Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A Big "Get" for Diane Sawyer

Diane Sawyer
ABC has announced that it will broadcast an exclusive Diane Sawyer interview with the person currently known as Bruce Jenner on April 24.

The interview itself has been in the can for several months now. The decision to air it on April 24 probably has something to do with the fact that the Neilsen spring "sweeps" month starts one day earlier, on April 23.  (Sweeps results reflect overall viewership and affect the rates television networks can charge for advertisements.)  Network hopes are high that many people will want to watch.

Jenner was the "patriarch" on a very profitable reality television series that featured people who are famous mostly for being famous.   (By the way, he also won an Olympic gold medal in 1976.)

Since then, Jenner has been undergoing medical procedures to become a woman.  This is his personal business, and good for him.  People should feel comfortable in their own skins.  The transformation will be the subject of another reality show, of course.

Sawyer seems to have taken up the seat previously filled at ABC by Barbara Walters, whose prime-time interviews of many famous people were well-watched, especially, I think, the ones in which the interviewees cried.

The Jenner exclusive is what is called a "get" in the television news game, an on-camera opportunity that is expected to draw a large audience and, therefore, is much sought.  This particular "get" even has a special hook:

                        During the interview, Jenner will reveal her new female first name!

Interestingly, this interview is being produced by ABC's "News" division.  It will last two hours, which is probably more time than the network has devoted, total, to the nuclear negotiations with Iran.  This is no doubt because of those darned sweeps periods.

You might recall a similar "get" from several years ago.

"The Decision"

This was the name for a special sports news program that was broadcast by ESPN during the summer sweeps month in 2010.

The show, 45 minutes long, consisted of an interview with basketball star LeBron James, who was considering leaving his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, for the Miami Heat.

This was a huge "get" for ESPN and the highest rated cable show of the evening.  Like the special revelation to be shared later this month on the Bruce Jenner interview, this had its own news, which I share again below:

 LeBron James had decided to join the Miami Heat!

This announcement, 30 minutes into the program, caused excitement in Miami and a great deal of anger and sadness in Cleveland.  James did not hear the end of it for a long time.

Last year, when James left Miami to return to the Cavaliers, he told Sports Illustrated, "I'm not having a press conference or a party."

Probably just as well.

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