Thursday, November 30, 2006

Consistency is the Key!

UPDATE: Of course I make this post and what do Anderson & Charlie do? They blog!

Hey Guys! How is everyone today? I had a nice afternoon! I got a manicure and a pedicure today and my feet and hands look FABULOUS! Next week a massage is in order! OOH LA LA!

Last night’s show was okay. I liked the second hour about Iraq. I’m sure that was not the program that Anderson had planned in his mind for last night. I bet he was just a little bit peeved that Bush got stood up because the 360 team probably had a game plan for last night before they hopped on that plane from Istanbul to Amman. But such is the nature of the news business!

It was really nice to see Anderson with Suzanne Malveaux as well as Hala Gorani. I really like Hala! I think she’s spunky and just top notch! It was also nice to see Michael Ware in Amman with Anderson. He does really look like he needs a break from Iraq, IMHO!

I’ve had something on my mind these past couple days regarding AC360. Now mind you, these are just my observations and I’m sure you might not agree with all of them but I’m going to air them out here and see what you think.

I have to say here that I’ve have never had the pleasure of watching the old 360 (7pm slot) but from what I’ve heard it was a much tighter, more fast-paced and more snarky format. I know that with Anderson’s promotion to the 2 hour time slot, there had to be a movement towards harder news and a more serious atmosphere. I really do get that. I also know that the events of last year have changed Anderson. He’s admitted as much. But, the show format is definitely lacking the freshness of the old show. Okay, we’ve all beat the Nth Degree to a pulp. It's never coming back and that’s okay. But there are segments that have been promised both on the show and on the blog that never come to fruition. This is not entirely Anderson’s fault in my opinion. This is a production problem. The job of the producer is to produce a consistently good show 5 nights a week. Consistency is the key word here!

I’m sorry but AC360 has been anything but consistent since its inception last year. Segments such as 360 MD, 360 Giving, bringing the Shot to the blog, and Dispatches from the Edge have been promised and never delivered on a consistent basis. This is very frustrating from a regular viewer’s standpoint. And even the blog, which was once Anderson’s baby has been used by all of the show’s correspondents far more than Anderson. Here is one example of the inconsistencies I’m referring to. Not two weeks ago, the AC360 Blog Producer told everyone that they were bringing The Shot to the blog. What a great idea! Some fun, fresh news to lighten things up! Yay! Yesterday while preparing this post, I went back to link that entry and it was completely gone! In fact, any and all posts referencing The Shot have been removed (with the exception of Robin’s pumpkin). What’s with that? I don’t get it?

And, not an hour ago my friend Rachel pointed out a post Anderson did the day he came back from Washington when his blackberry had died and he was suffering from internet withdrawal. That post was funny and fresh! It was Classic Anderson. That wit; that snark. That’s what we the viewers are looking for.

I think that if 360 is going to test out segments, they could really utilize the blog to get a feel for how its playing with viewers. You know? The day that they introduce a new segment, write a post about it saying something like, "Hey, we are going to try out a new segment starting tonight. We'll promo it for 2 or 3 weeks and we would like to know what you think about it. Give us your feedback so we can know if its working, needs to be tweaked or just ditched altogether." I know you can always push the feedback button to comment with or without a post like that but it just gets the regular viewers more involved and keeps the show fresh.

So that's what's been tinkering around in my brain lately! I'd love to just say to David Doss and the producers of AC360, "Tighten it up people! Give us the best! It's what we expect! It's what we demand!" Wouldn't you?

Okay ladies and gents, have at it! Yell, scream, agree, disagree. I can take it!


Anonymous said...

I agree with you one hundred percent. hope they listen,I never use to fall asleep during 360, but must say sometimes I do now.I love Anderson just wish they would go back to his old format.


Anonymous said...

Hey Sheryn - just a few comments about the issues you raised. First, bringing The Shot to the blog. If I remember correctly, I think that happened when Anderson was off. He might not have agreed with it. And now that JR is doing the Shot instead of Anderson, I'm sorry but it doesn't have the same appeal. Some these segments are good because it gives a glimpse of another side of Anderson. If it's someone else doing it, it defeats the purpose IMO.

Also, as much as I liked them putting Robin's AC pumpkin on the blog, remember how much fuss was made by a few bloggers? That might make them reconsider some of this stuff. Maybe that's why things seem inconsistent.They try stuff and some complain so they back off for a while.

