The entire financial TV industry is in a state of flux.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported on the dismal ratings at CNBC, Fox Business, and Bloomberg. Bloomberg, meanwhile, is in the midst of some kind reassessment of its TV business, and there’s widespread apprehension there about what the next direction is for the network.
And the big momentous event was the recent departure of Maria Bartiromo from CNBC to Fox Business.
Bartiromo is the biggest star in financial TV history, and her leaving the biggest network to go to a much smaller rival is a major moment.
So what’s the mood at CNBC following this departure?
One person who was at CNBC headquarters the day after Bartiromo’s departure actually described a widespread sense of “relief.”
It’s not that Bartiromo was disliked. It’s that CNBC, according to multiple sources, is an insanely competitive place internally, especially with respect to booking guests. And Bartiromo often had a lock on the best guests, leaving other reporters, anchors, and producers out in the cold.
One person familiar with the workings of CNBC, when asked about the environment, responded via email: “CNBC is SO COMPETITIVE ABOUT BOOKINGS. So much so that it always spilled over to infighting between shows.”
Another former on-air personality at CNBC described constant head-butts with Bartiromo over guests, and told us that well-known guests have complained about how if they ever went on another show on CNBC they would get angry phone calls about it.
So basically, in an environment where everyone is extremely territorial about their guests, the departure of the network’s most famous name frees up a lot of booking chances. It also frees up money — Bartiromo’s hefty salary — that CNBC can now invest in other on-air talent.
Bartiromo will almost certainly be able to help Fox Business get bigger guests, but she’s unlikely to have is any kind of monopoly on them, the way she did at CNBC. This means the move might help Bloomberg a bit, too. Loyalty to Bartiromo and CNBC was one thing keeping some big names off of Bloomberg. Nobody, meanwhile, will have exclusive loyalty to Bartiromo at Fox, at least not in the beginning.
So there’s something for everyone with the Bartiromo move.
CNBC frees up money, and the rest of the editorial staff get more opportunity.
Fox Biz gets a big name and probably better guests.
And Bloomberg now has one less roadblock to booking better guests.