With all due respect to Cypress Hill, it’s definitely “Usain In The Membrane” — right? Love watching Usain Bolt run the Men’s Olympic 200m Semi-Final. Why? For a numbe...
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As I watched Anny Curry's tearful goodbye on Today, I had a thought; This sudden dismissal could well backfire for NBC.
Here's why. It's a bit of a pr disaster. Ann's dismissal, cuz that's what it is, happened in warp-speed. Her wounds are incredibly raw. Salt was not only poured on them, it was rubbed in, too.
Take it from someone who has done thousands of hours of live tv, there's nothing more dangerous (and makes executives incredibly nervous) than putting a talent who's nerves/emotions are raw on live television. Not only that, a talent who didn't want to go. A talent who called it her "dream job.". Now, in front of millions, Ann Curry had to say goodbye. It is a recipe for disaster or good tv.
Ann handled it as I knew she would. Emotional. Honest. She's too nice to take a shot across the bow at NBC, but she did have her moments. Subtle and well done.
But, back to why this may backfire for NBC. The network clearly removed Ann from Matt's side because, for all intents and purposes, Good Morning America beat Today on Ann's watch. She's the only difference in the past year. So, it had to be her, right? I'm not so sure. (Read yesterday's post) Net-Net, pure and simple, it's ratings.
So, this move by NBC is to stabilize and bolster ratings. However, with this messy handling of Ann Curry, with many viewers feeling she was kicked to the curb in a way not befitting someone who gave so many years to the show, NBC could turn off a number of loyal viewers. LOYAL viewers. Many felt Ann was incredibly loyal to NBC (arguably to a fault) and that loyalty was disrespected in the manner of her dismissal.
Ironically, those ratings NBC was trying to save, it may have just kicked to the curb.
CNN is in big trouble. No ratings. Seriously, it's laughable. Ratings dip to all-time or near all-time lows consistently and now the network is falling to third, behind Fox News and MSNBC, repectively. Globe trotting 'No Reservations' star Anthony Bourdain is leaving Travel Channel for CNN. That won't happen until 2013. As long as CNN let's Anthony be Anthony (i.e the reason why CNN wooed him in the first place), it is a smart move. Networks are notorious for 'over-producing'. Over-producing rarely produces 'real moments', you know, the moments we are all talking about the next day? BTW--Boudain's move to CNN can't happen soon enough.
Among many problems at CNN, a few standout as obvious, but possibly tough for them to correct. Too many chiefs. It takes FOREVER to move on creative. The visual most have in the industry of CNN is that it is this lumbering, slow-to-react entity (not in breaking news, of course). To push anything thru from the outside (and internally as well) takes more than an act of God. Buddha may have even given up. But it's not merely reactionary, is 'actionary'. Taking risks and having a singular, clear-message from the top is key. Employees will rally around a clear message. If the message has to filter through too many managers, it gets lost and is less focused. I know a number of people who do not even attempt to pitch the network with new show ideas anymore. On the talent side, I think the ratings, mixed with programming, speak volumes.
However, make no mistake, there many, many talented people at CNN. Give them a singular mantra and leadership that can be reached directly and their talents (and morale) will soar. Ratings will follow.
Now, start peeling away the layers CNN. Peel away.