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The Insider

Jan 12, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Another twig has sprouted on the Schwarzenegger branch of the extended NBC family tree. Mike Murphy, a hot-hot-hot Republican campaign strategist (for Sen. John McCain’s 2000 presidential bid, among many others) has been hired as consulting producer on “Dennis Miller.” The first test installment of the hour-long show will tape Tuesday, Jan. 13, in its Burbank, Calif., studio in preparation for joining CNBC’s prime-time lineup at 9 p.m. Monday, Jan. 26.
Mr. Murphy’s most recent gig was as an adviser to Arnold Schwarzenegger in his successful bid for the California governor’s office. There have been reports that Mr. Murphy declined an offer to become chief of staff for Gov. Schwarzenegger, who has been a very special guest on “The Tonight Show,” and who is, of course, the husband of “Dateline NBC” anchor and correspondent Maria Shriver. While Ms. Shriver’s news, first-lady and spousal roles-and their potential for personal and professional conflicts-are still under discussion at the network, at CNBC no such questions are being considered, because Mr. Miller has made clear that his show, however political, will not be partisan.
“I’m very excited about the show and quite delighted to be working on it,” said Mr. Murphy, who has moved from Washington to California and who describes Mr. Miller as a friend. “I think the show will be entertaining, funny, provocative and smart. It will have plenty of viewpoints showcased, from all sides of the political spectrum.”
Though a low-profiler on the social circuit, Mr. Murphy told The Insider he will attend the Jan. 21 cocktail party CNBC President and CEO Pamela Thomas-Graham is hosting in Washington.
`Listening’ To Foreign News
In the Tyndall Report’s year-end collation of trends on the Big 3 networks’ flagship newscasts in 2003, there was an interesting shift in the category of foreign-datelined stories, where “ABC World News Tonight” has tended to dominate. In 2003 “CBS Evening News,” which tended to rank second over the past 15 years, was first. “World News” dropped to third. “NBC Nightly News,” which seemed to own deep third place, moved up to a competitive second.
A 16-month-old occasional feature dubbed “Listening Post,” in which viewers hear and see how Americans are perceived elsewhere in the world, has made at least a modest contribution to “Nightly’s” improvement.
“It fits in perfectly with the post-9/11 world” in which “`foreign news’ is not a dirty word anymore,” said “Nightly News” executive producer Steve Capus. And when “Nightly” viewers register an aversion to hearing “those horrible things about my president,” Mr. Capus said, “our response is, `That’s exactly why you need to hear it. To ignore it is even worse.”’