You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

News vets get scandalous boost

Chung, Rivera see ratings uptick over Levy scandal

Boosted by public interest in the story of missing intern Chandra Levy, Geraldo Rivera and Connie Chung — two veteran newsies whose careers have been checkered with controversy — have seen their profiles raised in recent days.

The question is: How long will that last?

In landing the first interview with California Rep. Gary Condit — who has admitted to having an affair with Levy — last week, Chung scored the biggest “get” since Barbara Walters nabbed Monica Lewinsky in 1999. Not only did she beat out the other news competish, Chung also outdid her ABC News’ colleagues Diane Sawyer and Walters.

Likewise, Rivera has ridden the mystery of the missing intern to Nielsen pay dirt. Compared with the previous July, “Rivera Live” saw a 66% uptick in households (from 279,000 to 462,000) — some of his best numbers since the O.J. Simpson saga.

The Condit interview marks a big comeback for Chung, who has had her fair share of career setbacks. Since joining ABC in 1997 two years after being fired from CBS, Chung has largely seen her star eclipsed by Sawyer and Walters.

Meanwhile, even with his strong summer numbers, NBC’s $30 million, six-year bet on Rivera in 1997 isn’t paying off the way the company probably had hoped.

One NBC exec noted that in spite of the Condit bump, Rivera is trailing his cable competish.

For 2001 to date, “Rivera Live” has averaged 324,000 households — a dramatic dip from the heady days of 1998 when he averaged 705,000 households. Even during Levy-fueled July, CNN’s “Larry King Live” (942,000 households) and “Hannity & Colmes” on Fox News (558,000 households) easily topped Rivera in the time period.

It’s unlikely NBC will be willing to keep footing Rivera’s annual $5 million bill when his current deal expires next year. After all, even Bill O’Reilly’s “The O’Reilly Factor,” which has driven ratings at Fox News through the roof, isn’t raking in that much dough.

Rivera himself is said to be ambivalent about continuing his daily gig on CNBC.

On the record, NBC execs were adamant that they’re still thrilled with him.

More TV


    SAG-AFTRA Commercial Negotiations Set for February

    With no fanfare, SAG-AFTRA and the ad industry have set a mid-February start for negotiations for a successor deal to the union’s master contract, Variety has learned. The current three-year deal — which covers about $1 billion in annual earnings — expires on March 31. SAG-AFTRA and the Joint Policy Committee of the ad industry [...]

  • FILE - In this April 5,

    Eliza Dushku Received $9.5 Million Settlement Over Misconduct on 'Bull' Set

    Eliza Dushku received a $9.5 million settlement from CBS after the actress alleged she was the subject of several inappropriate comments on the set of “Bull,” according to the New York Times. Dushku appeared in the first season of the procedural, initially being brought on for a three-episode arc with plans to make her a [...]

  • Jingle Punks Jingle Player

    Jingle Punks at 10: How the Production Music Platform's Player Works

    Though its primary function is creative, Jingle Punks is built on a foundation of technology and administration. The patented Jingle Player that lets customers search for music using pop culture terms is both intuitive and efficient. Typing in “Reservoir Dogs” or “Starbucks” generates suggestions. Queries are monitored “so if there isn’t an exact match, we’ll suggest [...]

  • Star Trek: Discovery

    TV Roundup: 'Star Trek: Discovery' Season 2 Premiere Date Set at CBS All Access

    In today’s TV News Roundup, the premiere date is announced for season two of “Star Trek: Discovery” on CBS All Access. FIRST LOOKS “Relics and Rarities,” a new RPG series based on the classic game Dungeons & Dragons, will premiere on subscription service Alpha in February 2019. Hosted by Deborah Ann Woll (“Daredevil,” “True Blood”) [...]

  • Logan Lerman

    Logan Lerman in Talks to Star in Jordan Peele's 'The Hunt' at Amazon

    Jordan Peele’s upcoming Nazi hunter drama at Amazon, “The Hunt,” has potentially found its lead. Logan Lerman is in talks to star in the drama series as Jonah Heidelbaum. When his grandmother is slain by a mysterious intruder in their apartment, Jonah sets out to track the culprit, only to find himself swept up in the [...]

  • Milo Ventimiglia'Second Act' film premiere, Arrivals,

    Milo Ventimiglia on 'This Is Us' Golden Globes Snub

    “This Is Us” critics and fans were shocked when the NBC hit received no love from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association earlier this week with zero Golden Globes nods. The show, after all, was nominated for three Golden Globes last year, including best television drama. Plus, Sterling K. Brown won the 2018 statue for best [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez

    Jennifer Lopez 'Absolutely' Wants to Direct Film and Television

    Jennifer Lopez epitomizes the phrase “she’s done it all” — but there’s still more that the superstar would like to do. Lopez recently directed her first music video, “Limitless,” the track featured on her new rom-com “Second Act,” and it seems the multi-hyphenate has caught the directing bug. “Absolutely, absolutely,” Lopez responded when asked by [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content