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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Your Views on the News, October 9, 2010


A few readers sent us the link to an article that ran in New York Magazine entitled Chasing Fox, written by Gabriel Sherman. Sherman writes about, among other things, how Klein came up with the Parker/Spitzer team, Aaron Brown, Crossfire and the long rumored CNN/CBS merge. Here are a few of the opening paragraphs. It's a really interesting read and we hope you'll find time to read the entire article by following the link.

In the spring of 2006, a year and a half after he was hired to run CNN/U.S., Jonathan Klein went to his boss Jim Walton with an idea. CNN was in trouble. While the network remained a profit engine and an iconic brand, prime-time ratings were stalled. Fox News had surged ahead in the cable-news race, and now, alarmingly, Keith Olbermann was coming on strong. His anti-Bush broadsides were transforming his 8 p.m. MSNBC show, Countdown, into a bombastic counterweight to Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, and combined, both personalities were drowning out CNN’s Paula Zahn, the respected television veteran who was anchoring a standard newscast during the 8 p.m. slot.

And so Klein set out to poach Olbermann. At the time, Olbermann had a window to negotiate in his MSNBC contract and Klein made a hard sell. He told Olbermann he could bring Countdown to CNN—the two even discussed which members of Olbermann’s staff would make the move with him. “Jon and I were in very deep discussions on a regular basis for me to go over there,” says Olbermann. “One of the premises was we would have put MSNBC out of business.”

Ted Turner’s vision of the primacy of the news remained something of a religion at CNN. But Klein was hired to take risks. A former executive vice-president at CBS News, Klein had a reputation as an expletive-spouting showman. He was based at CNN’s offices in the Time Warner Center, lunched frequently at Gabriel’s and Porter House New York, and enjoyed reading his quotes in the Times. When he took the job in 2004, he insisted CNN give him the title of president. It was a style that didn’t always sit well with Walton and senior executives in Atlanta, which had been the power center that imbued the network with a folksy, cautious sensibility. A CNN lifer who had joined the network as a 23-year-old video journalist, Walton cast himself as a protector of CNN tradition.

Walton pushed back on Klein’s plan to hire Olbermann. “I’m not gonna be the guy who’s gonna turn CNN into an opinion network,” he told executives in meetings. But in Klein’s view, CNN already was an opinion network. For an hour each night, Walton tolerated Lou Dobbs’s anti-immigration tirades. Klein pressed Walton to reconsider, but Walton held firm. “I bailed out when it became apparent that the people above [Klein] were less than sanguine about this,” Olbermann tells me.

There has been plenty of movement since then at CNN: Campbell Brown came and went; Lou Dobbs was finally forced out; Larry King at long last retired. But ratings have mostly flowed in one direction: downward—down 40 percent since 2009.

Klein faced a possibly insoluble cable-news riddle: How do you build the kind of excitement that draws in viewers without being partisan? At a Time Warner board meeting this spring, Walton was forced to defend CNN’s ratings issues. The pressure on Klein ratcheted up. In April, Klein began talks with British talk-show personality Piers Morgan. In June, he announced that he would hire the famously black-socked and disgraced former governor Eliot Spitzer. Klein faced stiff internal resistance to hiring Spitzer. When one CNN executive expressed to Klein the concern that viewers risked being turned off by Spitzer’s hooker scandal, Klein had snapped, “I don’t give a fuck.”

Pairing him with a female co-host was delicate. “They were concerned a young, beautiful co-host wouldn’t work,” said one source familiar with the show’s development. Finally, they settled on Kathleen Parker, an attractive 59-year-old Pulitzer Prize–winning conservative columnist. The Parker Spitzer show debuts on October 4.

Klein thought his place at the network was secure. Six weeks ago, CNN signed him to a new contract. But late last month, Walton made his move. Klein was planning to head to a rehearsal for the Parker Spitzer show when he stopped by Walton’s office. In a five-minute conversation, Walton told Klein he was out. “You’re the best president CNN has ever had, but we’re making a change,” he told him. In Klein’s place, Walton was bringing in longtime CNN executive Ken Jautz, a former CNN Berlin bureau chief who had successfully juiced the ratings of sister network HLN by taking it down-market and tabloid. For now, Jautz is staying the course. “Our business model is based on quality journalism and nonpartisan programming,” he says. “Don’t get me wrong; we have a ratings challenge in prime time.”




