The Insider

Jul 28, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Since The Insider has been, from the get-go in 1992, a member of the cult that worships “World News Now,” the seriocomic overnight newscast that gives ABC News bragging rights to the insomniac news audience, she took it upon herself to administer a pop test to David Muir, who signed off last week after three years as reporter and anchor at WCVB-TV in Boston and will sign on as “WNN” co-anchor in the wee hours of Aug. 11. He passed.
He doesn’t know the lyrics to the “World News Polka”-The Insider’s favorite passage is “It’s late at night/You’re wide awake/And you’re not wearing pants/So grab your `World News Now’ mug/And everybody dance!”-but said, “I have been fully warned that I must become a master.” (He is not a master of the accordion, either, and notes in self-defense that “Somehow they didn’t ask me that at ABC.”) Asked to name the founding anchors of “WNN,” he quickly replied Aaron Brown, now anchoring CNN’s “NewsNight” but, like many folk, needed prompting to recall the name of Lisa McRee.
He doesn’t know the secret to the National Temperature Index, “But I do know that a lot of the viewers want it brought back.” And, “I love the bus count.” (The hard-core “WNN” audience counts the number of buses seen in the background of BBC’er Julia Caesar’s business reports from London.)
Mr. Muir not only has done his homework and scoured the active “WNN” message board, but he believes so strongly in responding to viewers that he actually maintained e-dialogues with Boston viewers while he was deployed to the Middle East to report on the war in Iraq.
He was writing “a stack” of thank-you notes on his last day at WCVB, where colleagues toasted and roasted him with a ceremony that included a tune and a tape focused on his hair. It wasn’t, he said, anything like the “cavalcade of hair” reel with which Liz Cho departed “WNN” for the anchor desk at WABC-TV in New York this summer.
“They ribbed me,” he said, “and sent me on my way with a smaller head.” But a head on straight, which ought to put him in good stead with his new audience.
Its eighth year will be CNNfn’s first year in the black. That is the confident expectation at CNNfn, where the black ink started flowing in the first quarter and continued in the second quarter and where distribution has grown 50 percent to 26 million subscriber homes in the past two years. With the debut this year of “The Flip Side” and “Your Money,” the channel continues to take incremental steps toward the 2-year-old goal of rebranding as CNN Money with a personal-finance focus. Turning a profit is likely to put some $pring in those incremental steps.