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This Morning

"Today" led with WH '08, hosted Clinton chair Terry McAuliffe and featured a taped interview with Cindy McCain. "Early Show" led with emergency aid arriving in Myanmar and hosted McAuliffe. "GMA" led with WH '08 and hosted Clinton comm. dir. Howard Wolfson. "Washington Journal" hosted Reps. Joe Sestak (D-PA), Jack Kingston (R-GA) and Tim Ryan (D-OH), and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK).

If At First You Don't Succeed...

Dan Rather has filed an amended lawsuit against CBS that says other TV nets refused to hire him because of the "damage" that CBS execs. did to his reputation after his "disputed" '04 report on Pres. Bush.


Rather atty Martin Gold said new papers were filed because a judge said in Apr. that the initial lawsuit "did not specify how CBS injured Rather in his occupation." Gold said the new papers, filed 5/7 in NYC's state Supreme Court, "detail the injuries that Rather claims."

Rather says he met with CNN, ABC, and NBC in '06 to talk about employment after his departure from CBS, "but they refused to hire him because he brought 'too much baggage.'" However, Rather said that when he met CNN officials in '97, they offered him $6M/year to work for them. "He said issues with his CBS contract, plus CBS' proposed match of CNN's offer, caused him to stay where he was." And in a spring '06 meeting, court papers say, Rather met again with CNN execs. and with ABC and NBC reps. "None would consider him, saying in various ways that the Bush story had generated too much controversy."

CBS replied by saying: "Mr. Rather is trying to put forth fraud complaints that the court has already determined to be legally unfounded. We believe he will fail a second time. We will file an appropriate motion to dismiss" (Maull, AP, 5/7).


"We have a little asterisk saying 'We're pretty sure this time.'"
--Time's Richard Stengel, on the cover of Time showing a picture of Obama with the text "And the winner is ...", "Morning Joe," MSNBC, 5/8.

Thurzzzday Ratingzzz Buzzz

For the week of 5/4, NBC's "Meet the Press" won with a 3.2 rating/10 share and 4.346M viewers. ABC's "This Week" and CBS' "Face the Nation" both had a 2.1 rating/6 share, but "This Week" had 2.897M viewers and "Face the Nation" had 2.846M viewers. "Fox News Sunday" garnered a 1.1/3 and 1.453M viewers (Hotline sources, 5/8).

In A New York State Of Mind

NBC Univ. announced 5/7 "plans to start a 24-hour local cable news channel similar to New York 1. It will de-emphasize the identity of NBC's flagship station, WNBC, Channel 4, rechristening it a 'content center' and making it one part of a larger media presence." In addition to NY, the new channel will include coverage of NJ and CT. NBC also announced "a plan to relocate its non-NBC operations, including the main offices of cable channels like USA and Bravo, out of the" NBC HQ at 30 Rockefeller Center in NYC (Carter, New York Times, 5/8).

Not So Special

On 5/5, MSNBC debuted "The New York Times Special Primary Edition" (see 5/6 "Media Monitor"). The show's premier was "not great." According to Nielsen, the new show "finished fourth among cable news networks in the 2 pm slot" (Gillette, "Media Mob," New York Observer, 5/7).


Music To Her Ears

The Detriot News chatted with NPR's Renee Montagne, who has co-hosted "Morning Edition" since '04. Some highlights:

Montagne, asked why "Morning Edition" draws a big audience: "Public radio generally, and NPR and local news stations ... are successful because there are a lot of smart people out there, people who hunger for real information against a backdrop of commercial news."

On reports that Paul McCartney was one of her favorite interviews: "It was at the Staples Center (in L.A.). ... [McCartney] was already 10 minutes late after the soundcheck. ... Suddenly we hear this song coming from behind the curtains. It started to pick up -- it was 'Don't Walk Away, Renee.' It goes on for a long time, and I finally figured out, it's Paul McCartney and he's singing! ... He was very sweet, he then gave us 35 minutes, because he got very engaged."

Asked if she gets "a lot of flak from liberal blogs about NPR leaning more to the right": "Most of the letters we get fall into two camps, 'You favor Hillary Clinton,' or the other batch of letters, 'You favor Barack Obama'" (Whitall, Detriot News, 5/8).

