Monday, November 14, 2005

CNBC IN THE NEWS

CNN isn't the only cable network rumored to be making changes these days. CNBC is supposed to be getting ready this week to announce some daytime programming changes and shift a few people around. What it is, we'll know about soon. But they had better not go on a firing spree like CNN did; that'll just anger the CNBC fans. And they need to keep their paws off of Squawk Box, Mark Haines and the gang. Those guys have a cult following and the network brass had better not tamper with them, or they'll get inundated with letters and petitions and stuff. Just like what is happening to CNN after the Aaron Brown sacking. I read the CNN Fan boards and the fans are MAD, swearing off CNN in droves. At least CNBC hasn't gone about targeting their long-running shows or firing their top talents, not to the same extent anyway. Anyway, they had better stay away from Squawk Box.

As for the rest of the CNBC lineup, well, I think they do have to make some changes. They need to do something. CNBC's ratings are in the toilet, the good times are OVER. During the tech boom in the 90s CNBC was booming. Everyone was watching CNBC so they could daytrade and get rich. It was even beating CNN at one point. Then the tech boom crashed and CNBC went right in the tank. Nobody watches CNBC business coverage anymore because people have no money to invest and don't want to get burned again. Especially, nobody watches their primetime talk shows, anymore, either. The CNBC primetime has generally sucked ever since Geraldo left. Now the big thing on CNBC is reruns of The Apprentice, which I guess is better than showing new episodes of McEnroe, which was cancelled. Really, I'd say it's primetime that needs to be fixed the most. Daytime, though, will be hard. It's hard to get people to tune into business news, these days, period, because the '90s are over.

But business news does get some audience: lots of traders and rich people tune in, and Fox News is hot on CNBC's tail right now with their business news coverage so people are interested in doing this sort of programming. Fox News are still planning to launch their big business news channel- whenever. I'm convinced it'll eventually happen, though. So CNBC needs to keep on its toes.

I read on TVNewser that the changes at CNBC shouldn't be too drastic, that they plan to add some big names from print to their lineup of people. TVNewser was jokingly suggesting maybe Ashleigh Banfield was being considered, hee hee. (Actually, not much of a stretch for her, because she passed the Canadian Securities Course and comes from a financial family. But why should she return to an NBC operation--- wasn't she fired?)

Anyway I noticed a story on Jim Cramer on 60 Minutes the other day. Cramer is the host of Mad Money on CNBC, one of its highest rated shows. In fact, maybe that's the direction CNBC has to go: make the business shows more wild and entertaining. Cramer seems to do just that. What I found really interesting about the 60 Minutes story was who the reporter was: Dan Rather. Seems it was his first story since leaving as anchor of the Evening News. It also looked like he sort of mailed it in; it was just Dan Rather doing a straightforward, one-on-one profile piece. Maybe he's slowing down. Or something.

Also, here's a New York Daily News story on Maria Bartiromo, aka the Money Honey.

UPDATE: Here's a story on the details of the changes, which are all happening to the morning part of the schedule. Squawk Box is expanding an hour and Mark Haines will be hosting from a new studio at the NYSE during the 9AM portion of the show, and they have a new 3-person anchor team the rest of the time. Both Joe Kernan and David Faber will still be on the broadcast, which should be good news for the CNBC fans.

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