob Sassone, posted Jul 2nd 2008 12:01PM

CouricWhile viewership continues to slip and all that "Katie is leaving after the election" talk still swirls, it looks like the industry actually likes her show.

The CBS Evening News won the Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Newscast from the Radio Television News Directors Association the other night. ABC won the most awards, including Best Overall, Documentary, Hard news, Spot News Coverage, and Videography. Not really sure what the difference is between Best Newscast and Best Overall, but maybe Best Overall combines all facets of a TV network's news division while Best Newscast just focuses on the 30 minute nightly show that the network does. Either way it's something I'm sure you're going to see in ads for The CBS Evening News.

CBS News also won for Best Web Site (I'd link to the full list of awards but the RTNDA site seems to be down right now.)

[via TV Newser]

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Local news team freaks out over Halloween prank

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 31st 2007 11:02AM

KXTVI hate being scared at Halloween. I mean, scary movies and costumes are one thing, but I can't stand it when people just jump out from hiding to shock you. Such an easy, cheap way to freak out someone. It's only funny when you do it to someone, not when it's done to you.

The news anchors at KXTV in California know that feeling. At the start of a segment on the morning news the other day, they were greeted by a pack of knife and bone-wielding creatures and completely freaked out on camera. And this isn't one of those times where the anchors really knew about it ahead of time. You can tell by the screams that they were caught completely off guard. I'm also sure several viewers had to change their underwear too.

My favorite part is Melissa Crowley, who pretty much says "the hell with my friends!" and actually runs out of the studio.

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Bob Woodruff returns, while Maria Shriver resigns

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 25th 2007 3:41PM

Maria ShriverMaria Shriver is leaving television news, and it's all Anna Nicole Smith's fault.

The ex-NBC newswoman and wife of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says that TV coverage of the death of Anna Nicole Smith (and all of the other stories that came from her death) led her to quit TV news forever. She made the comments during a speech at the Conference For Women. She says that watching the nonstop coverage made her realize that TV news had changed and she no longer wanted to be a part of it. She has plenty to do as First Lady anyway.

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Guess who the lowest paid network anchor is

by Bob Sassone, posted Jul 16th 2007 3:42PM

Charles GibsonAll this talk about Katie Couric's low ratings, how people don't like her, her New York interview, etc, etc. But did you know that she's actually the highest paid of the three nightly network news anchors?

Couric makes around $15 million a year. Over at NBC, Brian Williams is making around $10 million a year. Charlie...sorry, Charles Gibson? He has the most buzz right now but he actually makes the least, around $8 million a year. He didn't get a raise (nor did he want one) when he made the jump from Good Morning America to ABC World News (though I assume he'll get one when his contract is renewed in two years). He says the money thing is "irrelevent." Well, it would be to me too if I was getting $8 million a year.

So here we go again: yet more ammunition for the "Katie is bad, Charles is good" crowd.

[via TV Newser]

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Anchorwoman has Texas town talking

by Adam Finley, posted Jun 11th 2007 2:02PM

anchorwomanOn August 21 at 8:00 p.m., FOX will debut Anchorwoman, a comedy/reality TV program focusing on a swimsuit model who moves to the quiet community of Tyler, Texas to try her hand at local news reporting.

As a twist, the series will take place in an actual newsroom, KYTX-TV, a CBS affiliate. Actual newspersons will appear on the program, which has many people in the community asking if this is such a good idea.

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The ten most powerful people in TV news

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 16th 2007 11:37AM

AilesI'm not exactly sure what they mean by "powerful" whenever these lists come out. Does it mean influence? Does it mean the most-watched? Probably a mish-mash of both, since the list includes anchors and network executives. Here's the list, according to TV Week. Last year's rank is in parentheses.

1. Roger Ailes - Chairman and CEO of FOX News (1)

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Out of the Blogosphere

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 15th 2007 3:14PM

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CNN must be in the front row

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 17th 2007 3:06PM

CNN logoBoth CNN and Fox News were fighting to get a seat in the front row of the new White House press briefing room, and CNN has won.

The White House Correspondents Association decided to give the front row seat to CNN "based on CNN's 27 years of covering The White House, as well as the resources it brings to the in-town and travel pool, and its daily prescence at the briefings."

CNN wasn't the only winner. Veteran journalist Helen Thomas, who was knocked back to the second row to make way for the cable news outlets recently, will get back her front row seat. The association has decided to honor a commitment they made to Thomas years ago. She has been covering The White House since the early 60s.

The new White House briefing room will be ready in June. (And if anyone isn't sure what that headline means, I'm referring to an old commercial with Bob Uecker.)

[via TV Newser]

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Stephen Talbot talks about the TV news biz

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 1st 2007 10:58AM

Frontline logoI know, you might be thinking, who is Stephen Talbot and why should I care what he thinks of the TV news biz? Well, Talbot is a producer and writer for PBS' Frontline (his new episode, News War, debuted earlier this week), but that's not why I'm posting this. I'll explain that after the jump. In the meantime, go read the chat he has at The Washington Post's site and look at his picture closely. Where have you seen him before?

Talbot has a lot of interesting things to say about the news industry. He likes local news, but doesn't like it when they focus on just local stories, fears that people will just wake up one day and wonder why the only news they get is stuff about Anna Nicole and Britney, and he explains why Connie Chung gave up her great reporting career to do...well, whatever the hell she's doing now.

Oh, where have you seen him before?

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Mary Tyler Moore's house for sale

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 26th 2007 4:41PM

Mary Tyler Moore Show houseOK, not her actual house, but the show she "lived in" on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. It really is in Minneapolis, and it's on the market for $3.6 million.

Of course, this house was only used for exterior shots on the show. The actual sets for Mary's apartment and Rhoda's oh so funky 70s bachelorette pad (remember those beaded curtains and the colors?) were on a Hollywood lot. The home is an 1892 Victorian, bought for $1.1 million by the current owner, and he has spent even more fixing it up. I think it looks really nice in the pic, and I'm sure with the location and the classic TV connection, someone will snatch it up.

Though I'd wonder about tourists. As the article says, past owners have been annoyed by people coming by and taking photos. Maybe they should charge to tour the place. Nah, that wouldn't work. People would just say "hey, this looks nothing like Mary's apartment!" Then they'd leave in a huff and go try to find the offices of WJM-TV.

[via TV Tattle]

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