Monday, December 30, 2013

Cable News Primetime Lineup on December 31st, 2014 Prediction

I think it'll stay the same. The only show I could see moving in primetime is "Hannity". While Hannity's ratings are still high, his style of anchoring is way more partisan than anyone else in the primetime lineup including O'Reilly. He'll be a great addition to jazz up the Republican fan base for the 2014 mid-terms but I don't think he matches the identity and general theme of the other primetime hosts, whose aim is to critically analyze the events of the day. Many may laugh at my suggestion that O'Reilly isn't a partisan but O'Reilly doesn't toe the Republican party line as much as Hannity does. In fact, O'Reilly is very inclusive of other viewpoints as is Greta and Megyn.

I could see Fox News moving Hannity back to his 9pm time slot on the Fox Business Network, which is in need of a jolt and has a clear stance on limited government throughout it's schedule. If Hannity does move, it leaves the door open for "The Five" to go primetime. The likelihood of all of this happening is slim to none though, especially given the fact that Hannity is signed to a long-term agreement to continue on FNC Primetime. 

Prediction: The same.

The 10pm hour is destined to change. Lawrence O'Donnell has publicly said that he doesn't want to host a cable news show forever. Could this open the primetime door for MSNBC rising star Alex Wagner? I think so. Wagner is already moving to 4pm to replace Martin Bashir and it's only a matter of time before her meteoric rise continues. If I were MSNBC, I would put Maddow head on vs. O'Reilly but we already know MSNBC doesn't want to jeopardize their biggest star being clobbered in the ratings.

Expect Chris Hayes to stay at 8pm. His ratings are slowly increasing after getting off to a bad start (thanks to Chris Matthews' lead in) and MSNBC is in need of consistency in that timeslot. At 10pm, I would expect Alex Wagner's panel show, "NOW," to take over as the last voice of the night.

Prediction: 10pm move

Oh Lord! I'm up in the air about CNN. Who knows what they have planned for primetime!? Here's what I think. At 7pm, Anderson Cooper will host AC360 with a look at all the latest headlines followed by a block of unscripted shows from 8pm-10pm. Monday through Wednesday, the block will feature a different lineup of shows while Thursday will serve as movie/documentary night with an encore on Friday. At 10pm, Don Lemon takes over with a review of the show/documentary as the topic of discussion followed by a sports highlights show powered by Bleacher Report at 11pm. Erin Burnett will no longer be a part of CNN while Piers Morgan will reduce his role to only airing on Friday nights and weekends with a signature interview outside of the studio (reminiscent of the interview he did with Rick Warren, the highlight of Morgan's 2013 at CNN). The Lead will add an extra 30 minutes to it's telecast, airing 4-5:30pm with The Sit Room on from 5:30pm-7pm.

Sidenote: CNN will head back to a 2-anchor format in the daytime with Robin Meade taking Kate Bouldan's place on "New Day".

Prediction: PANDEMONIUM!!!

HLN will have just as much chaos and pandemonium as CNN. I think CNN's primetime ratings will increase in 2014 (catching up with MSNBC) while HLN will take a STEEP downturn. Dr. Drew will move to 7:30pm with Jane Velez-Mitchell at 7pm. Nancy Grace will continue at 8pm, but then from 9pm-11pm we'll see a bunch of cheesy reality shows which are copycats of shows already on the air. Each day will include a different set of shows and most of the shows will be under the Upwave brand. The biggest surprise will be Jay Leno, who'll come on at 11pm and compete with rival Conan. Leno's show will not have a late-night feel to it though and will be set in a studio without an audience.

Prediction: Pandemonium. But less than CNN. Still pandemonium though.

We might see Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg get some primetime specials here and there but other than that, I don't expect much for CNBC's primetime lineup. NBC Sports may acquire more TV rights and CNBC could serve as the home for their overrun programming. Peacock Productions might also place some of it's random specials which can't find a home on CNBC's primetime lineup. But CNBC Prime is a goner with "60 Minutes" repeats as the main replacement.

Prediction: CNBC Prime axed!

More of the same. Unless Fox News risks moving one of it's major stars to the FBN lineup alongside Cavuto, we'll get more of the same from these guys. Primetime doesn't need to be much of a success if Maria Bartiromo and the WSJ can help the network improve it's daytime ratings. I wouldn't be shocked if Erin Burnett moved to FBN for a primetime show and/or to serve as it's main breaking news anchor.

Prediction: The same.

If Bloomberg stays the same and is owned by Bloomberg Inc. by this time next year, then I don't think their lineup changes. I could see Bloomberg expand into producing more documentaries which air in primetime but other than documentaries and "Charlie Rose" re-runs, there's not much hope for Bloomberg's primetime future if it's still owned by Bloomberg. I'm under the impression though, that Bloomberg will look to sell it's TV network to focus solely on the internet in 2014 and if that happens then the primetime lineup will obviously change.

Prediction: If the network is owned by Bloomberg by this time next year, then nothing changes.

Prediction: No changes to primetime. Ratings will finally match the ratings of it's former incarnation, Current. If a major breaking news story hits the Middle East in 2014, expect AJA to match CNN in the ratings.

