How did ‘Hambycast’ Become a Thing?

TVNewser’s Mark Joyella headlined a review of it “CNN Had 24 Reporters on Election Night, But Did Better With Just One Reporter and a Pizza”

TVNewser’s Mark Joyella headlined a review of it “CNN Had 24 Reporters on Election Night, But Did Better With Just One Reporter and a Pizza.” WaPo’s Chris Cillizza said via Twitter “It’s the best thing about CNN these days.” And Politico’s Dylan Byers declared “If you’re a 20/30-something you should probably be watching [it].” So, how did CNN’s “Hambycast” become a thing?

It all started one year ago — President Obama’s fifth State of the Union.

“We wanted to create something unique for the digital audience — not just another anchored live stream,” said Andrew Morse, the CNN honcho credited as the driving force behind the Peter Hamby programming.

“We’ve just stripped away much of the artifice that linear TV often requires to give viewers an organic, digital experience,” he added.

In addition to a live webcast for major political events, it’s now a weekly video series and arguably one of the most defining brands of the new CNN — a network evolving under the fresh leadership of execs like Morse, Ed O’Keefe, Chris Berend, Rachel Smolkin… and, of course, Jeff Zucker.

CNN’s new brass is betting big on both digital and Hamby.

“Peter is the real deal. He broke major news on the campaign trail in 2012 and we expect the same from him this time around,” boasted Morse in an interview with FishbowlDC. “Political players inside and outside the beltway are paying attention to what he says.”

With Zucker, Morse and others counting on him to reach new audiences, is it too much pressure at just 33-years old?

“There’s no pressure because it’s intuitive, authentic and fun,” Hamby told FBDC.  “It’s what I’d be doing in my natural state — something my friends and peers who are into politics would like.”

And maybe that’s the secret to his success. Either way, Peter Hamby is back for his second State of the Union with a live Hambycast tonight — complete with call-in hotline. Guests include Emily’s List Communications Director Jess McIntosh, America Rising’s executive director Tim Miller, and American Bridge 21st Century’s president, Rodell Mollineau. The live stream starts at 8:30 on CNN.com.