Secondly, the subjects 360 is covering this week are serious; maybe they don't think it appropriate to have The Shot when they are discussing serious stuff. Remember when Erica was on, sometimes they kidded each other and shared a light moment. But when they were covering the Sago Mine Disaster, Erica kept it serious. I don't think anyone would disagree with that being appropriate.

Finally, although it might not be consistent; if Anderson isn't feeling well or something is going on, I don't want him to feel he has to "pretend" to be jolly because we expect it. Me likey Anderson and that includes good moods, bad moods, silly, happy, sad, and even old man grumpy if that's how he's feeling at the moment.

Sorry to be so long winded.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't disagree with you at all! I am totally in agreement and have thought the same thing for a long time as well.

It seems to me that he has also taken much more time off this year than last year. Perhaps it was because of the book tour. But I am SO SO tired of seeing substitutes. Especially John Roberts.

Anonymous said...

Sheryn, Anderson blogs when we least expect it. And yes I agree things need to be tightened up at 360. They throw out things like On The Radar and as soon as we all look forward to it they grab it away. I love the SHOT, but not the one's chosen for JR's appearances lately, they are too serious - I thought the Shot was suppose to be something light to draw attention away from the hard news. Anderson get back to the states your show is turning into the JR show.

I know Anderson loves reporting from the War Zone, but come on guys there are a lot of things happening back home that could be spotlighted and I believe some of us have sent some great suggestions for segments.

Anyway 360 find your groove already we can't take much more of this here today gone tomorrow stuff.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you. As a matter of fact, I e-mailed the show a couple of weeks ago about this very thing.

In my e-mail I was just going to mention my disappointment that they chose not to cover the UCLA taser incident but I also ended up commenting on the lack of consistency with the show and with the amount of time he is away from his own show.

Please don't get me wrong, I have tremendous respect for Anderson as a person and I believe he is very talented. I realize he is a field reporter at heart and has lots of other projects going on right now but he is the host of his own program and I think the show suffers when he is away so much.

Anonymous said...

I must say that I completely agrre with you on your post. I also did not have a chance to watch Anderson in the early days of his show, but from the clips I have seen of them (God Bless Youtube!), I wish his shows now were like his shows then. I know he has to fill the entire two hours, but at times its a bit boring...Maybe thats the problem. Two hours is a long time. Maybe he needs to cut back the length of the show...

Anonymous said...

When I started watching 360, it was probably the best news program out there, Anderson was serious and snarky and funny and he had a variety of topics. He would make me laugh every night, EVERY night and still he was able to report the serious news stories. It's frustrating to watch the show now and remember how new and fresh it was, plus the bonus of the Nth. I don't know what happened, maybe he's bored or something. I miss the old days. I know he's not there to "entertain" us or make us laugh, but it was nice when he could do it.

cactuskid said...

Remember watching the "old" 360's when I first got hooked during Katrina. I was mezmirized with this reporter with the steely blue eyes who was so sincerely concerned about everyone which he still is. The show was so thought provoking that I was so caught up in it and was glued to the set every night. As time has gone on I am still glued to the set,but can't stay awake for the second hour and sometimes fall asleep during the first! Sometimes it's because I'm so tired from work, but other times, I think, it's because of the reruns of the first hour. I still love Anderson and 360, but wish Anderson would be on more. It's just not the same without him and wish they wouldn't do so many repeats. If it means going back to one hour to get that loving feeling back then so be it. I'd hate losing him to one hour, but, I'm selfish, too, cause I want my old Anderson back. Snark and all!!

eliza said...

I completely agree with you on the lack of consistency and it's actually one of the reasons I started my blog. The show has been all over the place since the beginning of its 2 hour format. I've basically given up on them getting it together. They'd probably have more viewers if the show was more structured.

Anonymous said...

I just watched the recording of last night's program, it was done just in time for tonight's show to start. John wore a pin-stripped suit last night. I don't think Gloria's suggestion about pin-stripped suits making you look slimmer is always right.

Wow, I've been reading Anderson's blog. The submission from "Sarah D. Morgan, Dallas, Texas : 7:31 PM ET" was sure powerful. I think I would be very disturbing to see that exhibit, regardless of your faith.