Prediction: Jorge Ramos will make a lot of noise through a major interview he does on his show. Alicia Menendez will take over the 9pm hour. Fusion will finally get added carriage in 2014.
Vice is launching a new 24-hour news network which will mostly exist online. According to some articles published back in 2012, the network will be available in 18 other countries on television. I don't think "Vice News" will be available on television here in the U.S. in 2014 unless it leases time or buys a television network of it's own (such as Bloomberg) although those chances are slim to none. 

I also don't think this online network will make an immediate dent on ratings on a daily basis but I do think that they'll be a force to reckon with during peak primetime hours if breaking news arises. CNN may lose it's dominant streak as the leader in breaking news in 2014 because Fox News will be using a trusted journalist with cool, new gadgets for all of it's breaking news stories (Shepard Smith) while Vice will most likely provide an uncensored point of view which the traditional nets are not comfortable with that'll interest viewers in the demo.

For example, if "Vice News" were around during the Boston bombings, I imagine they would probably have a Vice correspondent move in temporarily with a family in Watertown who was forced to stay indoors or follow a cop who was right in the middle of the action. This kind of uncensored view could be the key to taking down the traditional cable nets or at the very least, bruising them during live breaking news coverage. 

Prediction: Fox News will take over as breaking news leader in the primetime ratings with help from Vice. Vice will take away viewers from CNN and reach 1 million views on a live stream of a breaking news story while Fox News viewers will stay on Fox News rather than turn to CNN. Fox News will also use Vice correspondents (and vice versa) and even possibly simulcast coverage together for a certain time period.

Prediction: CBS News' new internet news network will include a lot of hosts who are normally contributors on various cable news primetime shows. Those contributors will continue to make appearances on cable news primetime which will help promote the online network.

Prediction: Politico and Sinclair will look into cable news. Possibly launching cable news primetime shows which compete with the other guys.

Sports Media Post: New Ways To Watch Football in 2014 and Beyond, New Home for the UFC?

The game of football continues to grow it's reach and audience every year. Although the Super Bowl experienced a ratings drop last season, there is no other sport on television which draws the audiences which football does. Because of this, the fees which the NFL receives from FOX, CBS, NBC, NFL Network and ESPN to broadcast those games continue to exponentially increase and the deals last for a long stretch of time (current deals don't expire until 2021).

As the amount of cable networks and online networks dedicated to men and sports increase, expect the ways of watching football to increase and expand in different ways through 2014 and beyond. Here are some ideas which I could see coming into fruition on a screen near you.

1. Sky Sports Soccer Saturday - Sky Sports News in England covers soccer in a unique way as Awful Announcing describes:
Soccer Saturday features a variety of analysts and on-site reporters that watch and offer commentary on games while they happen.  (Yes, it means you're basically watching people watch games.)  While the concept may seem ridiculous and pointless to some of you, it actually produces crazy television when everything is happening at once across England.
If your team isn't playing and you can't afford NFL RedZone, how cool would it be to have a panel of former NFL analysts with the chemistry of "Inside the NBA" analyzing various games which they're watching live while reporters are on the scene describing the atmosphere, environment, the latest injuries and talking to fans in the crowd? Here's an example.

2. RSN/Local Feed - As the NFL Network was launching in the early 2000s, three organizations (Cowboys, Bucs and Falcons) had already established regional sports networks of their own to give fans maximum access to their team. But the NFL feared that these local RSNs would stop the NFL Network from spreading to more homes so they banned teams from starting them and forced the established RSNs to cease existence. With the NFL Network now reaching more viewers than it did as it was launching, maybe the NFL will allow teams to start their own networks again? And maybe the NFL could give fans the option to listen to their local radio feed synced with video live on these RSNs? (Very unlikely given how much CBS and Fox pay for rights UNLESS CBS and Fox start the RSNs themselves or teams pay CBS/Fox to simulcast feed. A man can only dream, lol.)

3. Multicast - NBC already offers various camera angles of the game online and it's only a matter of time before CBS and Fox start doing the same thing with their feeds, potentially broadcasting them on their own national cable sports networks if the NFL allows them.

4. Fans View - Two dedicated and well known fans from opposite teams calling games and reacting to the action together and live in real time would be a pretty cool option for fans. Fireman Ed and Barack Obama calling a Jets-Bears game would be unconvential and intriguing, wouldn't it? How about Michael Phelps and Wiz Khalifa calling a Ravens-Steelers rivalry game?

5. Fantasycast - A panel of fantasy experts constantly giving updates of various, key players would help fantasy owners adjust their lineups and keep track of where their team stands. It's an angle of analysis which the normal, regular football telecasts don't give much of, if any.

6. Match of the Day - One of the best sports shows to debut this year was NBCSN's "Match of the Day" which provided extended highlights and analysis of every single match played that day in the English Premier League. Why not have extended highlights of NFL games which exclusively feature the announcers as they called the game and the crowd noise without any hosts setting up the action for you? When you watch a quick 5 minute snippet of highlights, you've missed a lot of the intricacies of the game.