Middle-Aged White Men Can't Jump

Contra Costa Times' Barney writes, if CBS decides to "dump" "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric, "they'll slip back into play-it-safe mode and install another middle-aged white guy."

"It's mind-boggling to think that in local television markets all over the country we have a variety of anchors of all colors and both sexes, while the national level fails to approach that kind of diversity. Even more mind-boggling: At a time when we're flirting with the possibility of voting in a black or woman" as POTUS, "most of the major anchors covering the race" are, again, "middle-aged white guys" (5/8).

Laugh Track

Jay Leno: "Yesterday, Barack Obama soundly beat Hillary Clinton in North Carolina by 14 points. And in Indiana, Hillary Clinton won. So you know what this means? No, neither do I. And I don't care anymore. I'm fed up. ... I don't care who wins. Can we end this stupid thing? Well, you know what's interesting. The experts say, if you do the math, there's no way Hillary Clinton can win the nomination. And today, Hillary responded by saying, 'People who do math are elitist.' You know, they use that word a lot in the election, 'elitist.' Here's my question. Didn't elite used to be a good thing? I mean, if you were elite, didn't that mean the best? 'Oh, no. We don't want anybody [who's] elitist. God forbid we should have decent people doing this.' And they say the Clinton campaign is out of money, and today, Republicans said, 'How much do you need?' Yeah, not looking good for Hillary. Today, even Yogi Berra said, 'It's over.' And you can tell Barack Obama is feeling confident. Did you see what he did this afternoon? Did you see what he did today? He went bowling with his former pastor, Reverend Wright. ... That's confidence. ... This is kind of interesting. Hillary Clinton said, in an interview with George Stephanopoulos Sunday night, that Rush Limbaugh has always had a crush on her. What is it with the Clintons and their magical power over chubby people? What is it? Chubby people can't resist them. ... And President Bush has offered to help Myanmar. I guess it used to be called Burma. That's where they had that terrible cyclone, where thousands of people were killed as the country was hit by a devastating cyclone. In fact, Bush offered to help the country under one condition, 'Don't tell New Orleans" ("Tonight Show," NBC, 5/7).

David Letterman: "This thing just grinds on and on. Barack Obama won in North Carolina. Hillary Clinton barely won in my home state in Indiana, and again, we're hearing that the Clinton campaign is in financial trouble. They need money, desperately need money. And as a matter of fact, to raise money, earlier today. Hillary Clinton entered a wet pantsuit contest. That's just what I heard. Hey, you know who is getting married this weekend? One of the Bush sisters. Jenna Bush is getting married this weekend at her father's place in Crawford, Texas. And this is no surprise: the $2 billion ice sculpture contract went to Halliburton. But it's a big deal. I mean, when there's a family wedding, I mean, it's great, isn't it? Everybody gets in the big family wedding spirit, and everybody is helping out with the big Jenna Bush wedding. As a matter of fact right now, right now, Dick Cheney is waterboarding the groom" ("Late Show," CBS, 5/7).

