Tina Brown’s buzz has simmered to a fizz, if ratings for her network debut “Topic A With Tina Brown” are any indication.
On Wednesday, according to Nielsen, roughly 74,000 viewers clicked on to CNBC at 9 p.m. to view Brown, the former Vanity Fair and New Yorker editor who has always generated talk — whether for the magazine she launched with Miramax, or her cocktail parties. (Numbers were better among insomniacs and West Coast viewers, with the midnight repeat averaging 116,000 viewers.)
On other news nets, Fox’s “Hannity & Colmes” drew more than 2 million, while CNN’s “Larry King Live” averaged 1.5 million.
Like the mag Talk, which folded in 2002, Brown’s discussion-forum one-hour show, which will air quarterly, is based on blending worlds.
“I want to mix media. Politics, literature, history, all together on one show. I’m looking for a fun juxtaposition,” she told Daily Variety. “It’s about the mix.”
The mix was not altogether revolutionary, however, and instead resembled a roundup of Brown’s chums, including media mogul Barry Diller, Talk Miramax authors Simon Schama and Queen Noor of Jordan (Brown remains chairman of the book division) and New Yorker scribe Malcolm Gladwell. Requisite color was provided by Bill O’Reilly, who offered advice to the tyro host (“Be specific, Tina!”)
The followup “Topic A” will turn its lens toward Hollywood. Guests are yet to be named, but Brown said the show would focus on “the tensions between art and commerce and the conglomeration of the studio world.”
A Hollywood-centric program was planned for the original “Topic A” preem in March to tie in with the Oscars, but when the show was delayed because of the war in Iraq, Brown went back to the drawing board.