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36 comments:

Anonymous said...

This article makes it clear that Jon Klein
did not care about CNN. Too bad CNN
let him stick around to destroy CNN from
possibly being fixed. CNN needs to find
itself a way to distance the channel from
all things Klein.

Anonymous said...

Let's hope now that CNN is being run by 2
men who have been with CNN for years
and managed to work themselves to the top
CNN will have a better vision and goals to
turn things around. I am not sure Countdown
would be big on CNN. Sometimes people try
and paint everything with a broad brush. What
works for MSNBC and FNC probably won't work
on CNN. CNN has to make itself stand out from
it's competitors. You don't get there by doing
the same thing. CNN needs a creative genius.
CNN needs to find people who are finding
creative and innovative ways to bring us
news and information.

Anonymous said...

CNN has fires burning all around the place.
They have to do something really soon about
the morning show and the problems in prime
time are going to get bigger. I know of so many
people who are really disappointed in the direction
CNN is headed You mention Eliot Spitzer and Piers
Morgan and the eyes roll.CNN is pretty pathetic.
Maybe CNN can come up with some new ideas
for 2011. For all we know Ken Jautz could've
been asked to come up with some ideas way
before all of this happened. Shows like Parker
Spitzer ignore viewers. These people are
not bigger than the news.

Anonymous said...

CNN needs to really focus on content,
story-telling and come up with shows
people want to actually watch. Also,
they must come up the new designs
for the CNN logo, banners and graphics.
I don't like the color scheme with CNN
graphics and banners. Please quit it
with shooting video from monitors. It
is just downright annoying. Who buys
a 50 inch HDTV to see another monitor.
Nobody. Definitely pick up the pace and
drop it with being the opinion channel.
One thing I really don't understand is
when CNN says hearing from all sides.
If you do the news , how may stories
have sides ? That is an outdated left
vs right model. Cut that out. Finally,
quit hiring jerks that make CNN look
bad and should not be on CNN in the
first place.

Anonymous said...

"CNN has to stand out from its competitors. What works for MSNBC and Fox wouldn't work for CNN."
If ONLY.
CNN's problems are so embodied in nonsense it's almost impossible to put into words.
Lawrence O'Donnell is literally pounding AC360 to death and why, because he has a well produced show that knows where it's going and actually informs the viewer what to expect and carries through on the expectations.
The other nite while AC was AGAIN promoting his special on BULLYING, O'Donnell had on Lou Dobbs and someone knowledgeable immigration laws. O'Donnell gets the "GETS" and doesn't let go, and the pace is FAST. He doesn't linger on one subject and hammer it to bits. And to give O'Donnell credit, he has just begun.
Along with firing Klein let's get rid of David Doss. Something is very wrong with CNN's producers. They need a course in how to produce news content and present it to the viewer.

Anonymous said...

CNN needs to use writing and presentation
to communicate and connect with viewers.
If you just constantly put talking heads on
with the back and forth, how does that
benefit the viewers .It is time for a
different approach. Just give us the story
and let us think for ourselves. I don't care
what Parker or Spiter think about anything
period. There are more than 6 billion people
on the planet. Hit the streets CNN and do
some reporting and find stories the world
does not know about.CNN is thinking like
old media.CNN bring the news into my
home like you used to.I feel like I am
wasting my time with CNN these days.
I don't watch Parker Spitzer but I am
picky about what I watch on CNN. Pundits
and ideologues own cable news. The
reporters don't matter. When news is
happening who is more valuable. Each
day I go out and discover something new
that I am not seeing on CNN. The 360 blog
and CNN need to set up a social media
network for viewers, filmmakers, writers
and others can reach out to CNN with
stories they think CNN should know
about. In 2011 that is how you engage
your viewers. Also since CNN has dozens
of affiliates around the world connect
people with news from cities and towns
they may live is and countries that they
might be interested in. Have a contest
for band to create original songs about
the news that can be used on CNN as
many companies are doing these days.
You will never connect with people using
talking heads. You will surely lose them.
Call it a news exchange or whatever.
Don't forget about the viewers CNN.
Let me be clear this is for people who
are really interested in learning about
news and information. Keep politics
and personal attacks out of it and
make it a pleasant experience without
name calling and fake info. If people
show up just to spread hate. Don't
publish the quotes. Please bring back
the science and technology and
environment segments on CNN. I really
miss the tech show that once aired
on the weekends.

