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Morning news talk shows have turned the first week of April into a ratings battleground

By TVDeeva Deanna Barnert Apr 3, 2012 7:46AM

Daytime's morning news talk shows have turned the first week of April into a virtual battleground. Katie Couric stepped in as co-host at "Good Morning America" for the week, while Oprah Winfrey got up early to chat with "CBS This Morning" Monday. With all the action afoot, long time ratings winner "Today" stepped up its game with surprise hosts Meredith Vieira and Sarah Palin, while also promising a big NBC announcement from Ryan Seacrest on Wednesday.

 

Bing:More about Katie Couric | Sarah Palin | Ryan Seacrest


The war for morning viewers has been waging for decades, but "Today" has been winning the battle since 1995. ABC News chief Ben Sherwood raised the gauntlet at the January TCA press tour, however, declaring that "Good Morning America" will take back the mornings.

"The 'Today' show is very mighty, and they’ve been very mighty for a very long time. It’s an incredible priority for us to take on, to challenge, and to topple the 'Today' show," Sherwood said. "In the last year, 'Good Morning America' has grown significantly. We’re really enjoying the best season we’ve had in about four years, while cutting NBC’s lead by about 30 to 40 percent. If we keep going at this rate, I believe that we will get to our goal, which is to be No. 1 in the morning."

CBS also got into the game at the beginning of the year, launching "CBS This Morning" with Charlie King, Erica Hill and Gayle King. "CBS has not been No. 1 since 'Captain Kangaroo,'" Gayle King admitted at the TCA, but the net is clearly hoping to change that.

In fact, CBS probably thought it had a clear victory in the bag for at least one day of the week when it announced Oprah Winfrey's Monday visit, but then ABC and NBC got into the ring. Here's how it's all playing out:

Winfrey vs. Couric vs. Vierra: On Monday, Winfrey came for a sit-down with her BFF King and the "CBS This Morning" crew, revealing she might not have launched OWN had she realized what a struggle it would be. Couric, meanwhile, kicked off her week at "GMA" with a clip about her driver accidentally taking her to the wrong morning show -- you know, the one where she got her start. Wink, wink. Of course, that other morning show, "Today," took its own swing on Monday by bringing back former host Meredith Vieira, who revealed she'll be part of NBC’s Summer Games coverage from London, and by taking a call from Sarah Palin.

Couric vs. Palin, Round 2: The first showdown between Couric and Palin was back in October 2008 on "Today," and Couric prevailed. On Tuesday, the ladies face off again -- this time for ratings. Couric continues at "Good Morning America," while Palin co-hosts the 8 a.m. hour of "Today." When Palin called in Monday to promote her gig, Matt Lauer didn't hesitate to reference Round 1. “What are you doing to prepare? Are you reading some newspapers?” he teased. Guest host Vieira couldn't help landing a crack as well, quipping that Palin's gig was a sign of "desperation," rather than NBC's efforts to represent diverse opinions. Ouch.

The Seacrest Effect: NBC hedged its bets by tweeting that Ryan Seacrest will make a big NBC announcement on "Today." There's been plenty of unsubstantiated buzz about "Today" trying to draft the "American Idol" host, who also produces tons of shows on NBC's sister network E!. All that's known for certain, however, is that, with Matt Lauer's contract expiring at the end of the year, NBC wined and dined super host Seacrest in December. So what will Seacrest announce? He could be checking in to celebrate Lauer's new "Today" contract or his own new contract with the show, but he might just be joining NBC Olympic coverage team, like Vieira. It could be something else altogether, and the mystery is one more way "Today" hopes to lure viewers away from Couric at "GMA."

With all that's happening, the show's guest lists could change.

"Today," "Good Morning America" and "CBS This Morning" air weekday mornings on NBC, ABC and CBS respectively.

 

Wait, Donald's a nervous sailor? But that outfit...

By MSN TV Partner Aug 7, 2014 4:44PM
In homage to the classic Mickey Mouse cartoons, Disney Channel has been showing "Mickey Mouse" shorts, featuring Mickey and his BFFs, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy and Pluto. Hilarious situations that are fun for kids and grown-ups alike.

