NIP AND TUCK(ER)
MSNBC confirmed Monday that has canceled conservative commentator Tucker Carlson's talk show. David Gregory, chief White House correspondent for NBC News, will host a replacement show that will air weeknights beginning at 6:00 p.m. Carlson, meanwhile, will take on the assignment of "campaign correspondent," covering the current presidential race. Carlson had come to MSNBC from CNN, where he once was the cohost of Crossfire. NBC had evidently hoped that he would attract conservative viewers who have made Fox News Channel their preferred destination. However, Carlson's program not only failed to attract those viewers, it remained MSNBC's lowest-rated evening program.
SPITZER SCANDAL CATCHES CABLE NETS OFF-BALANCE
In their rush to cover the scandal involving New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, cable news networks stumbled Monday. In an item headed "Nets Take Spitzer Announcement the Old-Fashioned Way," the website TVNewser reported that Spitzer's New York office, where he delivered a one-minute apology, turned out to be too high (38th floor) to allow TV crews to send out a live picture without rigging up additional gear. As a result, they were only able to provide live audio coverage. Their recordings were then rushed down the elevators of the building and transmitted live from the street about ten minutes later. Immediately following Spitzer's statement, Fox News's Shepard Smith summed up: "He came in, he resigned and that was it." Except that wasn't it. Spitzer made no mention of the possibility of resigning. Moments later, Smith interrupted a discussion of the scandal to say, "Excuse me, I'm now told he did not resign in his statement." Adding to the confusion, Fox News later headlined, "N.Y. Gov. Eliot Spitzer Expected to Resign Later Today." He did not. TVNewser also pointed out that earlier in the day the business channels, CNBC, Fox Business Network, and Bloomberg were all on the air with the story -- sourcing the New York Times -- before the cable news channels and the broadcast networks. The TV coverage also sent hordes of people to the New York Timeswebsite to learn more details. The site was unable to accommodate the traffic surge -- and crashed.
MALONE AND DILLER SQUARE OFF IN DELAWARE COURT
Although numerous analysts had predicted that the dispute between billionaire media moguls Barry Diller and John Malone would never see the light of a courtroom and would be settled early on, a Delaware chancery judge began hearing testimony in the case on Monday. Malone was the first to take the witness stand, accusing Diller -- with whom he has had a nearly 15-year business relationship -- of trying to run IAC/InterActiveCorp without answering to its shareholders, chief of whom is Malone. "I think he believed that basically it was his company," Malone said. The Liberty Media chief claims that Diller had no right to spin off four major IAC businesses on terms that would cut in half Malone's voting rights in those businesses. Malone also acknowledged that by not negotiating a settlement and having to take their dispute to court, "we both have hurt ourselves a little bit."
GE CHIEF: NBC SALE "NOT HAPPENING"
GE Chairman Jeffrey Immelt has declared once again that his company has no intention of selling NBC-Universal. His remarks appear in the company's annual report following numerous print and online stories that GE will ditch the fourth-place network following the Olympics, which are likely to enhance the network's balance sheet. "Should we sell NBCU?" Immelt asked in his message to shareholders. "I just don't see it happening. Not before the Olympics, not after the Olympics. It doesn't make sense." His words were echoed by Credit Suisse analyst Nicole Parent, who told today's (Tuesday) New York Times, "It's very clear to sell an asset at the bottom doesn't make sense."