Category: Election 2008

Jon Stewart says Comedy Central censored 'South Park' for safety reasons

Tina Fey plans to take on Sarah Palin again when she returns to 'SNL' Saturday

When Tina Fey returns to “Saturday Night Live” to guest host on April 10, she’ll apparently be reviving one of her most popular impressions. Fey told Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper that she expects to portray former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in another sketch.

“I’m sure we’ll be trying to write something about her,” Fey said during an interview to promote her new movie, “Date Night.”

A spokeswoman for “SNL” said she could not confirm which sketches were in the works, noting that it was a live program subject to change.

Fey’s devastating take on the onetime GOP vice presidential nominee was one of the standout memes of the 2008 presidential contest, culminating with a guest appearance on “SNL” by Palin herself.

The writer and actress said she’s been too busy working on “30 Rock” to pay much attention to Palin in recent weeks, but the former Alaska governor has offered her fans and critics plenty of fodder. She joined former running mate John McCain on the campaign trail, debuted a new show on Fox News and signed a deal to star in a docu-series about Alaska that will air on TLC.

-- Matea Gold

Video: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in a September 2008 episode of "Saturday Night Live." Credit: NBC via Hulu

David Letterman's do-over interview with Katie Couric

Dave Letterman goofed. The CBS late-night comedian admitted on Thursday's "Late Show" that when he had Katie Couric on the program Wednesday, he had failed to ask the anchor about the much-chattered-about incident in September when Sen. John McCain stood Letterman up to race back to Washington deal with the financial crisis, only to appear on the “CBS Evening News” with Couric.

Letterman said he realized his mistake when he read a column in the New York Post scolding him for not raising the issue with Couric.

“Oh my God, he’s right,” the comedian said. “He’s absolutely right. I completely screwed that up.”

So Letterman got Couric on the phone to discuss exactly what went down.

“I read this article and I said, I’m the dumbest man alive,” he told her. “And you know, one more of these and I’m going to lose my talk show license.”

“You know, Dave, I was all prepped to chat with you about this,” she responded. “And you had like a brain synapse misfiring or something.”

Couric said she had no idea that McCain was supposed to appear on Letterman’s show until “you apparently had a little cow on the air.”

Watch the full exchange below.

-- Matea Gold

Katie Couric corrects Sarah Palin on reading question

In an appearance on the “Late Show with David Letterman” Wednesday night, Katie Couric discussed the now-infamous interviews Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin granted her during the presidential campaign.

The CBS anchor said that Palin might have been thrown by some of the initial questions she posed about her views on Vice President Dick Cheney and the Supreme Court decisions with which she disagreed.

And Couric took issue with one of Palin’s complaints about the interviews, which some said gave  impressions that the Republican vice presidential nominee was in over her head.

After the election, the Alaska governor told NBC’s Matt Lauer that she found it “a little bit annoying” when Couric asked her "you know, 'What do you read up there in Alaska?'"

“I read the same things that you guys read in New York -- and there in L.A. and in Washington state,” Palin told Lauer. “What do you mean what I read up there?”

But on Wednesday, Couric noted that she had merely asked Palin what newspapers and magazines she read -- without making any reference to Alaska.

“Nobody’s really asked her, 'Why didn’t you answer that question?'" the anchor told Letterman. “She claims I said, ‘What do you read up there in Alaska?’ as if people in Alaska don’t read, or don’t have access to reading materials. ... But I never said that. I’m aware that people in Alaska have access.”

“It was really something I was just curious about,” Couric added. “And I’m not sure whether she was afraid to offend certain people by -- you know, she would offend conservatives by saying she read the New York Times ... "

“She’s afraid of offending people who don’t read,” Letterman said. “Maybe that was it."

The Palin sessions helped spotlight the interview chops of the CBS anchor, although they failed to lift the ratings of the third-place “CBS Evening News.”

When asked by Letterman Wednesday if she has other aspirations in television journalism, Couric replied, “I love my job.”

“I mean, it’s been tough at times and challenging because I think we tried to make a lot of changes initially,” she said. “And I think just to have a new anchor person, a new face, someone that this very traditional evening news audience wasn’t used to, being a female and then sort of trying to, to redo the show slightly was probably too much too soon. But I think we’ve hit our stride.” 