In this new short premiering tomorrow, Donald reveals he doesn’t know how to sail - his outfit is purely due to the fact that Daisy loves a, um, man in uniform.

MSN TV has this exclusive image from the short. You can also view a clip here:

The Mickey Mouse short "Donald the Sailor" airs at 8:55 p.m. ET/PT on Friday August 8 on Disney Channel.
 

Geek alert: 'Mythbusters' hosts lend their voices in this special episode

By MSN TV Partner Jul 24, 2014 2:24PM
Loads of fans are getting their geek on at Comic-Con this weekend. For the rest of us, there is the upcoming "Star Wars" themed "Phineas & Ferb" special episode. The animated stepbrothers and their friends will find themselves in a parallel universe, during "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope". Expect encounters with the major players, including Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2.

MSN TV has this exclusive image of "Mythbusters" hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman as members of the Empire:

Creators and executive producers Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh expressed their excitement about adding Savage and Hyneman to the cast: "We’ve been wanting to do something with them for ages, because they are the living adult versions of Phineas and Ferb in the real world. We ran into them at Comic-Con last year and knew that they worked on the original 'Star Wars', so when this opportunity came up we asked if they could come voice a few characters for us. It was really cool for us; we're hoping it was cool for them."

It's definitely cool for us!

"Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars" premieres July 26 at 9PM ET/PT on Disney Channel.
 

The animated host reveals her thoughts on new twists for Season 16

By MSN TV Partner Jun 24, 2014 9:07AM
Last week CBS announced some new twists in the upcoming season of "Big Brother" and also introduced the new cast. Just in time for the two-night premiere, MSN TV has exclusive photos of host Julie Chen hamming it up for the cameras. Chen also shared a little bit more insight into what to expect this season.

Photos: Reality TV villains

Photo Credit: Bill Inoshita/CBSOn which of the new twists will have the most impact on Houseguest survival week after week:
Julie Chen: "I think "Battle of the Block" will have the most impact on a Houseguest's ability to survive.  First, those competing in it will literally be fighting for their lives in the game.  Second, it will get one of the HOHs (Head of Households) into BIG trouble.  Let’s just say that if I were HOH, I would nominate two weak players."

Video: Meet the new 'Big Brother' houseguests


Photo Credit: Bill Inoshita/CBS
On the rooms and design of this season's tree house theme:
"My favorite room in the urban tree house this year is the honeycomb room.  It's cozy and secluded.  A perfect spot to 'buzz' with your alliance members about your team's strategy.  The room has a door you can close for piracy from others.  This is key to have in the house if you want to scheme!"

Video: Take a tour of the 'Big Brother' Tree house

Photo Credit: Bill Inoshita/CBSOn her most memorable "Big Brother" interview:
"One of my memorable Big Brother interviews was last year with Aaryn.   I had to check my feelings and ego at the door and set aside any personal bad feelings I had for her ugly comments.  I had to do my job and be fair and straight despite how personally offended I was.  It wasn't easy, but it was memorable." 

Photo Credit: Bill Inoshita/CBS

"Big Brother" premieres June 25 at 8PM ET/PT on CBS.

(Photo Credit: Bill Inoshita/CBS) 

Wayne Brady's improv skills nab a nomination for best original song, a first for the show

By MSN TV Partner Jun 18, 2014 11:06AM
The Daytime Emmy Awards are around the corner, and CBS' "Let's Make a Deal" has three nominations. In addition to Best Game Show, host Wayne Brady is nominated twice. No surprise that Brady picked up his fifth nomination for Best Game Show Host, but thanks to those stellar improv skills Brady also finds himself in the Best Original Song category. With the help of keyboardist Cat Gray, watch Brady create this impromptu tune for adoring fan and contestant Daphne:
Over the years, Brady has collected a number of Emmy nominations, and won twice for Best Talk Show Host (for "The Wayne Brady Show"). He also won a Primetime Emmy for his work on "Whose Line Is It Anyway."

The current version of "Let's Make A Deal" has been nominated for Best Game Show twice. This is the first time the show's been nominated in the Best Song category.

