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This Morning

"Today" led with "Where in the World is Matt Lauer." "Early Show" led with Barack Obama's reaction to Rev. Wright. "GMA" led with Obama's reaction to Rev. Wright. "Washington Journal" hosted Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) and HHS Sec. Mike Leavitt.

How Low Can You Go?

"One week after setting a record low, with about" 5.39M viewers, CBS' "Evening News" had about 50K fewer viewers, averaging about 5.34M. The number is the lowest total for the newcast "since Nielsen research introduced its new rating system in" '87. Katie Couric's "ratings have been sliding since reports that she and the top management of CBS have held discussions about her future at the network" (Carter, New York Times, 4/30).


"To give you some perspective on" CBS' ratings, "that was a season low for 'American Inventor' last year." Couric "better invent a way to bring in more viewers soon, or no matter what [CBS chair] Les Moonves says, she's not long for this rodeo" ("Daily Intelligencer," New York Magazine, 4/29).

"He got the diagnosis that he could have had a fatal disease six weeks ago."
--Ex-WH press sec. Ari Fleischer, on Obama acting too slowly on the Wright issue, "Fox & Friends," FNC, 4/30.

When There's A Will(iams), There's A Way

Meanwhile, NBC's "Nightly News" was the most-watched network evening newscast, winning the week of 4/21. The Brian Williams-led newscast averaged 8.015M total viewers, 227K more than ABC's "World News"' 7.788M. "Among the key demographic adults 25-54, 'Nightly News' tied ABC with a 1.9 rating. CBS followed with a 1.3 rating" (release, 4/29).


Bring Me A High(er) Love

FNC will launch in High Definition (HD) beginning 5/1. "Initially available to Time Warner customers in select regions," the FNC HD "feed will be presented throughout the network's special election coverage," including the Dem and GOP nat'l convos (release, 4/29).

April Showers Bring Good Ratings

MSNBC finished Apr. '08 "as the only cable news net to show a viewership increase over last year" (342K vs. 333K). MSNBC "also showed the most growth in weekday primetime," up 9% in the 25-54 demo, while CNN dropped 9% and FNC dropped 14%. Moreover, Keith Olbermann's "Countdown" continues to beat Campbell Brown's "CNN Election Center" by 69% in the 25-54 demo and by 37% in total viewers (release, 4/29).

Taking Notes

Newt Gingrich was on the "Daily Show" last night.

Jon Stewart: "You were thinking about running for president in 2008. As you watch the candidates be slowly crushed, their dreams and hopes destroyed within the media crucible, the campaigning season draining every last bit of life out of these once vibrant and hopeful politicians, do you think to yourself, 'Oh, I wish that was me?'"


Gingrich: "Well, I currently am kind of studying the [John] McCain technique of standing to one side pleasantly while the other two destroy each other. That's an interesting style" (Comedy Central, 4/29).

For more of Gingrich's appearance, see today's Play of the Day.

Laugh Track

Jay Leno: "Well, the State Department announced today the most dangerous place in the world [is] no longer the Mideast, it is now between Reverend Jeremiah Wright and a microphone. That is the most dangerous. You will get trampled! I guess you heard, Barack Obama's former pastor, Reverend Wright, [is] now traveling the country trying to explain those controversial remarks he made in some of his sermons. And even Barack Obama is starting to admit it's hurting his campaign. In fact, you know what Barack Obama did today to distract reporters from Reverend Wright? [He] went bowling again. Okay, that's when you know. I think he did a 27. And, of course, the Republicans will not let this Reverend Wright controversy die. You know, they're trying to keep it in the news. Like, today they said for the wedding of President Bush's daughter, he's gonna be the minister. ... Just to kind of keep the story in there" ("Tonight Show," NBC, 4/29).

David Letterman: "Let me ask you a question. Are you sick and tired of the Democratic presidential primary? I mean, well, Hillary, of course, wants another debate. ... That's right. You heard me. Wants another debate. She says she got nothing more to say really. She just wants to show off a new pantsuit. And why not? But I mean, you think about it. The primary season is just dragging and dragging and dragging and the election is not for another three years. So last week Pennsylvania, next week, my home state of Indiana. Then North Carolina primaries. Then Canada. Right? And then on to Europe. The European primaries are coming up. How about that John McCain? There's a guy, right? John McCain is the guy, don't you think? I like John McCain. He looks like the kind of guy that walks into Circuit City and says, 'Do you have typewriter ribbons?'" ("Late Show," CBS, 4/29).

