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CNN’s Kurtz Apologizes for Collins Piece, Few Pay Attention

While members of the media thumped their chests and tore at their hair over Howard Kurtz’s exit from the Daily Beast, television viewers were not particularly interested in the Kurtz chapter of the Jason Collins story.

An average of 359,000 people watched Kurtz apologize to his audience on his CNN Sunday show, Reliable Sources, in which he regularly takes the media to task for any ranygazoo they’ve perpetrated that week. He said he was sorry for his inaccurate piece on Collins’s coming-out essay last week in Sports Illustrated, as well as for his slowness to correct his error.

After opening the show with the apology, Kurtz subjected himself to grilling at the hands of Politico’s Dylan Byers and NPR’s David Folkenflik.

The show’s average audience this calendar year is 477,000. Just one week earlier than his show’s mea culpa episode, Kurtz clocked 518,000 viewers with Boston Marathon bombing media coverage on the front burner. And, one year ago, on the comparable Sunday, Reliable Sources averaged 430,000 viewers.

The 359,000 who watched Kurtz’s self-flagellation this past Sunday, in fact, made up his smallest audience this calendar year, according to Nielsen stats.

In his Daily Beast coverage about Collins’ coming out, and in a video for the Daily Download, Kurtz claimed that Collins did not tell the whole story — the rest of the story being that Collins dated a woman for years and was engaged to marry her, Kurtz maintained.

“I think this really muddies the whole plot line,” Kurtz, former media critic at The Washington Post, said in the video.

Except, in the Sports Illustrated essay posted on its website April 29, Collins said that he’d dated women and had been engaged.

With the publication of the essay, Collins came to be viewed as the first active male athlete in a major U.S. professional sports league to come out as gay.

“It was a mistake that I made, and it was sloppy and inexcusable,” Kurtz said at the top of Sunday’s show; he also expressed regret for his snarky video on Collins’s revelation, calling his criticism “inappropriate.”

After Kurtz’s Daily Beast article was published, it was changed to say that Collins “downplayed” the detail about his fiancee, after which that was changed to a correction — after which, Daily Beast retracted the piece entirely and said that it regretted Kurtz’s error.

In the wake of that flurry of activity, Daily Beast chief Tina Brown tweeted that the site and Kurtz had parted company, adding: “We wish him well.”

“Why didn’t you have the decency to apologize to (Collins) at that time when you knew what you had written was wrong,” Folkenflik asked Kurtz sternly on Sunday, as only 359,000 watched.

Speaking of Jason Collins, he continues his march across The Platforms of Disney. In addition to giving his first TV interview after his Sports Illustrated essay — to Disney-owned ABC’s Good Morning America infotainment show — now comes word that he and twin brother Jarron Collins will make their late-night TV debut on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live next Wednesday. (J.J. Abrams got demoted to also-ran on Kimmel’s guest list for that night.)

And no, you’re not the only one speculating that Jason Collins will be cast as one of the celebrities on the next edition of ABC’s competition series Dancing With the Stars. We had exactly the same thought — as did, we see, other media types, including the website Deadline.

Underwood to Sing Football Theme

Meanwhile, to those of you who’d put your money on NBC’s engaging in silly synergy by asking one of its The Voice judges to sing the traditional Sunday Night Football opening tune: So sorry.

NBC instead asked Carrie Underwood, fourth-season winner of Fox’s American Idol, to replace Faith Hill, and her itty-bitty skirt and her high, high heels, as the opening act of NBC’s weekly NFL Sunday game.

Hill performed SNF’s Waiting All Day for Sunday Night opening tune for six years. Over on Monday Night Football, Hank Williams Jr. was the theme-tune singer for two decades. He exited abruptly in 2011 after referencing Adolf Hitler in describing a golf summit between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner.

In Monday’s announcement, Underwood assured America that she has “always loved football season” and is “so excited” to get the gig on the country’s No. 1 ranked prime-time TV program, which, in its most recent season, averaged nearly 22 million viewers. Not too shabby, exposure-wise.