The Insider

Jul 15, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Of crawls and other movement at CNN
The Insider plans to turn a keen eye toward CNN over the next few days, because she hears there’s a new-style crawl scheduled to debut soon. The Insider is a pitiful excuse for a multitasker. Asking her to read (and comprehend) and hear (and comprehend) unrelated content simultaneously is like asking the ubiquitous Lou Dobbs to leave a little oxygen in the atmosphere for the rest of us. Ain’t never gonna happen. But if the gossip is true-and when is the last time you heard gossip that wasn’t true?-the new CNN crawl will run a bit more slowly.
Perhaps there is hope for The Insider, who wasn’t even quick enough to catch Chris Myers (ESPN, USA Network and Fox Sports Net) in action as part of “American Morning” anchor Paula Zahn’s crew. Mr. Myers was gone after one day and suddenly Atlanta-based CNN veteran Leon Harris was in New York to share the “American Morning” set with Ms. Zahn. Word is that a new member of the “American Morning” ensemble is expected to be designated within a few weeks and that Anderson Cooper, who won new fans filling in for Aaron Brown on “NewsNight,” will be freed for higher-profile assignments. Word also is that the search for an “American Morning” executive producer is narrowing.
Caption them winners
Who needs high-priced sitcom writers to pen punch lines when you’ve got witty readers who appreciate the irony in a smiling CBS “Late Show” host David Letterman being interviewed on ABC by Ted Koppel, who would have lost his “Nightline” slot to Mr. Letterman had ABC succeeded in luring Mr. Letterman away from CBS?
“Why is this man smiling?” asked the headline on last week’s item in which The Insider asked readers to do what ABC had not done when it released the photo (helpfully repeated above) to promote the July 8 debut of “Nightline”-produced “Up Close”: Supply captions. Readers did just that.
The names have been truncated and/or omitted where requested, but The Insider struck up e-conversations to assure herself that these are real submissions by real people. “Really, Ted, I would’ve taken the deal. But I found out I had to use your hair stylist, too!” were the words put in the mouth of Mr. Letterman by someone who wished to be identified only as Jerry.
“Boy, you just don’t get it, do ya, Ted?” suggested Mike Tarrolly of WTVO-TV in Rockford, Ill.
“So tell me, Dave. Was the fact that you had to move your show to that failing new California park in Anaheim the real reason you said `no’ to ABC?” was submitted by Al Lutz, editor of Mouseplanet.com.
Jack Hansen of Sioux Falls, S.D., imagined Mr. Letterman telling Mr. Koppel: “Of course I’m happy. With the check you sent me and the CBS bump, I’m incredibly wealthy!”
James Sayer, Department of Communications chair at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, had Mr. Letterman telling Mr. Koppel: “Howdy Doody, you made me a $31 million man!”
This was so much fun, The Insider might have to do it again.
Kimmel finds affiliates’ soft spot
Speaking of ABC late-night and comedy and the “Up Close” time slot that is Mr. Koppel’s only until Jimmy Kimmel debuts in late January, ladies and germs, Mr. Kimmel, star of Comedy Central’s “The Man Show,” clearly has decided that the way to an affiliate’s heart is through his or her funnybone.
Or lower.
At the ABC affiliates meeting last week in Chicago, Mr. Kimmel declared he was there to kiss the backsides of affiliates, starting with that of Dick Warsinske, general manager of KOMO-TV, the Fisher Broadcasting-owned affiliate in Seattle.
Mr. Kimmel teed up first on Mr. Warsinske because “my last name seemed funnier than most,” said the Seattle executive. Mr. Warsinske said Mr. Kimmel “had the whole place laughing hard,” but numerous affiliates noted that they still have no clue about what they should expect from the Kimmel show.
Mr. Warsinske hasn’t made up his mind either way on the Kimmel clearance, but he said he applauds ABC for trying something different from Bill Maher’s “Politically Incorrect,” which ended its ABC run in June. “`Politically Incorrect’ was never a strong show,” he said. “If I can get a 2 rating in key demos, that would be a helluva lot better than we’ve been doing” in the late-night slot.