NBC Nightly News leaps forward, but whither NewsNight?

NBC Nightly News.jpgNBC Nightly News took a big step forward in the migration/integration of TV news to the internet with the announcement that it will be hosting NBC Nightly News online at MSNBC weeknights at 10pm, beginning Monday, November 7th. It will be the first network evening-news show to run in its entirety online. Nice one, Peacock!

This is a great example of NBC News capitalizing strongly on a well-integrated team, led by Brian Williams with tact, class and — yes — gravitas, yet still very accessible as a feeling human being (in other words: a mensch). They’ve already enhanced this on the web with “The Daily Nightly,” with entries filed by many news staffers but anchored as well by Williams, with glances into the newscast and great asides (one I want to see followed up on: it might have been possible to eavesdrop on the closed-door senate session. Anyone? Bueller?)

This is a contrast to what’s going on at CNN. What IS going on at CNN? Lots of indications, no concrete announcements. They shook up “NewsNight” with Aaron Brown by adding Anderson Cooper, which has seemed something of an awkward pairing (or “fire and ice” as Jon Klein has said. We’re gonna stick with “awkward”). As Fishbowl mentioned previously, CNN has been pushing Anderson with gusto, capitalizing on their web presence to rerun old Details columns which, so far, hit the gravitas mark with references to bedraggled drag queens, premature ejaculation, and his mother’s sex life.

Now it looks like Brown is out and Anderson’s in, after a month’s test run in which, in hindsight, this conclusion seemed foregone. The numbers apparently back it up: Gail Shister says the Cooper-aired hours on CNN have all
showed gains, and NewsNight has spiked since his arrival. But, what’s the data on where Brown’s viewers will go if he departs? There is something to be said for slow and steady in the race, and — yes — gravitas. In their rush to prime Anderson for the top spot, it looks (to me) like they’re depriving him of the opportunity to develop that. Yes, obviously I’m an Anderson fan (dimples, check; baby blues, check; looks great soaking wet, check) but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to be the guy in the big chair. Frankly, I’m glad I don’t know about how Aaron Brown feels about premature ejaculation; I don’t want to know about whether his mom gets more action than he does. He’s a solid newsman who, frankly, seems like a guy you can trust, and throwing him out may well mean losing a whole lot of baby with the bathwater.

“No decision is known by anyone, including Aaron, on what hour, if any, he will be anchoring, if and when he returns” reports TVNewser. Doesn’t the fate of a marquee nightly newscast demand a bit more planning than this? NBC seems to think so. It would have been nice to see what might have become of Aaron, Anderson, NewsNight and CNN with that kind of planning.

These are just one Fishbowl writer’s impressions; keep up to date with TVNewser, who knows a helluva lot more than I do.

UPDATE: It’s offical. TVNewser has more.

Full ‘NBC Nightly News’ to run online [AdAge]
CNN Primetime Changes Are Imminent; Aaron Brown May Not Return To NewsNight [TVNewser]

Anderson Cooper, posterboy of a relentless CNN [FishbowlNY]