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John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV

Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Tuesday Debate Coverage

With the Ohio primary a week away, TV schedules will be scrambled Tuesday night for the Democratic presidential debate in Cleveland, and an Ohio Second Congressional District debate at CET here.

From 7-8 p.m., CET (Channel 48) and WVXU-FM (91.7) will simulcast a taped debate between Democrats Victoria Wulsin and Steve Black. Kathy Lehr will moderate the "Focus: Election 2008" discussion between the candidates and Enquirer reporter Howard Wilkinson and WVXU-FM news director Maryanne Zeleznik. (Republicans Jean Schmidt and Tom Brinkman each declined to participate in a CET Republican forum.)

At 8 p.m., Channels 5 and 2 will broadcast the premiere of "quarterlife," the new NBC drama from Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick ("thirtysomething," "Once and Again," "My So-Called Life"). It was moved from 10 p.m. in Cincinnati and Dayton because of Cleveland debate. "The Biggest Loser," which will air nationally 8-10 p.m. Tuesday, will be broadcast 8-10 p.m. Saturday on Channels 5, 2.

At 9 p.m., Channels 5 and 2 and MSNBC will carry the Democratic presidential candidate debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama from Cleveland State University. "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams will moderate the debate, along with "Meet the Press" moderator and NBC News Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert.

At 10:30 p.m., Sandra Ali and Sheree Paolello will anchor a "News 5 Special" from Cleveland with debate reaction. They also will report from Cleveland during the 5-6:30 p.m news, and at 11 p.m. news.


at 2/25/2008 6:30 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey kiese were you shocked that Oprah wasnt here today. That would have been awesome seeing Oprah.

at 2/25/2008 7:35 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

They may have to come here to have their debate if the weather in northern Ohio plays out as predicted.

at 2/26/2008 11:31 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe Cleveland will like Sandra and Sheree more than Cincinnati does.

at 2/26/2008 1:50 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

Maybe they won't be able to find their way back.

at 2/26/2008 5:18 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't wait to hear the in-depth News 5 special coverage from them two journalist chicks.

at 2/27/2008 8:53 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Classic Channel 5 coverage. They send sharee and sandra to Cleveland to "cover" the debate.

The first thing they do in their post-debate coverage is THROW IT BACK TO THE STUDIO IN CINCINNATI where a reporter shows highlights.

I didn't stay for the rest. The MSNBC recap was done by the real pros.

at 2/27/2008 10:39 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

And now for the only thing that matters...

Ch. 5's post-debate special (starting at approximately 10:40 p.m.--yes, the debate ran long and Ch. 5 will not get credit for the 10:30-10:45pm quarter-hour) lost 50% of the audience!

The debate scored a 14.48 rating, 21 share. Ch. 5's post debate audience plummeted to a 6.95 rating, 12 share (10:45-11 p.m.).

That is what you call massive "viewer tune-out" to WLWT's news product!

Perhaps even worse is what happened to Ch. 5's numbers during their 11 p.m. newscast...

They continued to drop during the 11-11:15 p.m. quarter-hour to a 5.0 rating, 10 share...and even further from 11:15-11:35 p.m. with a 3.96 rating, 8 share.

Bottom line is this:

This is a shocking (or perhaps not-so-shocking) result. Here's a station who spent a tremendous amount of resources (monetary and otherwise) to send an entire crew to Cleveland to cover a debate (which actually got huge numbers) and this is what they got in return.

There is no gloating in this, because this is truly a sad result.

Hearst-Argyle surely can't open the Nielsen numbers this morning and be pleased.

Big investment and no result.

Changes must come to WLWT.

at 2/27/2008 9:49 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Channel 5 had great coverage of the debate. They had great live interviews with guests like Tim Russert, Ron Allen, Jesse Jackson, and Sheree even got to interview Brian Williams. Cincinnati loves Sandra and Sheree anonymous 11:31am, so quit complaining and change the channel if you don't like it!!

at 2/27/2008 10:12 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought 5 did a good job last night. Tim Russert, Ted Strickland, Brian Williams & others either on the set or on tape answering questions. Throw in John London and it worked for me.

at 2/28/2008 4:01 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

i seriously doubt 5 made the decision solely for ratings. i'm sure they would have liked to see something better, but you don't cover something like this for do it because journalists know it's the right way to cover a giant story.

and if it was all about ratings, why didn't any other station go?
people on here seem to be saying that the other stations would have been able to pull a huge number.

i guess the lesson for the average viewer is that, yes, there was a huge appetite for the debate. It won the time slot by nearly twice what the rating for the #2 show....but, no, none of the other stations care enough about what you want to see to cover it.

Either way, how is this not a win for channel 5?

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