Network distinguishes itself from competitors
Fox Business Network launched with some expected glitches, but also some truly Foxian points of differentiation from competitor CNBC, including weather updates, sports and a computerized “mall cam.”Among the gaffes, morning anchor Alexis Glick apologized to Sen. Hillary Clinton for addressing her as “Hillary,” and the taped interview cut off the senator midway through her answer to a question. Glick apologized and told viewers the interview would air in longer form on Tuesday. Also Monday, Glick’s co-anchor Peter Barnes did a segment in Times Square on a $1.5 million Bugatti, “the fastest, most powerful, most expensive street-legal car in the world,” but couldn’t start the car. At least 20 minutes of the 5 p.m. show “Happy Hour,” set in the Bull & Bear bar in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, aired without sound in Manhattan, a glitch Fox blamed on Time Warner Cable. Out of the gate, Fox Business’ morning show “Money for Breakfast” seemed determined to differentiate itself from CNBC and broaden its appeal by adding weather reports for business travelers and sports stories to the business news formula, including an interview with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. There were the requisite stunts, including having Glick ring the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange, which CNBC carried live, and a standup from CNBC headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, where “Money for Breakfast” stocks anchor Liz MacDonald quipped, “It’s hunting season and we hear that peacocks are in season!” There was also some navel-gazing: Guests on the show, including Clinton and Kraft, congratulated the network on its first day on the air, and the net did a segment on its own website, which also launched Monday. “We’re basically launching two channels,” Fox News boss Roger Ailes told Fortune. “We’re launching a cable channel and an Internet channel.” Among other innovations was a new take on the stock ticker. Rather than having ticker signs and share prices scroll by, Fox Business groups stocks by sector and then flashes each company in a group individually. Throughout the morning, competitor CNBC aired 30-second spots on Fox Business Channel, including one starring business talisman Jack Welch, urging viewers on Time Warner’s cable systems in Gotham to switch to CNBC on channel 15. Fox Business also found time for frivolity — even silliness — on a day that the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 100 points. At noon, during a segment called “Daily Diversion,” Fox Business aired a piece about Australian bartenders trying to mix drinks while bungee jumping from a bridge. Another feature, also carried on the website, asked whether “CEOs with extreme hobbies” should “give investors pause.” A posterchild for the risk-taking CEO, Richard Branson, was to appear on “America’s Nightly Scoreboard” at 7 p.m. to announce a business venture, Virgin Money, and to discuss the fate of his friend, Steve Fossett. On Wednesday, the net’s 5 p.m. show “Happy Hour” will host the cast of the Off Broadway corporate satire “Walmartopia” to sing its opening number “A New Age Has Begun.” In a bid to appeal to viewership beyond Wall Street, the net posted a correspondent at Minnesota’s Mall of America with a computerized “mall cam” to keep an eye on shoppers. Dark wash jeans: in. Recognizable brands: in. Lowrise cut: out.
Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more