Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Arsenio Hall Is Hurting Tribune And Other Media Bits

Arsenio Hall

Arsenio Hall came in with a euphoria due to many viewers wanting to feel nostalgia from the past as well as younger viewers who wanted to know what it was like to watch Arsenio during late night since they weren't old enough to remember the old show. It started off as the highest rated late night show among the young 18-49 demographic which advertisers prefer. But ever since then, the show has faced a steep decline in the ratings and producers are already leaving the show.

If you watch the show, you can see why ratings have declined. The guests are B-list/C-list stars that you expect to see or hear on online talk shows or podcasts, the jokes on the show aren't funny at all and Arsenio is pretty boring nowadays. The old Arsenio was loud in terms of the way he dressed, how he spoke and what he felt about anything that was going on. The new Arsenio is the polar opposite and doesn't add anything interesting to the national conversation.

David Letterman's shtick is that he doesn't care about anything, Jay Leno is the Middle America uncle who tells corny jokes which you can't help but laugh at even if you don't want to, Jimmy Fallon does remixes of songs with the artists who made the song, Craig Ferguson is the foreigner who is perplexed by American culture and Jimmy Kimmel is the ultimate prankster.

Arsenio on the other hand, is nothing but a boring personality who has creepy tendencies when it comes to how he looks at his guests. Peep the example right here.

Arsenio's show has to do well in the ratings according to Robert Feder because it is part of a plan to continue to launch original programming for Tribune affiliates. Combining the local news together with a strong late night show will help Tribune when it comes to negotiations with cable operators who may not see much value in Tribune affiliates besides the local news because a majority of them are CW affiliaites (a network which isn't highly rated).

What does Arsenio need to do to improve?

1. Find new writers - Their jokes are not funny.........at all. The jokes are what you would most likely hear on Jay Leno's show, which doesn't make sense because Jay and Arsenio are targeting two different audiences.

2. Get rid of the monologue - If you can't hire new writers, maybe you should just get rid of the monologue portion all together. Arsenio does have a big strength when it comes to interviewing celebrities and finding out what's going on with them, so maybe it'll be easier if the show opens with the musical guest and then transitions into Arsenio's celebrity interviews. Or possibly start doing as many music video parodies of songs as possible. Arsenio loves music and should be creative enough to churn parodies out.

3. Put on more stand up comics with a major social media backing - People like Issa Rae, HotDamnItIRock, Jerry Lavigne etc., need to become your best friends. Put them on, let them do a commentary and/or stand up gig about life and whatever they want to talk about. This way you're aiming directly at the audience you desire.

4. Find better books IMMEDIATELY - The guests who have been on the show have been HORRIBLE. Why wasn't Kanye on Arsenio's show first to respond to Jimmy Kimmel? You need A-listers to rap it up with Arsenio because that's how the 1st incarnation of the Arsenio Show became so successful. You knew there was going to be an interesting, cool guest on every single night. Sometimes even combos of celebs would come on (Michael Jackson/Eddie Murphy or Rosie O'Donnell/Madonna).

5. Find a place to air repeats and embrace YouTube - Jimmy Kimmel always posts full interviews from his show on YouTube because he knows that a young audience will be more inclined to watch him on TV if they're used to watching him online.  Why not do the same thing? Arsenio also needs to find a cable station to air repeats so that he can use it as a promotional vehicle for the night's show. 

All of the other late night hosts are on a single network so throughout the day whether you're watching that network or it's cable siblings, you'll see a lot of promotion for what's happening on that show on that night. Arsenio is syndicated so he doesn't have that avenue. This is why he needs to air repeats of his show possibly in the afternoon on BET, TV One, OWN and/or WGN America (Tribune's national network); where he'll be able to find African-American viewers (and young viewers on BET) to promote the show and showcase what he's done. Similar to how Wendy Williams airs nightly on BET at 12am to promote new episodes of Wendy, the next morning on Fox.

So what happens if Arsenio doesn't work? Don't be surprised if Arsenio's good friend, Jay Leno, hops right on board to replace him. Although Leno is too old to appeal to the CW audience, if he's able to get guests who are known by the CW audience and he surrounds himself with young comics who are like mini-proteges and regular contributors to the show, then it could work. Leno is also well-known enough to appeal to the audience who would be watching the local news before his show starts. Arsenio would probably go back to either life without Hollywood or possibly move on to co-host an entertainment show or panel show.

Marvel and Disney may breath new life into Tribune if Arsenio isn't the person to do it according to Deadline. After the success of it's new drama on ABC, Marvel is looking to package four more drama series and a miniseries to either Netflix, Amazon or even WGN America, which is looking for more original content. It is unclear whether Marvel will sell the package to both a cable network and a VOD provider or if it'll just sell to one or the other.

Marvel might be able to save WGN America like Tyler Perry saved OWN if the two sides are able to work out an agreement. Maybe if all works out well, Marvel even takes an ownership stake in WGN America, leaving the door open to sell the network completely to Disney/Marvel in the future. This could also a major big deal if Netflix or Amazon were able to secure this deal because they would become even more relevant in the television drama industry, which has received new life after the emergence of the internet as well as AMC's high ratings, despite the expenses it accrues.

RADICAL IDEA: If I was considering launching a cable network, 1. I would go the VOD route because digital cable customers continue to increase, it's too expensive to start a network from scratch nowadays and carriage is easier to negotiate since I'm not taking up space on the dial. 2. I would invest in a bunch of scripted and non scripted programming such as these Marvel dramas to make my network relevant. So if there is anyone out there who is considering launching their own entertainment VODNet to compete with AMC, Netflix and other nets with hit TV shows, I would go after these Marvel shows.

I would also encourage Marvel to consider maybe launching their own VODNet/App/Ad supported Network to support these shows. If "The Marvel Network" was distributed via Netflix, Hulu, cable VOD etc., Marvel would have direct control of it's programming and could build the infrastructure online to eventually start it's own real TV network whenever room and space becomes available.

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From FTVLive
FTV Live is reporting that Chris Cuomo of CNN's New Day, which started well but is now in the ratings doldrums, wants to pull a Matt Lauer and replace his co-host. I agree with this move. I don't think Kate Bouldan was the right fit for a fun, bright newscast especially after spending so many years in the pit of DC politics. Her co-hosting gig with Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room was already going great, and in my opinion, that's where she needs to go back to. I would have her co-host TSR with Wolf from 5-6:30 and then have her moderate CrossFire at 6:30pm.

Who should replace Kate? Michaela Perieria. She has the chops to transition between serious news and comical stories which is what's needed for morning television. I don't understand how she wasn't doing that in the first place since her and Chris clicked (even more than Chris and Kate) as soon as they were together on TV. Although, if CNN breaks up the New Day crew, it's more likely that Michaela leaves to go back to KTLA and that Kate leaves CNN to report and/or anchor for another outlet. 

RADICAL IDEA: If Michaela moves back to KTLA's morning show, I think WGN America should nationally syndicate the show to give America it's first coast-to-coast morning show which airs live in the West Coast. It's a great lead-in to WGN's 1pm newscasts, and it gives America a glimpse of a morning team which has some of the best chemistry you'll ever see on television.

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