@Gracie, I noticed a comment from Marcia, Warren Mi : 5:45 PM ET, “…case in point at a meeting this past spring concerning the mosque coming to my city people at the meeting were asking if the group planned to practice ritual sacrifice and fear of a terrorist cell emerging was also brought up.” Is this the same neighborhood as you?

Guess we will be Andersonless again tomorrow.

Unknown said...

Actually, I'm doing some investigating for Monday's post and Anderson hasn't really taken off more time than last year. One thing I like to point out is that Anderson works MANY more hours than the average worker does a week. I think on average he probably works 12-14 hours a day and probably WAY more when he is in the field. There are days he spends going to and from a location (like the Middle East) and that isn't really considered vacation time. It can take two days to get to some of these places. It's just a guess but I bet he ends up with more vacation days and comp days at the end of the year than most people.


Anonymous said...

I think we all agree the show is going downhill. I still listen to it every night as I do work on my computer but I do not look at it much except to catch a glimpse of what he looks like.

And by the way, hasn't he worn the same thing for three days in a row? I do like the tee shirt under his shirt.

Unknown said...

I wouldn't say it's gone downhill so much as stayed the same. They just need to work on getting some consistancy. Some nights it's really good and other nights not so much. I don't think the show is horrible or anything, just needs a bit of improvement.

Sheryn said...

@QAG, I'm not saying the show's gone downhill. I am saying that there are inconsistencies and that there needs to be a template, if you will for nightly broadcasts.

Tightened and tuned.

Sheryn said...

@AG, I'm saying its an executive producer's job to make sure the show is tight and consistent. Not Anderson's job. There are things that are inconsistent.

As to humor during serious stories. That's true but you can inject humor on the blog. There is nothing wrong with that. They did it tonight with Danny Devito.

Anonymous said...

Well, I think it's gone downhill and I agree that it is the job of the producer to tighten it, as Anderson is the talent and the reporter.

He does his bit properly. Not sure what is up with David Doss and Charlie Moore, however.

Anonymous said...

Sheryn: Wow! That's interesting about your research into the AC360 blog and "The Shot" segments being removed. I know that they were all there earlier this week. Perhaps they were removed because those videos are generally not "owned" by CNN so therefore, they aren't permitted to archive them. Did you notice that they did keep on the Comic Relief video which was definitely on the lighter side.

I, like others, also notice the difference in the show now from the old show. Although I loved the old show format, I do enjoy the 2 hour show when it's a mix of great reports, debate/discussion with panels, and some lighter stories. I sometimes get bored with the "repeats", however, I believe the repeats occur because the 2nd. hour gains viewers from CNN International.

I love your idea about using the AC360 Blog as a means to "bounce" off ideas for future shows. In my opinion, that's what that blog should be doing for the show. They should use it as a means to attract viewers to watch. What better way than an interactive blog. Unfortunately, the blog ends up being a one-way street. Comments are posted but there is no interaction between the bloggers and the person writing the blog entry. It was interesting this week that Anderson himself blogged asking for people's thoughts and then blogged again later in the week indicating that he "read" everyone's comments. I was starting to think that Anderson wasn't into his blog much these days.

I will, however, stay optimistic in thinking that we will see some changes in the show as we head into the new year.

Thanks for letting me express my thoughts on ATA.

Phebe said...

I won't yell or disagree, I think you're spot on.

Rachel said...

I think 360 should use the blog more to inform us more on the going ons of the show. Yes, they can't do this on air but they can certinally say, "Remember we said this, well we not not doing it anymore but are doing this now." or something like that.
I also think they should be more interactive with the show and it's veiwers. I thought the blog was going to do that but I've seen it more in a different direction. Maybe they just don't have the man power over at CNN to do it. I mean I am sure the interns and who ever runs that blog wants to do more than just run a blog.

xtina said...

It's frustrating, all the networks have the same raw material to work with, which is the "news" itself. I never thought it came down to who's proudcing a segment, but SherynRoyce's comments make sense and now I see that. On the other hand, do I dare say Anderson didn't have the sparkle this week with his immune system being a bit low?..

Anonymous said...

Can we just get consistent delivery and "ditch" John Roberts and get John King back as the sub? Roberts just grates on my nervous system. I wonder what happens with Nielsen ratings Cooper vs. Roberts vs. King? I could not stand his arrogance this week cutting Anderson off every minute.