Hitting the 'Wall’ For 'Daily’ Laughs

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CNN’s John King doesn’t mind a good laugh — even if it’s at his expense. In fact, the news network’s chief national correspondent said he is perfectly OK with Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart making fun of him and CNN’s infamous “magic wall.”

When asked by TV critics last week at the Television Critics Association Tour in Los Angeles whether he gets upset when The Daily Show With Jon Stewart pokes fun at CNN’s on-air interactive touch screen technology — which played a prominent role in the network’s coverage of last year’s presidential election — King said he actually gets a kick out of the ribbing and has even cooperated with them on some of their efforts in teasing CNN.

Still, he said, “the wall” is not a toy, but rather a useful tool to inform viewers and that it was incredibly helpful in CNN’s election coverage.

“For us it’s flattering that they’re paying attention and I love to laugh as much as anyone, so when they’re making fun of me … I think it’s great,” he said, adding that he’s been on the show several times. “What I think [Stewart] does at The Daily Show is part of the conversation of news and politics … It’s funny, sometimes sarcastic and occasionally I’m the guy getting kicked. But that’s OK.”

Taking DNA At TCA

National Geographic Channel’s Television Critics Association Tour panel session last Wednesday resembled more CSI than Explorer, as the network, which debuts its special The Human Family Tree later this month, asked writers to submit their DNA.

More than 100 reporters were given official DNA kits and asked to take swabs of their cheeks in order to trace their ancestral footsteps.

The Human Family Tree, which debuts Aug. 30, explores the results of DNA taken from 200 people from the multicultural melting pot of Queens, N.Y. to determine where their ancestors came from and, in some instances, how similar their family trees are. The effort is part of Nat Geo’s Genographic Project, a five-year anthropological research study led by the network and IBM to map how humankind populated the planet. Nat Geo officials said the results taken from the TCA session should be ready in six to eight weeks. Who knows? Maybe the results will find that all television critics are related after all.

Singing Local Virtues

Click Network marketing and business operations manager Mitch Robinson had a message for small cable operators at the Independent Show in Grapevine, Texas, last week: When facing down a larger competitor, being local can be focal.

Robinson, who had been a marketing executive with Internet travel giant Expedia.com before joining the municipal cable arm of Tacoma Power, said when he joined the company, their main weapon against incumbent cable giant Comcast was their superior customer-service rating. But that was a precarious advantage — all Comcast had to do was beef up customer service and Click’s advantage would be gone.

Robinson realized what really differentiated Click from all other service providers what the fact that, as an offshoot of the local electric utility, it was homegrown.

“Local is the one thing they can’t take away,” Robinson said. “We can own it.”

So, for the company’s 10th Anniversary, Robinson enlisted the help of local high schoolers to produce a music video about the company’s homegrown virtues.

The video is viewable online at www.click-network.com/AboutUs/10thAnniversay/tabid/106/Default.aspx, but here’s a sampling of the ditty’s lyrics:

Click is the local one

It’s been 10 years

Look at what they’ve done

Switch to the local one

It’s been 10 years

Look how far they’ve come

Click Cable is the one for you

Watch any program you want to

Fun for the children and any adults who are

In the mood for sci-fi or the nightly news

They’ve got you covered whatever you may choose

Robinson didn’t say whether the jingle made any dent in gaining subscribers, which would certainly be something to sing about.

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