"Let's Make A Deal" airs weekdays on CBS. The 41st Daytime Emmys Awards will be live streamed at 8PM ET on June 22 at www.daytimeemmys.net.


 

No sparkles here. "This is absolute, pure horror."

By MSN TV Partner Jun 17, 2014 1:10PM
Earlier this month we shared the trailer for FX's "The Strain", the vampire thriller from director Guillermo del Toro. Today, courtesy of Xbox Video and FX, we are showcasing two behind-the-scenes clips.

Learn more about the story of this modernized vampire world and hear from the cast and crew, including Corey Stoll, Mia Maestro, David Bradley and Sean Astin, as well as director del Toro and executive producer Carlton Cuse ("Lost").


The Season Pass for "The Strain" is now available on Xbox Video.

"The Strain" premieres July 13 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX.
 

Plus, watch a DVD extra, "Fact and Fiction Collide"

By MSN TV Jun 10, 2014 9:24AM
Just in time for the 5th season premiere, MSN TV is giving away the Season 4 DVD of TNT's "Rizzoli & Isles". At the end of Season 4, the popular series left us wondering last season if Jane (Angie Harmon) might be pregnant.

Season 4 is also the final season featuring cast member Lee Thompson Young, who committed suicide last year. Young played detective Barry Frost, and the "R&I" will pay tribute to the actor the first two episodes of the upcoming season.

Watch our exclusive DVD extra, "Fact and Fiction Collide" where you get more insight behind the Paddy Doyle storylines. Then enter our giveaway:

1. Like MSN TV on Facebook or Twitter

2. Tweet or comment the following message: I want to win the @MSNTV #Rizzoli&Isles giveaway

3. Email msn_tv_buzz@hotmail.com with the following message: I want to win the @MSNTV #Rizzoli&Isles giveaway

And that's it! Complete both steps by 11:59 p.m. PT on June 16, 2014 and we'll select two winners at random by 12 p.m. PT June 17, 2014.

Other details:
Open to U.S. residents only but no P.O. Boxes, please. We will not distribute your email address. Your email address will only be used to notify you if you are the winner of this giveaway. The prize will be shipped directly from Warner Bros. to the winners.

"Rizzoli & Isles" Season 5 premieres June 17 at 9PM ET/PT  on TNT. "Rizzoli & Isles: The Complete Fourth Season" is now available in stores and online.

 

Exclusive pics gives perspective from Drew Carey's suit lapel

By MSN TV Partner Jun 2, 2014 11:17AM
This week is Socially Awesome Week on "The Price Is Right", where followers have been and will be participating via Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.

For Tuesday's Pinterest show, host Drew Carey wore a camera on his lapel, which snapped candid shots throughout the taping. Get a first look at a few of these photos from the episode, first on MSN TV:

In the dressing room, Mr. Carey sans glasses!
Photo Credit: CBSGetting ready for the cameras:
lPhoto credit: CBSSpinning the wheel:
Photo credit: CBSCool prizes:
Photo credit: CBSTuesday will also feature a sweepstakes where fans will have the opportunity to enter to win a trip to Hawaii via Pinterest.

Other highlights from this week includes Friday's "You Decide" show, which will feature fan-driven content decided by the show's Twitter audience. "The Young and The Restless" stars Melissa Ordway and Daniel Goddard will appear as guest models as well. 

Watch a preview here:
For all of the shows social handles, www.priceisright.com

"The Price Is Right" airs weekdays 11AM ET, 10AM PT on CBS. The special Pinterest episode airs June 3.
 

Official extended trailer for the upcoming vampire horror series

By MSN TV Partner Jun 2, 2014 9:06AM
This summer, Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan brings their best-selling vampire horror novels to the small screen. Corey Stoll and Mia Maestro star as members of a special CDC team sent in to investigate unexplainable viral outbreaks.

Thanks to our friends at Xbox Video, see the official extended trailer for FX's "The Strain" before it is available anywhere else:



The Season Pass for The Strain is now available on Xbox Video.

More "The Strain"
| "The Strain" on Facebook

"The Strain" premieres July 13 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX.

What summer premieres are you excited for? Tell us on Facebook and Twitter.