“If it wasn’t hard, it wouldn’t be worth doing,” Letterman said.

“Exactly,” she responded. “You know, everyone says they want to get out of their comfort zone and try something new. But they kind of forget that that’s sometimes uncomfortable.” 

-- Matea Gold

80% of Americans relieved that they can stop thinking about politics

It seems most Americans are happy to stop thinking about politics for a while.

While some news junkies are still suffering from withdrawal in the wake of last week’s election, eight in 10 people do not miss following campaign news, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

The weekly News Interest Index, done in conjunction with Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, found that the election has consistently been the dominant story in the media for months, and the public followed the race more closely than any other presidential campaign in the last 20 years.

But for all of its intensity, the election didn’t produce many strong opinions about the media personalities who delivered the news. When asked to name their favorite campaign journalist, half of respondents couldn’t come up with one. And 60% didn’t have a least favorite.

The media personality who generated the strongest opinions was Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly, who topped the list of most favorite (5%) and least favorite (6%). Others listed as favorites were NBC’s Tom Brokaw (3%), Fox News’ Sean Hannity (3%), ABC’s Charles Gibson (2%) and MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann (2%).

The most disliked campaign journalists, after O’Reilly, included CBS’ Katie Couric (5%), Fox News in general (3%), Rush Limbaugh (3%) and Olbermann (3%).

NBC anchor Brian Williams appears to have fans on both sides of the aisle. He was the fifth-most popular journalist among both Republicans and Democrats.

-- Matea Gold

Sarah Palin's media tour continues

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin isn’t fading quietly into the night. Along with the sit-down she did this weekend with Fox News host Greta Van Susteren, scheduled to air tonight, the onetime Republican vice presidential nominee has lined up two other major television interviews.

Tuesday, NBC’s “Today” will air the first of Matt Lauer’s two-part interview with Palin. Lauer is interviewing her at the governor’s office in Anchorage and getting a tour of her home in Wasilla, where he’ll also speak with her husband and children.

And on Wednesday, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer will interview Palin in Miami, where she’ll be attending the Republican Governors Assn. conference.

— Matea Gold

Greta Van Susteren gets Sarah Palin, but Jay Leno gets John McCain

Mccain While his former running mate has chosen to talk to Fox News host Greta Van Susteren, Sen. John McCain has decided to grant his first post-election sit-down to NBC comedian Jay Leno.

The former Republican presidential candidate will appear on "The Tonight Show" Tuesday in honor of Veterans Day, the network announced this afternoon.

Perhaps it's not a coincidence that McCain chose Leno, whose late-night program goes head-to-head with the "Late Show with David Letterman." The CBS comedian, who relentlessly pounded the McCain-Palin ticket this fall after the GOP candidate stood him up, has continued the barbs since Tuesday's election.

"Obama is busy putting together his presidential cabinet," Letterman said during his monologue on Thursday's program. "Senator McCain is putting together his medicine cabinet: Maalox, Metamucil, Polident, on and on and on."

-- Matea Gold 

(Photo courtesy AP)

Barack Obama's election holds special significance for Bill Cosby

Ecrqqagw_2 The election of Barack Obama as president of the United States had a special significance for comedian and entertainer Bill Cosby. It was the realization of a dream that he felt was first visualized on the groundbreaking "The Cosby Show," which concentrated on the importance of education, hard work and parenting for black families.

"I can't negate the theory that the Huxtables on 'The Cosby Show' may have helped pave the way for the Obama family," Cosby said today. "People enjoyed watching that black family," he said, noting that the Huxtables were a two-parent unit with an educated father and mother constantly loving their children while correcting them. He said the dynamics of the families who brought up Barack and Michelle Obama closely mirrored the Huxtables' commitment to success and excellence.

On the show, Cosby played Cliff Huxtable, an obstetrician who lived with his attorney wife Claire (Phylicia Rashad) and four of their five kids in a New York brownstone.

"The Cosby Show," which aired on NBC from 1984 to 1992, was the top-rated series during the mid-1980s and turned NBC at that time into the No. 1 network. Though it sparked an avalanche of family sitcoms, it was also criticized at the time for what many felt was an unrealistic portrayal of African Americans.