Stephen Colbert: "Nation, you know I believe Reverend Jeremiah Wright is a destructive force in this country. For instance, last month he destroyed our country's grand tradition of not talking about race by making Barack Obama talk about race for 45 minutes. Well, this week Wright has been on Bill Moyers, at the National Press Club, and at the NAACP saying the government played a part in the AIDS epidemic, that Farakhan is a great American, and most disturbingly, making this comparison between white and black marching bands [on screen: video of Wright comparing black and white marching bands]. ... That is so racist! That is so racist to exclude Chinese marching bands. ... Well today, a disgusted Senator Barack Obama broke with his pastor in no uncertain terms [on screen: Colbert quote parts of Obama's speech]. A clean break. ... We will have more on this Reverend Wright controversy as often as we can. Nation, I am sick and tired of all the jokes about John McCain's age. The only thing older than a McCain is old joke is John McCain. That guy is ancient. But there is so much more to the senator than his extreme age. He's also extremely superstitious. According to the Washington Times, John McCain always carries around a lucky penny, a lucky nickel, a lucky quarter, a lucky feather, a lucky compass and a lucky four leaf clover. The only unlucky thing around John McCain is the person behind him at airport security. Back during his 2000 run, when McCain once displaced his feather, there was a momentary panic in the campaign until his wife found it in one of his suits. At least he told her it was his lucky feather. He could have just been seeing some other tall blonde [on screen: photo of Cindy McCain next to Big Bird]. In addition, he won't take a salt shaker from a passer's hand. Also won't throw a hat on a bed. A lot of people don't know about that superstition, but it's an old saying from McCain's childhood: Throw a hat on the bed, woolly mammoth make you dead. Nation, I am 100% behind John McCain! No matter how old or superstitious he is, tonight I'm proud to unveil a banner showing my support [on screen: Colbert unveils a banner for McCain, 'McCain '08: The Luck Stops Here,' after opening an umbrella indoors and walking under a ladder]" ("Colbert Report," Comedy Central, 4/29).

Conan O'Brien: "A lot going on in the news, and I'm here to help. Former Governor Eliot Spitzer, you all remember him. He had a little problem not too long ago. He's back in the news, ladies and gentlemen. This is good news for me. Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer is reportedly gonna write a book about his hooker scandal. Apparently, that's true. That's what I hear, yeah. Yeah, the good news about Spitzer's book: apparently, it has a happy ending. ... Tomorrow night on Fox News, Hillary Clinton is gonna be making her first ever appearance on Bill O'Reilly's show, 'The O'Reilly Factor.' Yeah, Hillary should do well, 'cause she has years of experience yelling 'Shut up, Bill!' Today, President Bush gave a news conference about the economy, but he stubbornly refused to say the word 'recession.' He would not say the word 'recession.' Instead, President Bush said our country is headed towards something with three syllables that rhymes with refression. It was a game. It was nice. 'Us' magazine ... I like any story that starts with 'Us' magazine. 'Us' magazine, I was reading it today as I had my nails done. 'Us' magazine says that Nicole Richie has endorsed Barack Obama for president. Nicole Richie has endorsed Barack Obama. Richie said, 'I'd throw my weight behind him, but I don't have any'" ("Late Night," NBC, 4/29).

Jimmy Kimmel: "There are nine months left in office for President Bush, and he's keeping very busy. Today, he held a press conference to talk about the economy. It was a solid press conference for the president, he pronounced the word stimulus correctly almost every single time. He wouldn't come out and say there was a recession, but he did come out and say that he really doesn't care that much anymore. ... The president was also at the White House Correspondents' Dinner this weekend. He did a little comedy routine there, too. And, he grabbed the baton and conducted the Marine Corps band [on screen: video of Bush conducting the band]. The man leading that band is also leading this country. And I think he did a better job with the band. Barack Obama today was trying to get back some of the momentum that he had a couple of months ago by passionately denouncing his pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. That's the guy with the wacky YouTube videos. He has not been helping Barack very much. He has been shouting his mouth off in the media. And he's been hinting that Obama does agree with him, but won't say so. Also, he told the National Press Club yesterday that he believes the U.S. government may have invented AIDS. And on Sunday, he was the guest speaker at the NAACP dinner where he used marching bands to illustrate the differences between black people and white people" ("Jimmy Kimmel Live," ABC, 4/29).

                       HAVING SEX IN A MCDONALD'S

            10. Should I take her someplace more romantic
                like Applebee's?
             9. Am I going to get "The McClap"?
             8. Should we just stay in the car and have sex
                in the drive-thru?
             7. The rats won't mind, will they?
             6. Would she rather have had a "Whopper"?
             5. Is this what my dad meant when he said,
                "Go get a job at McDonald's"?
             4. Should I add fries and a soda for an extra
                99 cents?
             3. Can I tell my wife I was just getting a 
                "Happy Meal"?
             2. Should I see a psychiatrist?
             1. Is this going to hurt my wife's
                presidential campaign? (CBS, 4/29).


This article appears in the April 30, 2008 edition of Latest Edition.

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