If a history of the idea of synergy in media corporations is ever written, it will have to include this classic moment from CNBC today:
Joe Kernen, CNBC's greatest asset, and anchor Sue Herera are chatting about the results posted by Go.com (Disney's Web site) and the confusion generated by the way Go reported. (In typically excellent fashion, Kernen essentially lets us sit in as he sorts things out for himself, which of course is an excellent way of letting us see how to sort these things out for ourselves.) That, in turn, raises the question of Disney's earnings, and how confusing they had been when first reported. No one could quite believe Disney had beaten estimates by as much as it had, until people realized that the enormous success of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire had already had a major impact on Disney's bottom line.
Herera says: "You know he's a big fan of our show," referring to Regis Philbin, host of Millionaire.
"I know, I know," Kernen says. "And we're really big fans of his show." He then says something to the effect of "I watch it all the time."
At this point Herera realizes what I, and Kernen, have completely forgotten, namely that Millionaire is on ABC, which is not NBC (which owns CNBC). NBC does have its own version of Millionaire, 21, hosted by Maury Povich. Herera sweetly, but definitively, says that the CNBC staff loves 21 too, and drops in a nice little plug for Povich. Co-anchor Bill Griffith quickly assents.
Kernen does a nice little sheepish shrug and says something to the effect of how nice it'd be to still have a job at CNBC a week from now.
"I just want to last till the end of the show," Herera says, laughing.
All I can say is that I hope Maury Povich appreciates what these journalists had to do for him. Of course, even if he doesn't, these are still the moments that make live television great.