With no big news stories to report in February, CNN saw its ratings drop to alarmingly low levels.
So when a Malaysian jet mysteriously disappeared March 8, CNN latched onto the story with 24/7 coverage, The Associated Press reports.
The result: CNN doubled its recent viewing averages, pushing the Atlanta-based network ahead of rival MSNBC.
Even with the recent boost in viewers, CNN has lagged behind Fox News for 13 years. Even during this crisis, that hasn't changed. CNN drew 766,000 viewers Thursday, up from the February average of 307,000. Fox News has seen a more modest lift -- 1.36 million viewers Wednesday vs. 1.1 million in February, according to Nielsen data.
Although ratings are up, critics say the network hyped the mystery story at the expense of doing the kind of serious foreign news coverage that helped build CNN's reputation. However, the numbers gave CNN plenty of reasons to be satisfied with its strategy. The jet story drew younger viewers, with CNN nearly matching Fox News among 25- to 54-year-old viewers.
"We're covering this like only CNN can," "Situation Room" anchor Wolf Blitzer said last week.
CNN D.C. bureau chief Sam Feist said the network has the biggest presence in Asia of any U.S. news service, giving it the resources to investigate every thread of news and, unfortunately, many false leads. And even with the Malaysian government Monday announcing where the plane may have crashed (with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper doing a rare morning appearance), the question of why remains a mystery.
If fans have learned one thing so far about Charlie White since he joined "Dancing With the Stars," it's that -- to many people's dismay -- he and fellow competitor Meryl Davis are not an item, People reports.
In fact, White, 26, who won the gold medal with Davis at the Sochi Winter Olympics, has been in a five-year relationship with Tanith Belbin, 29, which he acknowledged publicly on Monday night's show.
Part of what keeps the low-key courtship such a success amid seemingly endless chatter that Davis and White are dating is Belbin's history as a former ice dancer herself.
"She gets it," White told People backstage on Monday, shortly after learning he'd advanced to another week in the competition. "She won the silver medal in 2006 with her partner Ben Agosto, and people were always like, 'Are you guys dating?' It's just something you get as dancers. [Her understanding] makes my life so much easier."
White expressed no shock that people suspected he and Davis were partners both on and off the ice.
"It's tough because we always presented ourselves as a package, and we didn't really talk much about our personal lives because we just didn't care to," he explained. "And I think people were hopeful [that we were a couple] because on the ice we were able to portray people who are in relationships, and then people want to believe. We take it as a compliment."
Belbin not only cheered her beau on during the Olympics, but she has been great to have on hand during the "DWTS" experience as well.
"She's impressed, I think," White told reporters. "She knows where I'm starting from. Each week, she's seen just how much work goes into getting the frame and getting the steps and she's just been the most supportive. It means the world to me."
Chris Evans is hanging up his mask and shield.
The 32-year-old "Captain America" star, while under contract for at least three more appearances between "Captain America" and "The Avengers" sequels, told Variety recently he has no plans to continue acting after his obligation to the character ends.
"If I'm acting at all, it's going to be under Marvel contract, or I'm going to be directing," Evans said. "I can't see myself pursuing acting strictly outside of what I'm contractually obligated to do."
"I've known for a while I wanted to direct," said Evans, who recently completed his debut feature, a love story called "1:30 Train." "But [time] never really opens up. There's another movie to do, there's another acting job. It just got to point where I was like, you know what -- I have to do this."
Evans admits he may change his mind: "For all I know, in five years, I might say, '[Expletive], I miss acting.' " But he repeats, "Right now, I just want to get behind the camera and make movies."
Robin Roberts is taking on some night work as a guest judge on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," The Associated Press reports.
The "Good Morning America" anchor will appear on the show Monday alongside the regular panelists. She's the first of several guest judges scheduled this season, including Ricky Martin and Redfoo from the band LMFAO.
Roberts' appearance advances an already tight relationship between the two shows. "Good Morning America" usually gets a ratings boost when contenders from "Dancing With the Stars" appear for interviews, a big help in its own competition with the "Today" show.
Actor James Rebhorn is having the last word.
The character actor who appeared in "Homeland" and "Scent of a Woman" penned his own obituary that appeared on his church's website in New Jersey, the AP reports. Rebhorn, a member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Jersey City, died Friday at age 65 of skin cancer.
Rebhorn wrote that without his wife and two daughters "his life would have been little more than a vapor." He urged his children to mourn him only as long as necessary, because "they have much good work to do, and they should get busy doing it."
Rebhorn concluded that he was a lucky man in every way.
Apparently, Sean "Diddy" Combs is back to being Puff Daddy again, but the hip-hop mogul insists it's not a name change.
The Revolt boss took to Twitter to share a teaser for his upcoming single "Big Homie," in which he introduces himself as Puff Daddy, the moniker the rapper was best known by in the late '90s, E! News reports.
Presented by Big Boy Entertainment, Puff Daddy is back and better than ever in the clip, hitting the streets of NYC while teasing a collaboration with Rick Ross and French Montana.
And despite the fact that it has been years since Combs was last referred to as Puff, the record producer insists he's simply going back to what he has always been, taking Twitter to address the reports of a name change.
Combs released his debut album, "No Way Out," under the name Puff Daddy in 1997, which is still his highest-selling record to date. He released his third album, "The Saga Continues," as P. Diddy in 2001 and most recently released his sixth studio album under the moniker Diddy in 2010. He's gearing up for the release of his next album, "MMM," which will feature "Big Homie" and is expected to hit airwaves later this year.