Firstly, does anyone actually watch Campbell Brown’s “No Bias, No Bull” on CNN? I’m guessing most people on this blog watch Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, Sean Hannity — either for serious or for giggles — Bill O’Reilly or absolutely nothing because you hate them all.
Or maybe you’re like me and you’re watching “Ugly Betty” or the “Lost” repeat with the obvious pop-ups or something.
I always saw No Bias, No Bull as the world’s most unnecessary show (with the most ludicrious title), largely because Brown is kind of boring to me … Just like Paula Zahn was and CNN doesn’t seem to know how to nurture a proper polemic, even a so-called unbiased one.
But if you watch CNN you may have noticed that Brown is super pregnant and will be taking a leave of absence. With that leave, CNN has finally decided to free TV commentator/host/pundit/personality Roland Martin from the “Pundit Plantation” and have him sub for Brown.
I thought Martin, who was signed by CNN but has barely been used by the network (other than one special and some Obama-based, election punditry), was going to end up in that same closet where they keep Soledad O’Brien, but now Martin will get his chance to helm a show and possibly later, get his own show, if things go well.
But some are wondering if he’s the man for the job.
Some especially loud squawkers at Media Bistro’s TVNewser are asking how Martin, who became an Obama partisan during the campaign, will be Mr. “No Bias, No Bull” for CNN? (They also claim he once supported both Bushes. Can anyone verify that? Roland? Roland, you out there? Did you actually support both Bushes? If so, that’s some 180 degree turn! The Bushes and Obama don’t agree on anything!)
But I digress …
After the news about Martin’s appointment yesterday, Politico’s Michael Calderone wrote about a CNN staffer who, “said a couple weeks back that they didn’t expect Martin because he’s regarded as a partisan, while Brown’s show is billed as a non-partisan alternative to her 8pm competitors, Keith Olbermann and Bill O’Reilly.”
A CNN spokesperson put it this way to TVNewser: “Can Roland Martin — who has been a journalist for 20 years and has supported both democrats and republicans — offer common sense and a broad range of opinions when he subs for Campbell for a couple of months? Yes — watch the show in April.”
But seriously, if the show is “No Bias, No Bull,” how will Martin fit? And is this to make up for that terrible show they gave D.L. Hughley that is STILL ON THE AIR? (Does “Chocolate News” appears to be dead, yet Hughley soldiers on? Bizarre.)
Naturally, the cries of bullshit have already begun, with one commenter jumping down both CNN and Martin’s throats: “They will need to change the show to an hour of ‘Total Bull and Bias w/ Roland Martin’ Why is CNN referring to Martin as a journalist? He’s a commentator. He has as much credibility as a journalist as Sean Hannity.”
I’m not going to go THAT far. C’mon, Hannity? That dude is a total ass (on purpose). Martin just has a touch of the ego. He’s not an asshat. Martin once called me to task for labeling him as an Obama partisan BEFORE he actually came out as an Obama partisan (real smooth, buddy). I think he’s fully capable of being professional and reigning it in (much as Campbell, who is married to a prominent Republican consultant/TV pundit, didn’t go off on RNC screeds and caused McCain staffer Tucker Bounds to self-combust on live TV once).
But will you watch the show?
According to TV By The Numbers, Campbell’s show was being slaughtered by the competition. She can’t even beat out friggin’ Nancy “Missing White Woman of the Week” Grace on CNN’s Headline News. The O’Reilly Factor is still the clear ratings getter with Olberman’s Countdown, then Grace’s show in third and Brown, not even cracking one million viewers last week, in fourth place.
Safe to say, she’s no Maddow.
Industry insiders are yakking that CNN needs to makes some “big decisions” about their primetime line-up. While FOX News and MSNBC experienced double-digit percentage gains in February, CNN is finally coming down from their election highs.
(C)able has moved in the direction of programs centered on a host with strong views, and it’s apparent that viewers became used to them during the campaign and stuck around for the start of the Obama administration.
“Those of us who have strong personalities in prime time are going to do better at this,” said Phil Griffin, MSNBC’s chief executive.
MSNBC is ESPECIALLY pleased that their audiences for Olbermann and Maddow continue to grow. FOX News is crowing that they will only thrive under the Obama Administration, and have the numbers to back that up.
“The game has changed,” (MSNBC’s Pat Griffin) said. “The news game is on cable. We are still in an interesting, important time when people are glued to what’s going on … The voices they hear on cable are the ones they’ve come to identify with.”
MSNBC’s prime-time weekday average of 1.16 million viewers in February was up from 881,000 last year. Fox’s average of 2.84 million is up from 2.22 million in 2008. CNN’s average dropped from 2.04 million last year to 1.37 million this year, Nielsen said. CNN argues last year’s numbers were inflated because they included three exclusive presidential debates the network sponsored; take out those three nights and the average was 1.47 million.
Larry King’s audience is up this year, but viewership dropped for “Anderson Cooper 360.” And CNN’s 8 p.m. hour, now hosted by Campbell Brown; last year it had rotating hosts as “Election Center.”
So now what? Will you turn off Keith (or O’Reilly, I don’t know what turns you on) to watch Roland take a stab at it? And if CNN gave Roland his own show, would you watch that too?