Tale of the tape

By Published on .

With the arrival of Mark Hoffman to replace CNBC President-CEO Pamela Thomas-Graham (who moves up to chairman), the future of two of Ad Age's favorite talking heads is in question.

"Topic [A] with Tina Brown" and "The Big Idea With Donny Deutsch" have sparked much industry speculation. When asked about the future of the prime-time line up, Mr. Hoffman said, "I don't know. Let's revisit that in a month." Surely not the answer Tina or Donny were hoping for.

Donny Deutsch

AGE: 47

SHOW: "The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch"

WHEN: Weeknights, 10 p.m.

AVERAGE RATING: 0.l; 59,000 households; 18-49, 39,000 households.

COST PER :30 Less than $1,000

SAMPLE ADVERTISERS: CNBC prime time is sold as a package rather than by show. Recent prime time sponsors include Aflac, Cisco, IBM, Lexus, Nortel and Xerox.

LOWEST BOOKER MOMENTS: Contestants fired from NBC's "The Apprentice" show up every Friday; rejects from "American Idol"

BEST GETS: Director Quentin Tarantino, Playboy's Hugh Hefner, Actor Robert Redford, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

WHAT MEDIA BUYERS THINK: "It's shameless self-promotion, but God bless him, he's got his own show."

OUR PREDICTION: CNBC seems to be betting on the "Big Idea" for the moment. Donny's willingness to pick up some of the production costs likely will help keep it on the air.

Tina Brown

AGE: 51

SHOW: "Topic [A] With Tina Brown"

WHEN: Sundays, 8 p.m.

AVERAGE RATING: 0.1; 68,000 households; 18-49, 25,000 households

COST PER :30 Less than $1,000.


LOWEST BOOKER MOMENTS: Super nanny Jo Frost, who's saving the world one snotty brat at a time; porn magnate Steven Hirsh, who outlined what he's looking for in the next Jenna Jameson: "If she can perform well."

BEST GETS: Disney CEO Michael Eisner, hip hop mogul Russell Simmons, Sen. John McCain

WHAT MEDIA BUYERS THINK: "I'm not convinced she's the be-all, end-all savior of the network or even that she's got anything that interesting to say."

OUR PREDICTION: Could be toast. Tina's a close friend of Pamela Thomas-Graham's, and would have to broaden her appeal if she has any hope of creating a viable prime-time show.

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