What’s in a Name?: The AC360 Debate

By SteveK 

Exclusive: TVNewser has learned that representatives from the three cable news networks, FNC, CNN, and MSNBC, took part in a meeting with Nielsen reps late last month to discuss concerns lobbed by Fox and MSNBC at CNN.

We hear the meeting was called to discuss CNN’s decision to title their 10pmET hour during election nights “Anderson Cooper 360,” thus upping the average for the program. On most political nights of this election year, FNC and MSNBC have branded their programming “special coverage” so it would not necessarily benefit their prime time programs as it does for CNN’s Cooper.

All three networks declined to comment directly on the meeting but one insider tells TVNewser it was, “a lively discussion,” with one exec “red-faced” during the proceedings.

Confirming the meeting took place, Nielsen spokesperson Gary Holmes tells TVNewser, “We did have a meeting of the Titling Committee and this was on the agenda,” adding, “As a matter of policy we don’t discuss client meetings. All I can say is that this matter is still under discussion.”

We hear Nielsen will have recommendations for the future in mid to late July, and CNN is planning to use the title “Anderson Cooper 360” during the 10pmET hour throughout the conventions.

TVNewser spoke with AC360 EP David Doss about the issue. “It’s an absurd argument. It’s not as if the primaries are staged for CNN’s benefit. It’s the biggest news of the day,” he said. “Of course it counts.”