Fox News has dominated cable news ratings forever. The prime time lineup including its heavy-hitter, “The O’Reilly Factor,” has been at the top of the ratings heap essentially for two decades. This of course is well known but curiously none of the ‘big 3’ networks has ever aired their own equivalent of “Hannity,” “The O’Reilly Factor,” “The Kelly Files,” (soon to be forgotten in the wake of Tucker Carlson) or other proven money makers.
The hiring of former cable news ratings queen Megyn Kelly marked a departure from that precedent and sparked many in and around the industry including knowledgeable insiders to speculate that NBC was the first of the broadcast networks to come to its financial sense and attempt to become the new Fox News.
Another female, friendly, well-known-to-viewers personality — Oprah Winfrey – has announced that she has been named a ‘special contributor’ to CBS News’ ’60 Minutes.’ Yes, 60 Minutes. That 70’s era holdout that just won’t go away lumbers into its 50th season on the air this year, seemingly having outlasted Father Time himself. There is virtually no one left in America who cannot remember seeing and hearing that ticking stopwatch take segments of “60 Minutes” into commercial breaks as a kid.
With this hire CBS News is clearly moving a direction opposite its competition, NBC News. A known liberal and one of the biggest Obama cheerleaders of the past eight years, Winfrey is about as stark a contrast to Megyn Kelly as other notable women in news media like Rachel Maddow.
60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager called Winfrey “a remarkable and talented woman with a level of integrity that sets her apart and makes her a perfect fit for 60 Minutes.”
Oprah won’t be a regular host, anchored to a chair or desk on the set but rather will provide special reports on a recurring basis. Winfrey said her aim with her 60 Minutes stories is “to look at what separates us, and help facilitate real conversations between people from different backgrounds.”
While that sounds and is admirable, it also sounds a whole lot like the ‘hope and change’ agenda that Americans bought into in 2008. The result? Twelve major riots in our metropolitan cities in the past eight years, police officers being hunted and gunned down in our streets and a palpable tensioning of race relations in America.
Still, Winfrey’s intentions are probably good and she finds herself in fond company at CBS where her BFF gal-pal Gayle King co-anchors the morning show.
Exactly what NBC is going to do with Kelly remains to be seen, but reports are that NBC News will pit her directly against Oprah and 60 Minutes with a brand new newsmagazine show that will also air on Sunday evenings.
And there we have it. One network staking its claim on the left, the other on the right(-ish).
[Note: This article was written by Derrick Wilburn]