2006 Crystal Ball: The Cable Newsers

By Brian 

Many e-mailers and commenters predict big things for Fox News in 2006. In addition to the Fox Business Channel (see below), some readers expect big moves with Fox News Radio, notable programming changes in early prime, and some new hires. And don’t forget the War on Easter! One commenter expects Neil Cavuto and John Gibson to lose their timeslots. Another expects Giselle Fernandez to take over for Gibson. And a third says Martha MacCallum and Julie Banderas will receive more “face time” in the new year.

Commenters foresee a less rosy year for CNN. Many of the predictions involve Jon Klein losing a job, though others would be surprised to see that. Some e-mailers think The Situation Room will take off in 2006. “CNN adds 20 more televisions to The Situation Room, the other networks copy it the next day,” one person jokes. Many predictions involve changes to CNN’s primetime lineup. Commenters can’t resist knocking Anderson Cooper and American Morning, either.

Could MSNBC become #2 in 2006? Several commenters are optimistic. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but “MSNBC’s ratings will rise significantly in 2006,” an e-mailer predicts. Several commenters expect MSNBC and CNBC to merge. The futures of Keith Olbermann, Rita Cosby and Rick Kaplan are popular subjects for predictions. And don’t forget about ” Olbermann vs. O’Reilly live on PPV…”

Dozens of cable news predictions are after the jump…

Fox News Channel:

“FNC remans #1 cable news outlet.”

“This will be another big year for Fox News, but especially in radio. News Corp. will shockingly emerge as the buyer for the ABC radio network. This will help fledgling Fox News Radio greatly expand with with massive gains in syndication for their three wholly owned shows (Tony Snow, John Gibson and Alan Colmes).”

“By fall, two FNC mainstays will lose their timeslots: John Gibson and Neal Cavuto. Cavuto moving to Fox Business with an evening show. Gibson going the way of Tony Snow (limited weekends and radio). Martha MacCallum and Julie Banderas receive much more ‘face time’ in the coming year on FNC. Linda Vester returns: to Fox Business.”

“New hires at FNC: Giselle Fernandez for The Big Story; Rudi Bakhtiar reading news breaks; Alexandra Steele for weather; Daryn Kagan for mornings, after Fox and Friends. Out: Brigitte Quinn, John Gibson, Jamie Colby, Alisyn Camerota, Janice Dean.”

“Fox & Friends will surpass CBS Early Show regularly and become the solid #3 morning show.”

“Fox News will lose a high profile figure to another network.”

“Fox will start a morning show for its affiliates. It will be hosted by Juliet Huddy and Mike Jerrick of Fox News, and this will allow Linda Vester to return to DaySide.”

“Fox Television annouces a 6:30 pm nightly newscast.”

“FNC joins the ol’ gray networks with a nightly, national news broadcast for the ‘Big Fox’ stations. But it’s not Shep in the chair. Sophia Choi (a surprise defection!) and Bill Hemmer anchor the broadcast. While they don’t finish the year #1, they beat out two of their competitors.”

“Fox pulls Geraldo’s daily show, sending the group (Rivera, Laurie Dhue, et al) overseas to do in-depth stories on international issues to bolster its global coverage. More Sky News (also a News Corp entity) stories also air on FNC, Fox Business, and the O&Os.”

“Fox News will begin replaying simulcasts of John Batchelor’s radio program on ABC Radio in New York. They will air from 1 to 4 am ET after its nightly replay of O’Reilly and Hume.”

“Brooke Alexander becomes the ‘third chair’ on Fox and Friends Weekend.”

“Brigitte Quinn replaced by Alison Camerota 9-11 AM, and Gretson Carlson 11-1PM.”

“Cable news viewership DROPS by 10 to 15%. Fox News viewership GAINS by 10 to 15%.”

“Linda Vester will return to DaySide.”

“FNC’s Page Hopkins will become big at the news channels.”

“February 2nd: Groundhog Day. John Gibson will crawl out of his den, see his shadow, and scurry back inside. Fox News will proclaim ‘six more weeks of the War on Easter.'”

“Fox News will declare a War on Easter to much ratings success!”

CNN and Headline News:

“Robin & Company shifts CNN mornings; Soledad leaves for a professorship; Chuck and Linda head to CNN afternoons; Nancy Grace starts double-shifting exclusively at CNN.”

“The lovely and talented Robin Meade will begin beating American Morning outright to make Soledad and Miles the least watched cable show in the morning.”

“New breakfast show at CNN. AM just isn’t delivering the demo numbers, which are directing CNN’s US strategy. Look for something fast-paced, news-focused, TSR-like.”

