Among the reasons CNN Worldwide chief Jeff Zucker may be the best thing that’s happened to the news operation in a while is his ability to make noise — Zucker gives great interviews. Most recently, he gave his first one-on-one interview since taking the gig last January, to Capital New York, which reported he “plans massive change at CNN.”
Actually it might be bigger news if he didn’t plan massive change at CNN, but, anyway, Capital said today that, after almost a year of tinkering, Zucker has concluded that a news channel cannot subsist on news alone. Zucker’s in good company here, most major news organizations having come to that conclusion a while ago. Capital warned this new thinking is likely to make “CNN traditionalists cringe.” By CNN traditionalists, Capital NY means “older viewers.” The publication also noted CNN’s “vanilla coverage” was once a point of pride. By “vanilla coverage” it means “straight reporting,” which had been CNN’s trademark. Zucker told Capital he wants news coverage “that is just not being so obvious.” He wants more of “an attitude and a take.” Read More »
To the surprise of no one, CNN has re-upped Anderson Cooper through the next presidential election cycle. Ratings on his 8 PM AC 360 are up 28% in the news demo, though viewers continue to elude his 10 PM program AC 360 Later, which is down 14% over year-ago time-slot status. More important to CNN, Cooper’s one of the strongest on-air-talent brands in all of TV news, with an incredible knack for making himself part of the storyline. Just recently Cooper juggled two such career-boosting scenarios simultaneously, when he got into a war of words with the wife of the Philippine Interior Secretary over this characterization of the Philippine government’s response to typhoon devastation, while also spitballing Alec Baldwin over the MSNBC host’s latest homophobic rant.
That brand-building talent has not gone unnoticed. Deadline reported in March that NBC execs approached Cooper about joining ratings-hungry Today, to replace Matt Lauer (NBC News denied the report as it pertained to replacing Lauer, but acknowledged to other news outlets it conducts exploratory talks with various talent outside the network).
Stephanie Cutter just got another new job today thanks to President Obama. Just over two and a half months since the former White House staffer debuted on CNN’s resuscitated Crossfire with co-hosts Newt Gingrich, S.E. Cupp and Van Jones, Cutter is back working for her old boss – at least partially. Obama Tuesday named his former Deputy Campaign Manager as a Member for the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. “I am honored that these talented individuals have decided to join this Administration and serve our country. I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come,” said Obama in a statement announcing Cutter’s appointment and several others today. With the political consultant as one of its four rotating hosts, Crossfire came back after 8 years odd the air on September 9 this year with modest ratings. A low impact patronage post, the Committee traditionally has the current First Lady as its Honorary Chair and Michelle Obama serves in that capacity for her husband’s administration. Cutter was Mrs. Obama’s Chief of Staff during the 2008 campaign. Read More »
UPDATE, 10:40 AM: CNN said it will test out two programs at 11 PM during Erin Burnett’s maternity leave. For the three weeks of December 2nd, 9th and 16th, Don Lemon will host a half-hour show, The 11th Hour, from 11-11:30 PM ET, and Brooke Baldwin will host CNN Today from 11:30 PM-midnight. Both shows will have a limited run. CNN’s 7 PM program, Erin Burnett Outfront, usually repeats in that hour. The cable news network also said that, for the weeks of December 2nd, 9th and 16th, Jake Tapper will anchor Outfront, from 7-8 pm ET while continuing to host his program The Lead from 4-5 pm ET. For the weeks of December 23rd, 30th and January 6th, Lemon will anchor Burnett’s show. Read More »
Ted Turner may no longer be in the CNN business but the cable news network is still in the Ted Turner game. In another look to the past like the resuscitated Crossfire, the now Jeff Zucker-run CNN will air Ted Turner: The Maverick Man on November 17. Looking at the billionaire’s life, the one-hour Wolf Blitzer special will air at 7 PM ET on Sunday. After creating CNN in 1980, the soon-to-be-75-year-old Turner Broadcasting chief eventually sold his network to Time Warner in 1996 and left that company’s board back in 2006. Maverick Man features not just interviews with Turner but also appearances from his ex-wife Jane Fonda, former President Jimmy Carter, and former CNN host Larry King among others.
