Chris Ariens

Chris joined Mediabistro in July 2007 as editor of and executive producer of the blog network and was promoted to editorial director in June 2009. Before joining mediabistro, Chris spent seven years at MSNBC, as a producer, coordinating producer for the Olympics, and lastly as executive producer of daytime programs., Chris worked as a producer in local TV news in Green Bay (WLUK) and Tampa (WFTS). Email and follow @ChrisAriens on Twitter.

Brian Williams: My First Big Break

MediabistroTV debuts a new series today, “My First Big Break” where we talk to media heavyweights about that break that got them to where they are today. Our first episode features Brian Williams, the anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News.” You know what he’s doing now, and you may know a bit about his past. But did you know he went bankrupt, that he maxed out his credit cards, and that he took a job in technical operations after failing in small market TV? Well, Williams finally got his First Big Break. He tells us who gave it to him, and how it changed the course of his career.

For more videos, check out our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV, set new records

NBC News president Steve Capus has sent a note to his staff — not so much about the broadcast coverage — but about the online records being set by msnbc digital. “There are a number of ways to measure the audience reaction to our news coverage. Today, I wanted to pass along some amazing statistics for our online coverage of the Japan disasters,” he writes.

The msnbc Digital Network served more than 39.4 million online video streams last Friday — more than double the previous one-day site record of 19 million video streams, set on July 7, 2009 during Michael Jackson’s Memorial service., which was acquired by msnbc last year, set a new one-day traffic record. In fact the site broke the record by 9amET Friday morning.

“Thank you to everyone from NBC News for your around-the-clock, exceptional work — especially to those who have traveled into dangerous situations,” writes Capus.

Zucker on TV on the Web: 'Can we go back to the Keith Olbermann question?'

When outgoing NBCU chief Jeff Zucker was asked about the controversial moves his, and other networks have made the last few years of putting TV programming on the Web, therefore potentially hurting the syndication market, Zucker joked, “Can we go back to the Keith Olbermann question?”

Speaking before a roomful of program buyers, sellers and producers at the annual NATPE gathering in Miami Beach, Zucker stood up for NBCU’s partnership in video platform Hulu. “I’m incredibly proud of what Hulu has done,” said Zucker. (With Comcast gaining majority control of NBCU this Friday, the company’s management stake in Hulu will go away.)

As for the Olbermann joke, Zucker was referencing the first question he’d gotten during the Q&A about the MSNBC host’s abrupt departure from the network Friday night — a question he could not comment on.

“Online is still a better experience for us than the DVR. We can control the ad inventory and the ad load,” said Zucker. “The consumer has made it clear that they want to enjoy it this way. If we don’t listen to the consumer, piracy will take over as we saw happen in the music industry.”

Zucker also reiterated his support of the TV Everywhere concept, a favorite of Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes. And he predicted mobile will be the go-to place for growth in program viewing the near term.

'Early Show' Responds to Upset Viewers on Facebook

The feedback about the new anchor team on CBS’ “The Early Show” is filling up on the show’s Facebook page. Someone from the CBS morning news program posted this on the show’s page around 12:30pm today:

We appreciate that some of you in this forum miss the previous line-up. They are moving on to other challenges, and the new team is working hard to put on a great program every day. Thank you for following “The Early Show” on Facebook.

It didn’t take long for fans to add commentary — 99 at last count, some supporting the new anchors, but most writing things like, ” I have moved on to GMA now” and “I miss the old team with such great camaraderie..”

Earlier this month, Chris Wragge, Erica Hill, Marisol Castro and Jeff Glor replaced Harry Smith, Maggie Rodriguez and Dave Price. Fans have also set up a ‘Save The Current Early Show Team’ Facebook page, which boasts 1,400 likes and continues to update. By contrast, the show’s main Facebook page has more than 37,000 likes.

ABC News Partners with Facebook for Specials on Shootings in Tucson

In conjunction with Facebook, ABC News produced a special this morning on the tragedy in Tucson. The 15-minute report streamed live on at 11amET and was anchored by Christiane Amanpour and Dan Harris in Tucson. Another special will stream tonight at 7pmET anchored by David Muir, following “World News.” Randi Zuckerberg of Facebook took part in this morning’s stream and talked about how the shootings are playing on Facebook. Harris also asked her how sites like Facebook often host some of the hatred and rhetoric which is at the center of the discussion today.

Glenn Beck Hires Former HuffPost CEO Betsy Morgan to Head 'The Blaze'

Former Huffington Post CEO and General Manager Betsy Morgan has been named president of Glenn Beck‘s Web venture, The Blaze.

Morgan, who spent 10 years at CBS News before jumping to HuffPo, departing there in June of 2009, will now be tasked with growing the news and information site geared toward Beck’s radio and TV community. Mercury Radio Arts, Beck’s company, also announced tonight that former Premiere Radio Networks President Kraig Kitchin will join The Blaze as director of sales. Scott Baker, who joined The Blaze from as Managing Editor, has been promoted to Editor-in-Chief.

“The Blaze is very fortunate to welcome Betsy and Kraig to the team,” said Beck in a statement. “Betsy has proven herself to be a successful media executive and leader in the digital media space, and her unique perspective and experiences will be valuable in building The Blaze as a vibrant, impactful community.”

The Blaze is a curated mix of stories from politics, to news of the day, to offbeat stories and media criticism, from a conservative point of view. The site, launched in August, boasts about 3 million unique visitors a month.

Press release after the jump…

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Meet CNN's Social Media Guy Josh Levs

PBS’ MediaShift profiles CNN correspondent Josh Levs who is the network’s on-air social media guru. Levs, based at CNN’s Atlanta headquarters reports on social media and tech trends as well as on how social media and traditional media cover the same story in different ways. In addition to segments for CNN, Levs’ stories can be seen on local stations who subscribe to CNN’s Newssource.

One of the most social media-savvy journalists in broadcast news, the Murrow-award winner and Yale grad has carved out a niche both in complex international and economic stories, and fun, offbeat features such as his weekly “Viral Video Rewind” segment. (Anchor Kyra Phillips last month called him one of CNN’s “premier Facebookers.”) But social media isn’t just about getting information out there — it’s also about bringing it in.

Who Would Name a Morning Show 'Daybreak'?

Jonathan Wald, who will helm Piers Morgan‘s new CNN show, was making a little joke this morning with this Tweet:

Who would ever name a real morning show “Daybreak”? Crazy.

Wald was comparing the fictitious “Daybreak” which is the name of the morning show in the new movie “Morning Glory“, to a real AOL Web series, to be called “Daybreak.”

But what Wald may have forgotten is that his new employer had an early morning news show called “Daybreak” for many years. Hosted by Carol Costello, CNN “Daybreak” went off the air in 2005 when “American Morning” was expanded to 4 hours.

But seriously, are their really that few original names for morning news programs?