“Erica Hill to mothership to replace Carol Costello on AM, helping grab more 25-54s.”

“To bolster its sagging morning lineup, CNN will do the unthinkable: raid FNC for talent! Look for a Fox regular to jump ship for bigger bucks.”

“CNN adds 20 more televisions to The Situation Room, the other networks copy it the next day.”

“The Situation Room airings will be re-tooled away from 2 hours on, 1 hour off, 1 hour on. Look for 2-3 continuous hours.”

“Wolf Blitzer and Lou Dobbs fight in Times Square. The winner gets to be on CNN for 12 hours.”

“Lou Dobbs retires from CNN; The Situation Room explands to the 6pm hour.”

“Dobbs will move to 8. Cooper to 11. Zahn will leave. Grace to 10 on CNN to go head to head with Greta.”

“After falling ratings in his 9PM slot, CNN will ask Larry King to retire. He’ll announce his retirement but will make it through the year.”

“Larry King will have health problems — causing a panic to replace CNN’s only money-maker.”

“Paula Zahn will be the next victim of the CNN schedule overhaul; she will be replaced by Soledad, who will do some type of entertainment/news magazine show.”

“Paula Zahn will lose her 8pm show. The Situation Room will begin to dominate its time slot. Greta will bleed viewers to Anderson Cooper until she stops bludgeoning one story to death with the same angles again and again.”

“By the end of 2006, CNN will have a different PM lineup than now. Zahn will be gone. A battle will rage over changes to King’s 9 p.m. slot, which could force Larry to leave. Cooper will have his timeslot expanded, either beginning at 9 or ending at 1. He may also pop up in early prime as a co-anchor/contributor to the Situation Room (think Shep in Studio B, then later the Fox Report).”

“CNN better stop reshuffling its schedule when they find a new ‘star’ such as Anderson Cooper. If they depend one or two people for their success, they will continue to fall behind Fox.”

“AC360 at 10p will decrease to 1 hour soon.”

“Anderson Cooper’s 360 will be scaled back to one hour — or, alternately
, a regular sub will pick up 1-2 days/week, so AC isn’t doing 2 hours/night on 5 nights running.”

“Anderson Cooper will have to deal with skeletons in his closet that come to haunt him.”

“Anderson Cooper will go the way of Ashleigh Banfield after having been promoted way too quickly and having to live up to mythic-like expectations.”

“Anderson Cooper’s ratings on CNN will continue to not do well and his Ashleigh Banfield-like standing in cable news will become more and more apparent.”

“I predict CNN will create the AC360 channel, headlines, sports, weather, and heart-wrenching stories that appeal to the emotions, all hosted by Anderson Cooper.”

“Anderson Cooper will be leaving CNN so that he can spead his wings.”

“CNN’s rating boost will prove temporary, unless there are more major catastrophes this year. Klein has done a nice job of getting in the paper and turning the network into the weather channel, but CNN’s rating gains are event driven.”

“Jon Klein will be fired for his ludicrous decision to go with lightweight Anderson Cooper, rather than with smooth, suave, intellectual Aaron Brown.”

“Jon Klein will finally get booted from CNN for a number of less-than-smooth moves, including the clumsy way in which CNN jettisoned Aaron Brown.”

“Klein will be replaced and someone else will overhaul the lineup.”

“Jon Klein will crash and burn and CNN (Cartoon News Network) will be put under the control of someone who doesn’t think a row of flashing TV monitors constitutes news.”

“I don’t think Jon Klein will last the entire 2006 calendar year.”

“MSNBC will finally overtake CNN in the 25-54 demo category which will prompt Dick Parsons to finally get rid of Jonathan Klein.”

“Jon Klein will axe Paula Zahn this year — and it’ll be the last move he makes at the company — he’ll be out by the spring, if there’s a god.”

“Nancy Grace will leave Headline News to take over for Paula Zahn on CNN.”

“Nancy Grace moves to CNN and replaces the second go-round of ‘The Situation Room,’ either at 7pm or bumping Paula to 7pm.”

“I think Nancy Grace, although I like her, is wearing thin and her ratings will drop.”

“CNN Pipeline will break even.”

“CNN numbers will stay stagnant until management realizes that they do have to have a few real ‘conservatives’ on the channel.”

“CNN hires Fox’s press department to help keep them from making any more huge mistakes in the press.”

“CNN’s people will begin gravitating toward MSNBC more and more often rather than CNN. This trend will push CNN back to third, besides during special events.”