Related: Jane Fonda To Receive AFI Life Achievement Award
CNN has named The New York Times media industry reporter Brian Stelter to host Reliable Sources, the network’s Sunday program that focuses on the top media stories. He’s replacing Howard Kurtz, who had been media industry reporter at The Washington Post when he got the gig, later moving to The Daily Beast; Kurtz, who headlined Reliable Sources for 15 years, left in July and now hosts a similar program, MediaBuzz for Fox News Channel, which has been beating Reliable Sources in ratings. Unlike Kurtz when he hosted Reliable Sources, Stelter is leaving his newspaper position to take the TV job, though he had said he would not leave the NYTimes for a TV job when he began auditioning for the CNN post. This morning he reported, via Twitter, that leaving the NYTimes is “surreal.” That’s because he’d been there since graduating college — which is to say since 2007. At NYTimes, he covered television and digital media for the Media & Advertising and Arts sections of the newspaper and for the newspaper’s blog, Media Decoder. Stelter also will serve as a senior media correspondent for CNN Worldwide. Stelter was among a rotation of reporters who cover the media, including CNN, who’d tried out for the cable news network job. In 2013, Stelter published The New York Times best-selling book Top Of The Morning: Inside The Cutthroat World Of Morning TV (2013). Stelter also created TVNewser, … Read More »
Christa Robinson has been hired as Tribune’s Chief Communications Officer, effective immediately, the company said today. She will report to Tribune’s President and CEO, Peter Liguori. Robinson moves to Tribune from CNN where she led communications and public relations for all CNN Networks and digital platforms from 1999 to 2013. In 2003, she was named SVP of public relations and, beginning in 2007, was also a member of the CNN Worldwide executive team. Before CNN, Robinson served at the Clinton White House where she was the Director of Communications for the Domestic Policy Council. She previously served as the White House liaison to the law enforcement community and worked on crime policy, health care reform and other domestic initiatives. Robinson will be based in Tribune’s New York offices.
Jon Stewart last night discovered/fell in love with CNN’s New Day Couch Sponsorship News-portunity, in which advertisers sponsor the morning show’s co-hosts as they walk from their desk to their couch. After fantasizing about the brainstorming session that produced the Couch Walk, headed by CNN chief Jeff Zucker (the guy who came up with “supersizing” for NBC’s primetime when he took over that network’s Entertainment, which kept that network in first place in the demo for a couple seasons, and allowed it to sell an extra ad break at Friends rates, while failing to develop the next Friends) including:
Walk to Couch
When Cats Tweet
Hot Thing/Cold Thing
Blitzer Kissing Booth
Cartoon Robot Sidekicks
Smell the News
All-Hologram Syria Coverage
Stewart announced The Daily Show was going to be rolling out sponsorship opportunities of its own, including:
Vaguely Justified Scatalogical Metaphor
Jon Stewart Crumpled His Script In Disgust.
Watch here: Read More »
The fake news show host took Jeff Zucker’s cable news network to the journalistic woodshed last night over their persistent use of the question “is that a good thing or a bad thing?” From politics to the Jody Arias trial to the economy and seemingly everything in-between, The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart called CNN out on grindingly reducing complex topics to a very simple equation. “The beautiful thing about Good/Bad is that, like beige, it goes with everything in an equally unsatisfying manner,” Stewart said. Amidst the critique, Situation Room host Wolf Blitzer got special mention from Stewart for an interview where he was trying to get Rep. Michelle Bachman “to dumb it down” on healthcare reform. Seriously. Check out the segment here:
The Daily Show
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Just over 7 months after the former Today publicist was brought in as SVP Communications for CNN Worldwide, Jeff Zucker today added Chief Marketing Officer to Allison Gollust’s job titles. “As we put even greater emphasis in the year ahead on re-imagining our content, and in parallel, our brand, this is a key move in assuring our success,” said the CNN boss in a statement Tuesday. “Allison has a keen understanding of how every aspect of communications works together to tell a story – be it on the public relations side or in strategic marketing. Combining these two areas under one proven leader simply makes sense.” CNN’s former CMO Janet Rollie exited the job back in May. A long time Zucker loyalist, Gollust first started working with the exec in 1997 when he ran the NBC morning show. After leaving following Zucker out of NBCUniversal, Gollust served as communications director for NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo starting in late 2012 before rejoining her old boss in March of this year.
The roller coater ride of CNN’s Jeff Zucker regime continued this weekend with the rickety premiere of Unguarded on the cable news network. Hosted by longtime ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols, the 10:30 PM sport show failed to score with viewers on Friday night. At least Unguarded didn’t have to face off against a World Series game on Friday as the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals had a night off. However, up against slot winner Fox News’ special on contributor Charles Krauthammer as well as MSNBC’s newish Up Late With Alec Baldwin and sister station HLN, the 30 minute Unguarded pulled in 288,000 total viewers and a mere 92,000 in the adults 25-54 demo. Compared to year-to-date results, that’s 50% fall in the demo and a 45% drop in total viewers, according to Nielsen. It’s also down almost 30% in both viewers and the 25-54s from what CNN has been doing in the slot in Q3 2013 so far. Over the entire 10 PM – 11 PM hour, CNN had 405,000 viewers and with 135,000 in the demo. That’s a last place finish overall for the new show and a last place finish in the demo for the cable news network. FNC had 2.55 million viewers with 357,000 in the key demo while MSNBC had 553,000 viewers and 142,000 in the demo and HLN had 360,000 total viewers and … Read More »