With extended highlights, you get to re-live the game and find out how the big plays were set up with less amount of time than if you were watching the game live but more amount of time than the game may be allotted on "SportsCenter". You'll understand what happened in the game and how a team won or lost more if the highlights are 15 mins. long vs. 3-5 minutes long.

2. WGN America = Possible Contender for NBA Rights? Tribune is currently in the process of rebuilding it's national cable network, WGN America, into a replica of TNT/TBS/FX/AMC etc. They want a general entertainment network with original high-brow dramas, high rated re-runs and some sports on the side.

For those who are unaware, WGN America is a superstation, defined as a broadcast station which spread it's reach beyond it's home city across the country via satellite. The FCC would later ban superstations from existing because the superstations affected local affiliate ratings since they were broadcasting a lot of the same programming. WGN America was one of the few superstations grandfathered in and allowed to continue operations which meant that they could continue airing White Sox, Cubs and Bulls games nationally.

While this usually helps their ratings, they're limited to the amount of games they can broadcast due to restrictions put on by the MLB and NBA respectively. Could Tribune be willing to pump out a ton of money to acquire a package of NBA games which could help increase the number of cable carriers the network has as well as the carriage fees which they take in? The NBA games would serve as a great promotional tool for their original programming. It's the same strategy which TNT has used all these years to increase their value.

WGN has a close relationship with the White Sox/Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf for obvious reasons. Reinsdorf happens to own an up and coming sports media company known as Silver Chalice. Would Reinsdorf be willing to flush out a bunch of money together with WGN to acquire NBA rights which could be produced and broadcast on both WGN America and Silver Chalice's sports websites? Right now there are no talks which are known to be occurring between WGN and the NBA but who knows what the future holds?

3. UFC Expanding Broadcast Partners? - UFC 168 brought out some interesting partnerships with other media partners other than Fox. While FS1 aired the "prelims" and FS2 aired a post-fight show, ESPN played a major role in UFC's promotion of the fight on Twitter. Dana White live-tweeted his take on the Rousey-Tate/Weidman-Silva matches as they were happening on @SportsCenter's Twitter page. AXS TV, Mark Cuban's network, was also a major sponsor of some of the early fights on the pay-per-view card.

Fox's contract with the UFC is nowhere near expiring and Dana White has publicly expressed that he is very pleased with the way Fox treats the sport. But it is no secret that the ratings are down in all of Fox's UFC programming (Prelim fights, "The Ultimate Fighter" etc.) Could this simply be the UFC trying expanding it's reach through promotion and inclusion of other networks or could this be a sign of things to come in the future?

Maybe in the UFC's next contract, they'll split their rights between more than one network? Or maybe I'm just making a big deal out of nothing. ESPN is a sports powerhouse and it would be stupid to promote your sport exclusively on one network if you're trying to reach as many sports networks as possible. And if AXS TV is willing to pay the UFC advertising money then it would be stupid for the UFC to not accept it.

To play devil's advocate with my devil's advocate thoughts though (lol), the UFC doesn't do many appearances on other sports networks such as NBC Sports, Turner Sports or CBS Sports, so why promote on ESPN? Also, why would the UFC let AXS TV sponsor an event when AXS TV is basically the home to every other MMA promotion not named UFC or Bellator?

In terms of the future, I wouldn't be surprised if the UFC started a minor league division to give it's talent time to develop and sold those rights to AXS TV. I also wouldn't be surprised if the UFC let AXS TV simulcast the prelims and international fights which air exclusively online. But I don't think Fox's relationship will be ending with the UFC anytime soon no matter how much money ESPN may throw at them. Dana White seems to be the type of person who respects loyalty.

4. Live Streaming From The Super Bowl - Back in 2011, I covered the amount of web streams which were taking place live from the Super Bowl in Dallas. With the big game taking place in New York this year, expect the amount of live streams available to be bigger than EVER. Many more companies are throwing Super Bowl parties/concerts/festivities etc. this year than in years past and I'm sure they'll be itching to live stream their events to showcase the athletes and celebrities who endorse their products.

Expect to be livestreaming the sights and sounds from New York. They have already sold advertising on their live stream and as the broadcast home of the big game, Fox will be doing as much as it can to promote Fox Sports as the new worldwide leader in sports both online and on television via FS1.

Other websites who will be live-streaming content from the Super Bowl:

  •, which will include interviews from radio row with various NFL Network personalities
  • OCNN, if Chad Ochocinco still works for them. NFL players who've been eliminated from the playoffs usually participate in press conferences and live stream content through OCNN
  •, where Chad Ochocinco works
  •, which will feature live streaming interviews with Mike Florio
  •, which will feature interviews from Yahoo Sports Radio
  • NFLPA, who normally live streams red carpet festivities from their annual Super Bowl party
  • UStream, which will feature live streams of radio row interviews from various radio stations nationally

Stay tuned to this page as we continue to update you on all the various live streams available to give you an all access pass to all the pandemonium surrounding a cold weather Super Bowl.

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