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‘SNL’ GOP Debate Skit Puts ‘Marriott TV’ In Suite Above Comcast Critic Bloomberg

10/24/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

In a case of art kind of imitating life, NBC’s
Saturday Night Live took a shot at Bloomberg TV on
Oct. 15 in a skit about “Yet Another Republican Debate. “

The SNL debate was being broadcast live from “conference
room five in the Cedar Falls Courtyard Marriott”
by Marriott TV, “your in-room guide to everything
our hotel has to offer.”

Host “Sandy Schaub” (Vanessa Bayer) identifi ed it as the
second GOP debate of the week. “The first of which was
held by Bloomberg TV, while tonight’s debate takes place
on the only channel people tune into less. As a reminder to
the candidates, no one’s watching, so the stakes are low.”

In the non-SNL world, Bloomberg had broadcast the
Oct. 11 Republican debate from Dartmouth College in
New Hampshire, focused on the economy given that it
is a business-news channel.

The tweak of Bloomberg’s audience reach from
the famously equal opportunity tweakers at Lorne
Michaels’ shop — the same folks who’ve skewered
Kabletown’s (i.e. Comcast’s) takeover of NBCUniversal
on NBC’s 30 Rock the last couple of years — came as
NBCU parent Comcast continues to spar with Bloomberg
TV over carriage of the news channel.

Bloomberg TV has asked that it be carried alongside
CNBC, CNN and Fox News Channel on Comcast’s systems
in top markets,
arguing that the FCC
made that a condition
of the NBCU merger.
Comcast has pointedly
argued that Bloomberg
TV is misreading the
condition.

A Bloomberg rep
did not reply to a request
for comment .
No word from Comcast
on whether it will
consider adding Marriott
TV to its news channel
lineups/groupings/
neighborhoods per the
FCC condition. And an
FCC spokesman was
not contacted for comment
on the possible
addition of Marriott TV because, well, that was a joke.

Bloomberg TV is not Nielsen-rated, but The New York
Times
cited a Kantar Media study of set-top box data in
estimating that 1.3 million viewers watched the Oct. 11
debate. Fox News Channel drew 6.1 million viewers to a
Sept. 22 GOP clash, while CNN had 5.5 million viewers
for its Republican face-off last Tuesday. Both have many
more subscribers than Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, on the subject of “yet another” debate,
FNC has added two more GOP smackdowns to the
schedule, for a total of 14 still to come. None from conference
room five.

Animal Planet Finds
Bigfoot and Beer
Makes Hour Happy

The legend of Bigfoot still has major appeal among sci-fi
enthusiasts, judging by the crowd around Animal Planet’s
booth during the Oct. 13-15 New York Comic Con.

Then, it could have been Animal Planet’s Oct. 13
“Bigfoot and Brew” happy-hour event at the booth that
captured the interest of sci-fi geeks and consumers alike.
The network offered a barrel full of Belgian-style Yeti Ale
to Comic Con goers to help tout its Finding Bigfoot series,
but after the beer was quaffed in under 30 minutes, the
network was forced to purchase another six kegs of good
old-fashioned beer to keep attendees from storming the
booth during the twohour
event.

Meanwhile nearly
350 people – including
a handful of uniquely
dressed Comic Con
goers (a gentleman in
a Lone Ranger outfi t
particularly caught the
attention of panel host
and 30 Rock star Judah
Friedlander
and the
four member Bigfoot
Field Research Organization
Team
panel)
— packed into a small
room in the Jacob
Javits Center to catch an approximately 15-minute preview
of Animal Planet’s Oct. 30 Halloween special of
its Finding Bigfoot series. The special showcases the
team as they trudge into California’s Redwood National
Forest to re-create the famous 1967 Patterson-Gimlin
footage that started the Bigfoot legend.

Outside on the Comic Con floor, more than 1,000
attendees visited Animal Planet’s large 20-by-30-foot
booth to take pictures of themselves with a Bigfoot
stand-in, or to cut a video of themselves making a
“sasquatch call” used to draw the beast.

TWC’s Notes From
Underground Aimed
At Educating Subs

On Oct. 6, a steam pipe snaking under the streets on Manhattan’s
Lower East Side spouted a leak — which caused
an underground electrical fire, melting Time Warner Cable
fiber-optic lines
and knocking out
service for about
24,000 of the
MSO’s Big Apple
subscribers.
The New York
Times
’ East Village
blog posted
a brief item on
the outage that
day, noting that
Time Warner
Cable restored service to most customers by about 5 p.m.
and pointing out to readers that AT&T offers free Wi-Fi in
the neighborhood’s Tompkins Square Park.

End of story? Not to Jeff Simmermon, TWC’s director of
digital communications.

Last week Simmermon put up a blog post with pictures
showing the rat’s nest of cabling in the affected area —
shared with Verizon Communications, RCN and others
— including before-and-after photos depicting the crosssection
of a regular fiber cable and one after the subterranean
fire.

His point was to tell the story of what happened, to let
subscribers know that Time Warner Cable is actively working
to fix problems when they (inevitably) happen.

“There’s a misconception that we put a wire in the dirt 30
years ago, and that was it,” Simmermon told The Wire. “But
in fact, there are a whole bunch of people working around
the clock to make the service work.”

TWC launched the TWCableUntangled blog about a year
and a half ago, Simmermon said, as a way to explain how
the MSO operates.

So, is it working to combat the perception that the Big
Bad Cable Company doesn’t care about customers? Simmermon
believes it is. “Once people find a story or a piece
of media to wrap their heads around, they go, ‘Oh … OK,’ ”
he said.

 

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