A 25th anniversary DVD box set of the series is scheduled to be released shortly.

Quipped Cosby with a laugh: "For all those people who said they didn't know any black folks like the Huxtables, I wonder if they will watch the show now."

-- Greg Braxton

(Photo courtesy AP)

Fox News' Greta Van Susteren scores first post-election interview with Sarah Palin

Greta Fox News host Greta Van Susteren has landed the first post-election interview with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the network announced today.

The host of “On the Record” is flying Saturday to Alaska, where she’ll interview the onetime Republican vice presidential candidate on Sunday and Monday. The taped interview will air on her program Monday evening.

Palin is granting the interview after being been pummeled in the press for the last several days by unnamed aides to Sen. John McCain, who said that she made exorbitant clothing expenditures beyond what had been previously reported, and lacked basic knowledge of world affairs.

In the days since she and McCain lost the election, the Alaska governor has been besieged with interview requests from the likes of Barbara Walters, Larry King and Oprah Winfrey. But she chose Van Susteren, who has objected to the bashing of Palin by unnamed aides.

“The sniping at Gov. Palin after the election by ‘anonymous’ sources is rotten,” Van Susteren wrote on her blog today. “I have said over and over and over again, it is our job in journalism to be aggressive in challenging politicians ... but it is not right to gratuitously trash someone ... and worse, it becomes “conventional wisdom” giving some journalists blinders -- meaning they don’t step back and investigate for themselves but rather go with the so-called conventional wisdom ... that is not fair to the politician and is not a good for journalism or the First Amendment ... our goal is to get information and let the people decide.”

Some of the sharpest charges were reported by her Fox News colleague, correspondent Carl Cameron, who said he was told that Palin didn’t know which countries were members of the North American Free Trade Agreement or that Africa was a continent.

“All these things caused great doubts,” Cameron told Bill O’Reilly on Wednesday.

Palin’s spokeswoman has released a statement calling the allegations untrue and “sickening.”

Van Susteren, who interviewed Palin during the campaign, plans to talk to her about the accusations by McCain aides and her political future.

-- Matea Gold

(Photo courtesy Fox News)

David Alan Grier parties like it's 1863, thanks to Obama

How did David Alan Grier celebrate the election of Barack Obama on Wednesday?

He partied "like it's 1863" on his new Comedy Central show, "Chocolate News."

Grier always opens his sketch comedy show with a monologue in which he implores someone, somewhere, not to lose their d*** minds over something.  On Wednesday's "Landslide Edition," Grier had the following to say:

Holy [expletive], did we just elect Barack Obama "President of the United States?"

I got to be honest, America. I didn't think you had it in you. That is a 7-million vote TKO. You were not playin' around because you just put a black man with a brown name in the White House. Ain't this a [expletive that rhymes with witch] ?

President Barack Obama, mmm, mmm, mmm. Words so sweet they melt in your mouth. Now, I don't know about you, but I got to scream. AAAGH!

I think about all the stories my grandmother told me about being raised in the segregated South, marching as a little boy with the Martin Luther King Jr, I never thought I would live to see this day in my lifetime. (Grier actually choked up during this part.)

It is incredible. To have my own show, here on Comedy Central. I'm excited! And the Obama thing -- that's cool too.

Now, I hate to stick my junk in the jello. But, Barack, you cannot screw this up. This is a once-in-the-millennium opportunity because if you drop the ball, every brother and sister from Memphis to Mozambique will go down faster than Lindsay Lohan at the WNBA All-Star weekend.

So a few suggestions, Barack:

Ignore those parts of your black half that may make you wanna, oh, I don't know, smoke crack with a hooker in a D.C. motel, text message bootie calls to your chief of staff while having a buck-naked stripper party at the Detroit mayoral mansion, or create a show called House of Payne.

And while you're at it, ignore the parts of your white half that make you wanna lie to the country to start a war, watch New Orleans drown because you just don't give a d*** and don't...

(This last part  involved Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky and a cigar and it cannot be printed in a family newspaper.)

