Sunday, October 10, 2010

CNN's New Odd Couple

Kathleen Parker and Eliot Spitzer
Photo Credit: Art Streiber/CNN

Have you checked out CNN's new prime time offering, "Parker-Spitzer?"  The program wrapped up its first week on Friday night and already, some question how long the show will last.

For those of you who don't know, "Parker" is Kathleen Parker, the conservative Washington Post columnist; "Spitzer" is Eliot Spitzer, the liberal disgraced former governor of New York.

I watched half of the debut show last Monday, and was less than impressed.  Not so much because I think they don't have personalities-- they do.  But, they didn't appear to have mastery the TelePrompter, their crosstalk was often awkward and I didn't like the small table they sit at, almost on top of each other.  I also wasn't very interested in what they were discussing. Here are the "Opening Arguments" from Monday's show.

OMG!!! Hearing Parker use the phrase "for all of her good qualities" to describe Sarah Palin made me want to throw up!  And, it didn't matter that Parker was saying she doesn't think Palin could win a presidential election.  The fact that she likes Palin put Parker's intelligence in question with me.

Then, a few minutes later, blogger Andrew Breitbart showed up as a guest.  That really turned me off.  As if giving the time slot to a woman with no television experience and a man with no journalism experience, limited television experience and a lingering scandal cloud drifting nearby wasn't bad enough, CNN, "The Worldwide Leader in News," (that's the network slogan) invited a guy who makes up facts about people (the Shirley Sherrod story) to be a guest on the premier show.  I checked out at that point.

March 12, 2008: NY Gov. Eliot
Spitzer announces resignation.
Truth be told, I could care less about Eliot Spitzer's sex scandal.  What really bugs me is the fact that CNN decided to give a prime time slot to a non-journalist when there are any number of real journalists who are prepared and chomping at the bit for that type of opportunity.  Once again, a network executive-- in this case, the recently fired former president of CNN-US Jonathan Klein-- snubbed the hard work of real journalists who have spent years, decades even, honing a craft and preparing for an opportunity and handed the plum job to Spitzer on a silver platter.  Sadly, when a network does that, many local television stations across the country feel justified in making similar decisions under the guise of saving money.  But that's a separate discussion for one of my other sites.

The real benchmark for "Parker-Spitzer" will be how many people watch.  The winner is.... not this show.  Based on the overnight numbers, not many people tuned in.  Only 445,000 people saw the debut show according to Nielsen, the research company that measures television viewing.  That was well behind time-slot leading FOX News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor with 3.1 million viewers and MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" which drew 1.1 million viewers on Monday night.  At 445,000 viewers, the ratings for "Parker-Spitzer" were also lower than "Rick's List" which scored 570,000 viewers on what became host Rick Sanchez's final appearance on the show (CNN fired Sanchez the following day for remarks he made on a radio show) and "Campbell Brown" which was averaging 591,000 viewers before that show ended in May.  I agree with a friend who feels "Parker-Spitzer" won't last long.

What do you think? Chime In!

No comments:

Post a Comment