In anticipation of March cable news Nielsen numbers, which will show CNN much improved March-to-March but finishing second to Fox News Channel in key TV-viewing metrics, CNN Worldwide chief Jeff Zucker sent a memo to staff announcing the news operation’s best month ever for page views, video streams, and mobile web traffic: Read More »
UPDATE, 4:30 PM: Unlike entertainment programming, the world of cable news is not one where Live + 3 numbers often have any relevance. You don’t often think of DVRs as how audiences watch CNN, Fox News or MSNBC but with some of the non-breaking news programming that Jeff Zucker has instituted since taking over CNN last year that may be changing. For instance, if its debut is any indication, CNN’s new Chicagoland docu series has a digital afterlife looks almost as far reaching as Lake Michigan on a clear day. In Live + 3 numbers the Robert Redford produced series saw its March 6 debut rise 23% in the adults 25-54 demo to 280,000 viewers. That moves the CNN show up to No. #1 in the news demo for its 10 PM time slot. Previously, Chicagoland had been in second place with 227,000 viewers among the 25-54s behind Fox News’ Hannity (247,000) and ahead of MSNBC’s Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell (207,000) Overall, Chicagoland still stayed in third place among total viewers with 782,000. Up a bit from its Live + Same Day results, FNC’s Hannity easily held on to the top spot with 1.457 million total viewers and Last Word had 830,000.
PREVIOUS, MARCH 7 PM: The premiere of CNN’s new Chicagoland didn’t get totally whacked last night but it certainly didn’t make a ratings killing either – in fact it came a distant third in terms of total viewership … Read More »
CNN chief Jeff Zucker, who has vowed to shake up the network’s primetime this year, will experiment with several formats at 10 PM for five weeks. Don Lemon debuts on Monday — this time as anchor of The Don Lemon Show, leading into another new program called Making The Case at 10:30 PM. It’s Lemon’s second recent audition, having hosted the 11 PM program 11th Hour during Erin Burnett’s maternity leave last year. Lemon inserted himself into the Michael Dunn trial in a small way, when he announced he was “pissed” at the “ridiculous” jury’s inability to reach a decision in re whether Dunn was guilty of “murdering a teenager because his music was too damn loud.” Fox News’ Gregg Jarrett took the bait, saying in a series of tweets that “the sum total of what Lemon knows about the law and this case… could be written on the head of a pin” with plenty of room left over, to which Lemon responded, “Wow, someone is suffering from a bad case of the Michael Dunns. Guess my TV’s too loud…Mind your business old man.” (Jarrett is about 11 years older than Lemon.)
On Tuesdays, CNN will telecast one-hour special reports at 10 PM and on Wednesdays will present Death Row Stories. CNN’s docu-series Chicagoland airs Thursdays in the hour, and on Fridays is CNN Spotlight followed by Unguarded With Rachel Nichols. AC360 repeats are back at 11 PM Monday through Thursday, with Friday home to Death Row Stories in the hour. The five-week schedule was first reported on TVNewser. Read More »
UPDATE: 7:01 PM: Michelle Obama could have turned to the guy seated next to her at the head table during tonight’s White House State Dinner and asked if he’s heard any good jokes lately. That would be none other than The Colbert Report host Stephen Colbert. Could it be that French-sounding surname earned him some juice with the protocol folks? Meanwhile, according to the White House pool report, Bradley Cooper was seen chatting with Secretary of State John Kerry, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus was asked her what her favorite part of the dinner was. “Look who I’m sitting next to,” she said, pointing to Vice President Joe Biden. The real veep swiftly jumped in with: “Hey, stop screwin’ around, she’s my date!” He promptly burst out laughing and said, “Just kidding.” Meanwhile, Mindy Kaling was tweeting and Instagraming her evening.
PREVIOUSLY: We knew a good grasp of French would come in handy for Bradley Cooper one day. The American Hustle actor will be one of the many Hollywood guests attending the State Dinner tonight at the White House that President Obama and the First Lady are hosting for French President Francois Hollande. Among the cabinet members and government officials joining the sparkling gathering on the South Lawn will also be CNN chief Jeff Zucker, HBO’s Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, HBO CEO Richard Plepler, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, and Star Wars director JJ Abrams and … Read More »
CNN Worldwide chief Jeff Zucker says Fox News chief Roger Ailes dismissal of CNN in a recent interview ” is meant to deflect your attention from the book this week and is silly.”
Zucker was referring to Gabriel Sherman’s new unauthorized bio of Ailes, The Loudest Voice In The Room: How The Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News And Divided a Country.
“We happen to be in the news business, as opposed to some other ‘fair and balanced’ networks,” Zucker told TV critics attending Winter TV Press Tour 2014. “I think really you know what’s going on there. He hasn’t done an interview in a long time and does one the week the book comes out; he’s trying to deflect attention,” Zucker said, noting there is no other network “covering news in such a substantial and serious way as CNN.”
Zucker said he had not read “Loudest Voice,” “but I’ve read about the book and from what I understand it confirms what we’ve known all along, which is that the Republican party is being run out of NewsCorp headquarters, masquerading as a news channel.”
