Morning Media Newsfeed: CNN Originals Debut Strong | ABC News Ups Vega, Llamas

CNN originals post big Sunday debuts. Vega, Llamas named weekend World News anchors. These stories and more in today's Morning Media Newsfeed

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CNN’s Two New Original Programs Have Strong Debuts (TVNewser)
CNN’s two new original series, Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery and The Wonder List With Bill Weir, both debuted Sunday night as the No. 1 cable news programs in their timeslots, among both total viewers and the key adult 25-54 demo. Deadline At 9 p.m., the Finding Jesus episode averaged 1.139 million viewers — 80 percent bigger than Fox News’ crowd of 634,000 and 314 percent better than MSNBC’s 275,000. Finding Jesus’ following in the news demo was 371,000 strong, while Fox News and MSNBC attracted 111,000 apiece, according to fast stats. THR Jesus now ranks as CNN’s second-biggest original series opening behind 2014’s The Sixties. CNN also debuted The Wonder List Sunday night. Though it lost much of its lead-in and boasted a much more narrow margin of victory over its cable news contemporaries, it brought in a solid 706,000 viewers and 294,000 adults 25-54. CNN Fox News trailed with 603,000 and MSNBC had 312,000. Among adults 25-54, the Weir-led program also ranked first with 294,000, 99 percent more than Fox News’ 148,000 and a 133 percent advantage over MSNBC’s 126,000. The Wonder List also saw the most growth among cable news in the time period vs. the prior four Sundays, increasing 122 percent in total viewers (706,000 vs. 318,000) and 160 percent in adults 25-54 (294,000 vs. 113,000). Mediaite As he’s done in the past with shows like Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, CNN president Jeff Zucker is taking advantage of the typically low-rated Sunday night cable news schedules in order to outperform the competition. While CNN is showing big, event premieres on Sunday night, Fox and MSNBC are mostly airing lightly promoted, repackaged specials.

Cecilia Vega, Tom Llamas Named Weekend World News Tonight Anchors (TVNewser)
ABC News correspondents Cecilia Vega and Tom Llamas have been named anchors of World News Tonight Saturday and Sunday, respectively, jobs they settled into several months ago when David Muir moved to the weekday editions. Variety Vega, an Emmy Award winner, joined ABC News in 2011, after working for San Francisco’s KGO. She will relocate to New York City from the West Coast and will jointly serve as a senior national correspondent. Llamas, a Murrow Award recipient, had served as the co-anchor of the 5 p.m. newscast for NBC 4 in New York and also as a contributing correspondent for NBC News. TheWrap In addition to anchoring the flagship evening news on the weekend, the pair will contribute to the network’s election coverage.

Savannah Guthrie Anchors Nightly News (TVNewser)
NBC’s Savannah Guthrie anchored NBC Nightly News Monday night, as Lester Holt dealt with a family medical emergency. Variety Holt is expected to return to the program. He has taken the anchor chair of the nation’s most-watched evening-news broadcast since NBCUniversal suspended Brian Williams for six months in the wake of his admission that he falsified details about a 2003 NBC News excursion to Iraq in which he took part. Mediaite Guthrie is not expected to be a permanent replacement anchor just yet. Williams, of course, is technically expected to return to NBC in just a few months, but there is a chance he may not come back. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Holt is widely seen as the front-runner to replace Williams if he is not reinstated on the program. Guthrie is also on the short list of potential replacements, and her appearance on Monday night’s broadcast will no doubt stoke suspicion that NBC’s front office is testing her out for that role. Guthrie had filled in for Williams several times before his suspension.