Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cable News Prime Time Predictions 2015

Last year, I made predictions about how the cable news prime time lineup would change in 2014. Here are the results:

  • Fox News: CORRECT. I predicted their lineup would stay the same in 2014 and it did.
  • MSNBC: WRONG. I predicted Lawrence O'Donnell would be out at 10 p.m. but no programming changes were made.
  • CNN: CORRECT. I predicted CNN's 2014 schedule would head for pandemonium and I was correct. The 9 p.m. show changed throughout the year to feature personalities such as Lisa Ling and Mike Rowe.
  • HLN: CORRECT. I also predicted that HLN's schedule would be headed for pandemonium and I was correct once again. JVM at 7 p.m. was cancelled while reality television and "Forensic Files" took a hold of the 10 p.m. timeslot.
  • CNBC: CORRECT. CNBC Prime was cancelled just as I said. It was replaced with "Shark Tank" and documentaries which the network has produced in the past.
  • FBN: CORRECT. There were rumors that "The Independents" would be cancelled but the show stayed in it's place and it's star even made it onto Fox News via a new panel show known as "Outnumbered."
  • Bloomberg: CORRECT. The network did not change ownership or it's primetime schedule.
  • AJA: INCORRECT. Ratings declined even more for the network, putting it's future in jeopardy.
  • Fusion: CORRECT. Jorge Ramos' interview with President Obama about immigration reform made headlines and the network gained carriage via DirecTV. Alicia Menendez's show was not moved to 9 p.m.
  • Vice: INCORRECT. Vice didn't take viewers away from anyone but they did gain major credibility during their live stream coverage of Ferguson and reached millions of viewers live and on-demand. Despite Murdoch's investment in the company, Fox News did not collaborate with Vice on any news coverage (But Fox and Vice did recently launch a film company together).
  • CBSN: INCORRECT. CBS used journalists from their news organization, rather than political operatives who appear often on cable news, to supply the online network with hosts.
  • Politico: INCORRECT. While increasing their video production online, the company did not delve into television.
Here are my predictions on how the networks will shape their prime time lineups in 2015 as well as how the network's overall programming will be formatted.

Everything will stay the same. If a change were to occur for some reason, I think Sean Hannity would be the person to go. I don't know why but it's a gut feeling. With that being said, I don't think it'll happen (I know, I'm double-speaking). Fox News will also remain number 1 in the ratings.

10 p.m. show will be replaced with documentaries. MSNBC will keep it's progressive slant but will also see an increase in entertainment programming such as concerts, comedy shows and live stunts. We'll also see MSNBC copy CNN's strategy of airing documentaries and unscripted shows but they will all come from a political perspective and will utilize celebrities. Peacock Productions will play a big role in MSNBC's revitalization and Phil Griffin will be given one more chance to pull the network out of it's slump. Luke Russert's show on Shift may get a promotion to MSNBC's weekend lineup and Meet the Press may launch shows around it's contributors which air on the weekend or on Shift as well. We may even see some TEDTalks air on the network.

Everything will stay the same. The network has finally found a short-term formula that works. Until they find something new or until election buzz picks up, expect CNN's programming schedule to stay the same. I expect other filmmakers like Andrew Jenks, Oliver Stone and Michael Moore to be added onto the 9 p.m. rotation. I also wouldn't be surprised if they (or MSNBC) pulled off a stunner and tried to bring Jon Stewart to the stable (his Comedy Central contract is expiring soon). Hambycast will also get a trial run on the network.

We already know their lineup will not be the same since they announced changes in January. So my prediction is that the changes won't work. I recently got the chance to watch a preview of one of their new "social" shows and I was personally entertained but I don't think the genre as a whole has enough of an audience to sustain growth for the network. The social media rebranding will end around this time next year and will be replaced by reality television shows from TruTV and CNN's stables. HLN will go up for sale and will be sold to a company looking for more carriage. CNN will use it's HLN's Atlanta studios to produce news aimed for digital audiences under the "Daily Share" brand which will be CNN's competitor to Newsy and NowThisNews.

"Shark Tank" reruns will be doubled. The show is CNBC's biggest primetime hit ever. I expect the network to increase the number of runs it gets and to utilize the show's stars even more during their daytime programming for analysis on business headlines. The show's success on CNBC could indirectly cause one of  the show's start to demand a salary increase and threaten to leave.

Everything will stay the same. Fox Business will break a major business or political story which will increase their credibility in the industry.

Everything will stay the same. I don't see their prime time lineup changing much. But I do think the network's new political duo of Heilmann and Halperin will break major political stories including whether or not Hillary Clinton is running for President.

More documentaries and films. This will be a make or break year for Al Jazeera America. They'll increase their documentary output and partner with online organizations and big filmmakers to bring the productions more clout. I also wouldn't be surprised to see the documentaries come from a point of view supportive of Qatar's reigning government. If ratings continue to flounder, AJA might be shut down and replaced with a simulcast of Al Jazeera English with programming inserts from their new online platform known as AJ+.

More documentaries and films. News programming hasn't worked out too well for Fusion. I think repackaged ABC News and Univision news reports together with ESPN 30 for 30 re-runs will take over the network's primetime lineup. Jorge Ramos and Alicia Menendez will continue to make noise and a presidential candidate will announce their candidacy in an interview which will air on Fusion, Univision and ABC.

A new 24/7 network on TV! History International will be transformed into a TV network for Vice which will debut in the fall and feature shows from Vice's vast library of shows. Vice News will have a major block of programming on the new network. I also wouldn't be surprised if Vice News eventually got a network of their own as time passes by.

  • The networks above alongside newspapers, apps and digital website will all delve into creating more personalized newscasts on mobile devices.
  • Facebook and ABC News will strengthen their relationship and increase the reach of ABC's videos.
  • ABC News' GoStream and Nightline video venture will help the network grow it's user base online.
  • NBC News will launch a streaming network similar to CBSN which is based around the "Today" and "Meet the Press" franchises.
  • HuffPostLive will find it's way on television in 2015
  • BuzzFeed will enter into a partnership with ABC News that benefits Fusion. They will also increase their live streaming videos.
  • Katie Couric's Yahoo broadcasts will also find their way onto television

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