Contacted for comment, a Fox News rep countered that CNN might have been trying to deflect from its own ratings woes.
Zucker also dismissed rumors about CNN and late night. CNN is not looking to get into business with Jay Leno … Read More »
A tumultuous year for cable news networks wrapped with all of them having experienced some kind of ratings ding compared to ’12 – except HLN, whose currency is court trials, not presidential election cycles. 2013 was the year of the George Zimmerman and Jodi Arias trials – a good year for HLN.
Perennial cable news ratings leader Fox News Channel wound up ‘13 ranked No. 6 in primetime among all ad-supported cablers – behind USA, ESPN, History, TBS and TNT – with an average audience of 1.761 million viewers. (For comparison sake, MSNBC ranked No. 29 with 640,000 viewers, and CNN ranked 32nd with 568,000. HLN brought up the rear, with a primetime average of 395,000 viewers, but that’s a 22% year-to-year improvement.)
FNC made headlines this year when it revamped its primetime slate in October, adding Megyn Kelly at 9 PM, and moving Sean Hannity to 10 and Greta Van Susteren to 7. Since the change, all four of FNC’s primetime shows are up in total viewers and in the demo compared to year to date averages with Kelly’s show up the most: 10% in the news demo and 20% in overall audience.
Jeff Zucker took over the reins at CNN at the start of ’13; the network edged back up to No. 2 in total day, but remained in third place in prime, behind MSNBC, with its smallest ratings in two decades. That said, CNN’s weekday primetime programs saw some growth, including Anderson Cooper’s double-digit improvement, and a Piers Morgan inch-up. Read More »
CNN Worldwide chief Jeff Zucker, who is about to celebrate his first anniversary at the news gathering organization, touted his addition of Anthony Bourdain‘s show and the documentary Blackfish in a holiday memo to staffers, but gave a miss to any discussion of his new morning program, or the return of Crossfire.
“In 2013, CNN was recognized with three News Emmys, and two first-ever prime time Emmys for Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, as well as a Peabody Award for our coverage in Syria,” Zucker wrote. “And heading into 2014, CNN Films is on the short list for an Academy Award in the Documentary category for Blackfish. In our first year of even having a film division!”
He promised to pick up the pace on his program to broaden the definition of news programming in calendar year 2014. “If you thought we did a lot in 2013, wait until you see 2014,” Zucker wrote. “Real change that transforms an organization doesn’t happen overnight. I have talked a lot about broadening the definition of news. You have seen the start of that, especially at CNN, where we have begun to introduce new series, documentaries and films to augment our best-in-class breaking news coverage.”
Read More »
True to his word, CNN chief Jeff Zucker this morning announced the cable news network is creating another “destination” for acquired documentary films in a new brand called CNN Films Presents. March Of The Penguins, and The Imposter are among the titles to be telecast on CNN/U.S. in 2014. “The goal for the next six months, is that we need more shows and less newscasts,” Zucker said in a recent interview about “massive changes” he’s got planned for the network, adding that he wants CNN to attract “viewers who are watching places like Discovery and History and Nat Geo and A&E.” Zucker hinted the docu-films CNN has been running on the weekend could get some weekday primetime play. “Yes, there will be more and, yes, they will not just be on Sundays…I think it will expand past just the weekends…This is a primetime play. It’s too expensive to confine it to weekends.” Under its other, CNN Films brand, the network enjoyed great ratings results in October with the premiere of CNN Films: Blackfish, exploring the consequences of keeping orcas in captivity at marine theme parks for the entertainment of humans.
From this morning’s CNN announcement:
CNN Films Presents will be a sister brand to “CNN Films,” which was launched in October 2012, and is the network’s brand for acquired or commissioned documentary features, following their exhibitions in theaters.
… Read More »
Zoraida Sambolin signed off CNN’s Early Start this morning; she’s returning to Chicago, where she worked before joining CNN in 2011 from the Windy City’s NBC O&O. Sambolin, who battled breast cancer this year, announced this month she’s returning to be near family. “I’m going to miss CNN,” she said after thanking co-anchor John Berman. “This is a great place led by an incredible man, who has just been remarkable to me – Jeff Zucker – which I have to mention, cause when I got diagnosed with cancer, I want everybody to know, this man walked into my office and basically came with a silver platter and said, ‘However I can help you, whatever I can do, I will’.” Watch here:
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 »
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
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 »
Albie Hecht has been named EVP and GM of HLN, effective September 30. Hecht, who founded Spike TV and was president of Nickelodeon Entertainment prior to that, is currently CEO of Worldwide Biggies, a digital entertainment studio. Scot Safon is the guy he’s replacing. Safon, a 22-year Turner Broadcasting vet — half of them at HLN — was out at the end of last month as part of a restructuring of HLN-parent CNN by its Worldwide president Jeff Zucker. As HLN’s new leader, Hecht will oversee all aspects of HLN’s programming, management, day-to-day operations, as well as HLNtv.com. He will be based in New York and report to Zucker, who made today’s announcement: Read More »