Rumors have been swirling for the past several months as to what actions CNN’s new Chief Jeff Zucker would take to stir the network out of danger. Over the years I’ve discussed CNN’s massive decline in viewers. As cable networks like Fox News and MSNBC became more partisan n their coverage, CNN The network that pioneered the concept of all news all the time tried to remain unbiased in its reporting. As a result, the Atlanta based network lags behind both Fox and MSNBC in the ratings. Jeff Zucker who was the force behind NBC’s “Today” nearly 15 year lead in the ratings is believed to be CNN’s salvation.
It was expected that Zucker would clean house and make sweeping changes. With more than and month on the job changes at CNN seem to be happening pretty fast. Earlier this month it was announced that Soledad O‘Brien will be leaving the morning show “Starting Point”. The show has only been on just over a year. O’Brien, a former “Today” anchor will be starting her own production company, Star Fish Media where one of her projects will include producing documentaries and specials for CNN. It has also been reported that she will continue to work on her series, “Black in America” for CNN.
Rumor has it that Erin Burnett’s pairing with CNN new hire, former “GMA” anchor Chris Cuomo on the revamped morning show has been struck down. According to a recent Meidaite article, Jeff Zucker has decided to go in a different direction with the morning show and it doesn’t include Burnett. That has some observers including myself wondering about Burnett’s future role with the network if not in the mornings.
Also, there is word that “The View” co-host Joy Behar could be in talks to return to CNN with her own show. Behar currently hosts a show on Current TV called “Joy Behar: Say Anything”. Behar as some may recall was a frequent guest host for Larry King on CNN. She was a likely choice to replace the Master Interviewer before she was given her own shoe on CNN’s sister network HLN. Behar hosted “The Joy Behar Show” on HLN from 2009 until the end of 2011.
Zucker has reportedly hired long time senior executive producer of ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Jim Murphy to take charge of CNN’s morning programming. There are rumors that Zucker’s influence is responsible for changes to CNN’s news ticker. Instead of flipping which had been the norm for more than four years, it now crawls across the bottom of the screen from left to right. While probably unrelated to Zucker’s overhaul, the network’s Atlanta headquarters; CNN Center had a temporary power outage during its Oscars coverage on Sunday. The network had to toss control to another broadcast bureau and was able to quickly recover and resume broadcasting. Is it a sign of things to come?
According to Deadline.com CNN’s ratings have dropped 5 percent in total daytime viewers since Jeff Zucker took the reins in mid-January. The network also saw a 1 percent drop in primetime viewership. I think most would agree CNN needs to take bold action immediately. Here’s a suggestion, tap comedian Bill Maher to comment of the day’s top news stories. It would be very provocative and likely to get a little bump if only from viewers tuning in just to hear what he’ll rant about. Besides, a little humor at the end of a newscast isn’t such a bad idea considering nothing else is working.