Jon Stewart: "Senator John McCain is going to be joining us tonight, right here. ... In the meantime, while the Republican nominee is backstage gorging himself on fun-sized Milky Ways in our green room, it seems appropriate to focus on his possible opponents this fall in tonight's 'Indecision '08: The Long, Flat, Seemingly Endless Bataan Death March to the White House.' Last night's 400th and 401st primaries took place in Indiana and North Carolina. And if you thought the only possibilities were Obama wins two, Clinton wins two, or they split, you didn't have seven hours of cable news time to kill [on screen: cable news coverage of speculation the primaries would be a split decision, and what the margins would be between Obama and Clinton]. ... Senator Clinton faced the unenviable task of delivering a victory speech in front of a news banner suggesting otherwise [on screen: CNN banner that announces Obama the winner of NC and IN 'too close to call']. You didn't need sound to ascertain the results. The former president's face told the sad, uncomfortably red story. Were they under a french fry lamp? [on screen: Bill Clinton with a very red face]. That can't be good. He's the former president ... and I've asked this before: Is he self-basting? Meanwhile, a jubilant Obama carried the victory in North Carolina by enormous black voter turnout, felt confident enough to turn his focus to the general election. Task one: removing all visual evidence of his enormous black voter turnout from behind him [on screen: Obama giving his speech, with older, white voters standing behind him in the crowd]. Task two: address concerns that an unpatriotic elitist can't win the big states [on screen: more from Obama's speech, with him talking about the America he loves]. ... The America where I'm up 14 points. Not too crazy about America when I'm down by eight. I'm looking at you, Pennsylvania. That America's reeeally getting on my nerves. Both Senators Clinton and Obama went out of their way in their speeches to be gracious and conciliatory to one another, leaving cable networks no choice but to fill the rancor gap [on screen: coverage of pundits and anchors fighting, specifically on CNN]. ... Meanwhile, over at Fox News, the announcers approached their work with the grim distaste of Yankees announcers forced to cover a World Series Red Sox game [on screen: Brit Hume and other Fox News hosts discussing the outcome of the NC and IN primaries]. Wow! ... But perhaps no newsman suffered more than CNN's John King, whose early touch-screen magic devolved into a sad tale of obsession and, yes, madness! [on screen: CNN's John King drawing on the Magic Wall]. Must resist urge to draw penis and balls. Sure, it's the congressional district" ("Daily Show," Comedy Central, 5/7).

Stephen Colbert: "We could all use bodyguards, folks, because terrorism is still a danger out there. And the most successful tool to fight it is the Terrorist Watch List. And how do we know the watch list is working? Because the watch list is now up to 755,000 names! Hopefully, we will soon hit our target number of everyone. But, unfortunately, some extremist coddlers out there are trying to get one well-known terrorist off the list: Nelson Mandela [on screen: photo of Mandela]. Oh, oh, you can sense the menace in those eyes. Back in the 1970's, Mandela's organization, the African National Congress, was declared a terrorist group by the apartheid government of South Africa. America, of course, had to follow suit, because the ANC was trying to bring down their own government, which is the same reason all Democrats should be put on the Terrorist Watch List! But now, even Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wants Mandela removed from the list, saying his inclusion is 'frankly, a rather embarrassing matter.' Yeah, it does seem strange that the Secretary of State can't get a Nobel Prize winner off the list. Unless Condi's on the list, too. After all, she knew bin Laden was determined to attack the United States and did nothing. Hmm, curious" ("Colbert Report," Comedy Central, 5/7).

Conan O'Brien: "Of course, another two primaries yesterday. That's the big story. Very tough night for Hillary Clinton, as you're aware. Hillary Clinton says she isn't dropping out, 'cause there are still six states that haven't had their Democratic primary. That's right. Barack Obama's favored in the states of Oregon, Montana and South Dakota, and Hillary is favored in the state of denial. ... Speaking of Hillary, this week on the campaign trail, 'cause she's talking a lot, all the candidates are talking about their past. Hillary Clinton told supporters her first job was as a babysitter. Meanwhile, Bill Clinton told supporters his first time was with a babysitter. So it worked out" ("Late Night," NBC, 5/7).

Jimmy Kimmel: "One thing about getting eliminated on 'American Idol,' you have to leave. Unlike the race for president, where Hillary Clinton won't. After last night she now has almost no chance of winning the Democratic nomination, but she's still in it. She says she is staying in this race until the bitter end, or at least until Bill takes the sock off the door handle at their house" ("Jimmy Kimmel Live," ABC, 5/7).

      10. They're rerunning forecasts from 2004.
       9. Weathercasters giggle every time they say,
          "ball lightning."
       8. Hours of programming devoted to footage of
          clouds that look like monkeys.
       7. Watercooler talk includes hilarious comments
          like, "Doppler. I don't even know her."
       6. Long range forecast -- "Winter: Cold, Summer:
       5. CEO was caught selling anemometers out of the
          trunk of his car.
       4. Smiling graphic on the sun is giving the finger.
       3. From 6pm to midnight it's just a guy making wind
          noises with his mouth.
       2. They don't have a single magician on this week.
       1. Satellite shot always seems to catch Jennifer
          Aniston sunbathing (CBS, 5/7).


This article appears in the May 8, 2008 edition of Latest Edition.

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