News & Insights

The Deadline: Ratings Scorecard: An Undisputed TV Leader & Top Publications Announce Big Moves

By Rebecca Epps

The Deadline - Media Intelligence Newsletter.

Key Highlights

  • An Undisputed Ratings Leader – Despite a rollercoaster second quarter, Fox News continues to hold the top spot in the latest Nielson rankings. Meanwhile, CNN hopes its fresh face who has quickly risen through the ranks will steer the network towards the future.
  • Journalists Blocked & Departments Shuttered – OPEC barred certain journalists and outlets from attending its meeting of oil industry CEOs, and The New York Times has closed its sports department choosing to instead rely on its relatively new sports-focused website.
  • Bartiromo Set to Interview Donald Trump – Fox News host Maria Bartiromo is set to interview former President Donald Trump. The move is notable as Bartiromo was a key figure in the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit.

Industry News

The New York Times Halts Sports Department, Will Rely on The Athletic

The New York Times announced it is disbanding its sports department and will rely on coverage from The Athletic, a sports-centric website it acquired last year, for all sports coverage. According to the Times, the move will impact more than 35 journalists. The publication says these reporters will not be laid off, but instead move to other roles within the newsroom. In a letter to staff, Times leaders said they understand the decision will be disappointing to some, but they believe it is the right one for readers and it will allow the Times to maximize its strengths. The Times acquired The Athletic for $550 million in 2022. The digital sports publication has also faced layoffs and restructurings as of late.

Live News is Coming to Max

Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. is planning to add live news to its Max streaming service. The news will be streamed from CNN and only available outside of the U.S. initially. Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. is hoping that adding live news will help attract subscribers. According to Bloomberg, executives are weighing different approaches to offering live CNN programming on Max in the U.S. Warner Bros. Discovery introduced Max last month, positioning it as a combination of reality programming, scripted shows, and blockbuster entertainment from HBO Max. News and sports currently don’t play a major role on Max or on the prior version of the service, HBO Max.

Fox News Remains No. 1 in Q2 Ratings Despite Rollercoaster Few Months

The Q2 Nielson ratings are out, and Fox News continues to hold the No. 1 spot. According to Nielsen data, Fox News Channel averaged more than 1.16 million total viewers across the 24-hour daytime period. Still, this is a 15% drop in average viewership in Q1 2023 and a 20% drop from a year ago (Q2 2022). It’s been a rollercoaster second quarter for FNC, most notably due to the landmark $787.5 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems and the ouster of primetime anchor Tucker Carlson. According to Nielson, Q2 ratings also showed a year-over-year decline for CNN, while both MSNBC and Newsmax experienced gains. This is the 86th consecutive quarter Fox News has been the top-rated cable news network in total viewers.

28-Year-Old Entrepreneur Looks to Bring More Investor Dollars into Forbes Bid

Austin Russell, the 28-year-old founder and CEO of Luminar Technologies, is working to put more money into his takeover bid of Forbes. Russell inherited the deal structure to buy Forbes a few months ago after Sun Group was dropped as the lead investor due to concerns it might be blocked by regulators. Russell has struck a deal to buy 82% of the company and is working to pull more money into that bid ahead of a November 1 deadline. A source familiar with the matter told Axios that the Forbes family would give up its 5% stake and Steve Forbes would leave the board as part of the deal.

Maria Bartiromo to Interview Donald Trump on “Sunday Morning Futures”

Fox News anchor Maria Bartiromo is set to interview former President Donald Trump on her “Sunday Morning Futures” show. The interview will air on July 16, 2023, and focus on the 2024 presidential election, the state of the country, and geographical threats. Fox News says the interview will be pre-taped, not live. Trump has had a contentious relationship with Fox News as of late, having repeatedly labeled it as the “DeSanctimonious Network” claiming abundant coverage of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The interview is also notable given that Bartiromo was a key figure in the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit against Fox News, which centered on allegations that several Fox News hosts made false claims that Dominion’s voting machines had been rigged to steal the 2020 presidential election from then-president Donald Trump.

National Geographic Lays Off Last of Staff Writers

The iconic, yellow-labeled magazine that has been in circulation for more than 100 years laid off its last remaining staff writers at the end of June. According to CNN, 17 editorial positions were cut, including the entire podcast staff and a group of editors. The layoffs, which were announced in April, were part of a wave of cuts from parent company Disney. The full-time staff will be replaced by a wave of freelance writers, save for a few in-house editors who will oversee certain digital content. A magazine spokesperson told CNN that National Geographic will continue to publish monthly issues. The publication had more than 1.7 million subscribers at the end of 2022.