Barack Obama, please, I am begging, do not lose your d*** mind!

From there, Grier showcased a special interview with an Obama campaign volunteer named Peanut Wiggins.

Please to enjoy.

-- Maria Elena Fernandez

Obama's victory draws more than 71 million viewers, a record audience

Barack Obama’s historic win of the presidency Tuesday night captured the attention of more than 71 million television viewers, a record audience for a presidential election, capping an election season that saw interest in political news reach new heights.

Nearly a quarter of all television viewers in the United States watched the results come in between 5 and 8 p.m. PST on 14 networks, far outstripping the number who tuned in for the last two presidential elections, according to Nielsen Media Research.

In 2004, 59.2 million people watched President Bush defeat Sen. John Kerry. Four years earlier, about 61.6 million viewers followed the coverage of the matchup between Bush and then-Vice President Al Gore.

Nielsen's measurement does not include all the networks that carried the election coverage; PBS, C-SPAN and other cable networks were not counted in the ratings.

The winning network of the night was ABC, whose anchor trio of Charles Gibson, Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos drew an average of 13.13 million viewers, the most of any broadcast or cable channel.

It marked the first time since 1996 that ABC has gotten the largest audience on a presidential election night and comes as Gibson is locked in a tight battle with NBC’s Brian Williams for the crown of top-rated evening news anchor.

ABC News President David Westin credited the network’s win to its determination to “make it about the story, not about us.”

And on a night when the networks loaded up on technological tricks like holograms and virtual graphics, he noted that ABC “used technology in the service of substance, not for its own sake, which helped.”

It remains to be seen whether ABC’s victory will pay dividends for “World News,” its flagship evening broadcast. So far this season, the newscast has averaged 7.95 million viewers, down 2% from last season, while “NBC Nightly News” is up slightly with an average of 8.06 million. “CBS Evening News” trails with 6.04 million viewers.

“I think it helps any network to have a lot of people see their anchor in this setting, and you would think it would help in the long run, but I don’t think we’ll see an immediate effect,” said Westin, adding that he views election coverage as a public service more than a competitive tool.

Aside from ABC’s win, this year’s election night viewership underscored the growing strength of the cable news networks, which have seen their audiences surge during the presidential campaign. On Tuesday, CNN –- which showcased some of the flashiest technology of the night -- drew the second-largest audience in prime time, with 12.3 million viewers. That was 98% more than tuned into CNN’s 2004 election coverage and the biggest viewership in the network’s 28-year history.

NBC took third place with 12.02 million viewers, down 18% from four years ago, while Fox News followed with 9.04 million viewers, up 12%.

Despite the positive buzz CBS anchor Katie Couric attracted this fall for her political interviews, her election night special lagged behind the competitors, pulling in just 7.83 million viewers, a decline of 14% from four years ago.

MSNBC followed with 5.89 million viewers, but enjoyed the biggest gains of any network –- a spike of 108% over 2004. The Fox broadcast network placed last with 5.14 million viewers.

-- Matea Gold

UPDATED: Comedy Central's 'fake' anchors deliver real news

While most of us were hanging on the words of Charlie, Brian, Wolf, Brit and Katie last night, waiting for the official network projections of the winner of the 2008 presidential race, some chose to get the news from less traditional sources.

Over on Comedy Central, which put on a live "Indecision 2008" special, comedian Jon Stewart broke from his sardonic character for a moment to announce at 8 p.m. PST that Barack Obama had won the presidency. (So much for only offering "fake news.")

As the audience cheered wildly, Stewart's co-anchor, Stephen Colbert, peered at his laptop. "Jon, McCain can still pull this thing out," he said, tongue planted firmly in cheek.

Watch here:

UPDATE: Maybe Stewart should try reporting real news more often. Tuesday's Comedy Central special shattered ratings records for the network, delivering 3.1 million viewers. It was the most-watched election special ever for the entertainment channel, drawing 45% more viewers than Stewart's "Prelude to a Recount" special on election night in 2004.

But last night's special still didn't get as many viewers as Stewart's interview with Barack Obama on the Oct. 29 edition of "The Daily Show," when a record 3.6 million people tuned in.

-- Matea Gold


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