“Ali Velshi. Anyone who had mentioned his name in TV news predictions for 2005 would have been clearly blessed with true psychic abilities. Who knows how far Wolf will take take this heretofore unknown.”

“Kyra Phillips will be given a higher profile show at CNN.”

“Doesn’t Rudi Bakhtiar need to resurface in 2006? She was never given a fair shot by any channel at CNN.

“AOL blog CEO Jason Calacanis will convince Christianne Amanpour to videoblog from the world’s danger zones.”

“Dan Rather/Tom Brokaw to CNN.”

“Headline News will can Showbiz Tonight.”

“HLN will change their graphics again. Add a female African American anchor program. Will become more tabloid.”

“HLN is absorbed into CNN International, as Time Warner brings a global emphasis to domestic US cable news.”


“Brian Williams will play a larger part on MSNBC. All of the NBC stars will brighten the horizon at MSNBC. They will be used interchangeably, thereby increasing viewers on the cable news network.”

“With NBC U taking it over, MSNBC’s ratings will rise significantly in 2006. In addition, both ‘Countdown with Keith Olbermann’ and ‘Rita Cosby: Live and Direct’ will have the biggest gainers.”

“MSNBC may soar to new heights in 2006 now that NBC News has got a majority stake in the channel.”

“NBC will finally take the “MS” out of the name of its news network. It will be known as either NBC News Channel or as someone on this site has suggested, NBC News Plus.”

“MSNBC will be ‘required’ to increase its ratings share and NBC, CNBC and other NBCU organizations will be required to help. Look for a large broadcast center in New Jersey to serve all of the above, beginning with graphics (please note, there is no current infrastructure for high definition transfer to and from that plant to others). Look to see offices and studios only at 30 Rock with the rest of the technical operations across the river.”

“CNBC will merge with MSNBC; while the latter becomes a movie channel utilizing NBCU’s vault — and dedicates evenings to horror flicks. Universal Horror returns!”

“CNBC and MSNBC combined into one channel/moves to solid second place.”

“MSNBC will continue its slow rise towards #2. Keith Olbermann in particular will pick up steam.”

“I predicted last year that MS would pull out of MSNBC. This year, I predict MSNBC (or whatever they call themselves) will cancel Olbermann before his contract ends.”

“Keith Olbermann will set a new record by naming Bill O’Reilly ‘The Worst Person in the World’ 52 times in 2006. (This one has a pretty good chance of succeeding.) O’Reilly will respond by call
ing Olbermann ‘a looney, insane, elitist smear merchant who only gets the pitiful ratings he does because people are tuning in early to see that traitor Rita Cosby.’ Then O’Reilly will remind everyone that he likes to keep ‘above the fray’ and is not a name-caller.”

“I think Keith Olbermann will be fired for running his gator and embarrassing the network.”

“The Main Event of The Year: Olbermann vs. O’Reilly live on PPV from Madison Square Garden. Free loofahs to all the spectators!”

“Rita Cosby will land a BIG INTERVIEW with Vice President Dick Cheney by threatening to kill a kitten. Cheney will laugh off the threat, but agrees to do the interview if the kitten is executed in Texas. To conduct the interview, Cosby will be blindfolded and taken to an undisclosed location.”

“Rita Cosby will increase her airtime on MSNBC and occasionally appear on Dateline NBC and NBC Nightly News.”

“Rita Cosby’s show will get canceled as MSNBC overhauls its lineup again! Another new vision for the lowest ranked cable news channel.”

“Rick Kaplan will leave MSNBC. MSNBC will cancel Live and Direct with Rita Cosby.”

“MSNBC’s Primetime will undergo a revision — can you say ‘see ya Tucker?'”

“Scarborough will be cancelled; Crowley will be resurrected at MS, perhaps into that slot, or Tucker could move to 10 pm.”

“Come June or July, Rick Kaplan will blow up the entire MSNBC prime time schedule, save Rita Cosby. And Keith Olbermann will whine to every favorable critic and blogger that his cancellation was a conspiracy led by Bill O’Reilly.”

“MSNBC will become the NBC News Channel and they’ll replace Joe Scarborough with Aaron Brown in the 10pm slot.”

“MSNBC goes live at 12am ET.”

“MSNBC will improve their daytime line-up.”

“MSNBC will add a new program anchored by Chris Jansing.”
“Hardball gains pre-elections overtaking TSR on regular basis.”

“Maury Povich and Connie Chung will become a surprising hit for MSNBC.”

“Maury & Connie will last about 6 months on MSNBC.”