OPEC Shuts Top Journalists Out of Oil Conference

Reporters from Reuters, Bloomberg, and the Wall Street Journal were banned from OPEC’s meeting of oil industry CEOs and energy ministers from OPEC and its allies, said reporters and several people familiar with the matter. The meeting took place last month. According to Bloomberg, no reason for the decision was given by OPEC secretariat. This is the second time OPEC has barred journalists in a month. Bloomberg, Reuters, and the Wall Street Journal aim to cover news in real time from events such as OPEC+ meetings, which can have an impact on the price of oil and global energy costs.

Reuters Set to Expand Digital Content with Purchase of Imagen

Media company Thomas Reuters is expanding its digital content. The company is set to buy Britain-based Imagen – a digital content asset management company – for an undisclosed price. Imagen operates digital content libraries for sports, media, and business companies, including Premier League soccer and Major League Baseball. Reuters said the acquisition is part of a plan to serve more clients as they expand their streaming video businesses. This is the second major deal announced by Reuters in June. The company also agreed to buy Casetext, a California-based AI company that helps legal professionals prepare documents using generative AI. The deal was reported at $650 million.

Spielberg, Scorsese, and Anderson Join Turner Classic Movies Fight

Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. has finalized the creative-side structure at Turner Classic Movies. The new plan will see directors Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and Paul Thomas Anderson actively working alongside Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group leadership. The move comes after WBD announced layoffs in June leaving cinephile fans worried that TCM might be shuttered. Spielberg, Scorsese, Anderson, and WBD chief David Zaslav called an emergency meeting to see what they could do. In a statement, WBD leaders said, “Turner Classic Movies is a cultural treasure, and we are honored to help steer the future direction of this beloved brand with the partnership of three of the most iconic filmmakers of our time.”

Career Moves

Jo Ling Kent Joins CBS News in Top Business Reporter Role

A well-known face among the broadcast ranks is joining CBS News: Jo Ling Kent is joining the network. Kent will join CBS News as senior business and technology correspondent. She was most recently a correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC. Kent will report for all CBS News programs and platforms, focusing on consumer business trends and major financial stories, as well as on new emerging technologies such as AI.

CNN Makes New National Appointments

New promotions have been announced at CNN. The cable news network announced David Culver has been promoted to senior national correspondent. Based in Los Angeles, Culver has recently developed in-depth stories from the U.S.-Mexico border as well as immersive reporting on psychedelics from Jamaica. Culver was previously based in Beijing covering major news from China and the Asia-Pacific region. In addition to Culver, the network announced that Eva McKend has been promoted to correspondent covering national politics. Based in the Washington, D.C. bureau, McKend has played a critical role in CNN’s political coverage, most recently covering the evolving and dynamic field of GOP presidential primary candidates.

The New York Times Announces New Deputy Director

Tahirah Burley has been promoted to deputy director for newsroom operations for the New York Times. In a note announcing her new role, the Times said that during her time at the Washington bureau, Tahirah has helped manage a slew of details during office renovations and the Times’ recent office expansion. In her new role, Tahirah will expand into a management role and work closely with leadership on staffing plans, budget oversight, recruiting efforts, and career development.

Vox Media Deepens Climate Team with New Hires

Three new hires are being welcomed to Vox, strengthening the publication’s climate prowess. Paige Blankenbuehler will serve as climate editor and oversee and lead a team of reporters working to cover the climate crisis. Vox said the team will have an emphasis on adaptation, accountability, and consequences. In her career, Blankenbuehler has spearheaded collaborations with the Center for Public Integrity and been recognized by the National Magazine Awards. In addition to Blankenbuehler, Sarah Schweppe will join Vox as the deputy style and standards editor and Paige Vickers will join as art director.


Collins Makes Her Permanent Debut, Goes Head-to-Head with Primetime Powerhouses

On July 10, CNN debuted “The Source with Kaitlan Collins.” This marks the first time in nearly two years that CNN has a permanent 9 p.m. anchor. Collins has hosted the key news hour over the past few weeks, but Monday’s show was the first to debut new branding for the program. The move marks a career highlight for Collins that has seemed to accelerate at warp speed. In the space of just a few years, Collins vaulted from White House correspondent to morning co-anchor to primetime personality. “The Source with Kaitlan Collins” will air in the same time window alongside Rachel Maddow’s show on MSNBC and in close timing with Fox News’ new lead primetime anchor Jesse Watters. CNN has been facing significant drops in viewership and continues to struggle following the leadership of Chris Licht, who was ousted in early June. CNN is betting Collins’ new position and show will steer the network towards the future. Erin Burnett and Anderson Cooper will continue to hold the 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. anchor slots, respectively.

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