Anonymous said...

CNN is just letting the news go by and
ignoring stories that people care about.
I think the problem with most networks
is the age of the people running the
networks. They are all baby boomers
and left vs right is the news they are
used to seeing and how they view the
world. Times have changed. There is
great resistance brewing against this
type of so-called journalism. Wake up
CNN and adapt to the changing world.

Anonymous said...

I really wish CNN would start a segment
called In Memorandum. This week legendary
gospel singer Albertina Walker passed away
and not once was the story even mentioned
on CNN but it was all over FB, Google and
even Twitter. That is just wrong and sad.
What has happened to CNN as a news
organization. Once upon a time you could
turn to CNN at anytime and get the news.
Now that is gone. Why ? I don't get why CNN
is not live so many times either.

Anonymous said...

Interesting, there is a promo running on CNN
saying Anderson Cooper will be talking with
Yoko Ono on 360 and he is on 60 minutes
tonight talking to Eminem. That reminds me
of the 360 from back in the day. It was news,
pop culture and interesting stuff. I really loved
when Anderson tested something out live and
you saw how it turned out right before your eyes.
I don't know who came up with the bright idea
to ruin a true original news show. Can we get
it back with the cool bump music and the
Nth degree.I always thought 360 was bored
down in an effort to make it compatible with
Campbell Brown.360 is the one show the
suits need to leave alone and let it get back
to how it started. One hip news show.

Anonymous said...

As long as Parker Spitzer is the lead show
in the prime time lineup on CNN things will
not change. Same thing goes for Piers Morgan.
When you hear who CNN recently hired would
you watch. Of course not. O'Donnell is also
benefiting from Rachel Maddow as a lead in.
The problem for 360 is Parker Spitzer is
causing the ratings for MSNBC to go up and
CNN continues going down. CNN must be live
for the full 180 minutes of prime time. I am
willing to bet CNN could cancel Parker
Spitzer tomorrow and they would be
applauded. Same thing goes for Morgan
who has not business on CNN. Viewers
will never accept these shows. You don't
peddle junk to viewers.CNN came up
with an ill-fated strategy. These 2 shows
are failure from the start and have no
business on a cable news channel.

Anonymous said...

Lou Dobbs is a non story. 360 should focus
on important issues. Is it really a surprise that
Dobbs is a hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why some are surprised that Lou Dobbs is a hypocrite. To me that goes without saying.
I also don't relate to Yoko Ono or Eminem. Obviously AC has decided that it is easier to be a personality than a real journalist and that's sad.
Yoko Ono was never a popular person.
She's supposed to be a real b...h, so why bother and half the viewers don't even know who she is or was.

Anonymous said...

Joe summed things up for CNN this morning on
Morning Joe. CNN forgot about it's brand. CNN
should never have given shows to Lou Dobbs,
Rick Sanchez, Eliot Spitzer and Piers Morgan.
Does CNN have any idea how many people they
have angered. CNN must do news it is their forte.
Hard news. original reports rock sold journalism
is CNN. News is the niche for CNN since it
is not being offered anywhere. I am with Joe.
CNN would do itself good to stand up for the
news and important information. CNN has
to start a revolution. News and vital info
matter more than anything else. CNN must
be the source for the news and get away
from the circus sooner rather than later.
So many people are hoping CNN will see
the error of it's ways and get back to news.
The smartest thing CNN could do right now
would be to move Parker Sptizer and Morgan
to weekends. They can't have these people
on Mon-Fri Put someone like Don Lemon
on at 9, he is respected. At 8 I am thinking
it would be best for CNN to go with a news
show for women. anchored by the female
reporters at CNN. I say go with 4 hosts.
CNN needs to get back to being the cable
news network.CNN can't afford to be all
over the place in prime time.CNN has
to come up with a lineup that belongs
together and do news and drop opinion.
Talk and bad decisions are killing CNN.

Anonymous said...

CNN is making the same mistake the Today
Show made years ago. Katie Couric ended
up saving the show. Sadly, CNN does not
get it. No matter what they do people will
not watch Parker Spitzer or Piers Morgan.
People don't like them having shows on
CNN.I really don't think the suits realize
they are in the middle of a huge backlash.
I say also bring back CNN Tonight at 7 and
move John King to weekends too. CNN can't
keep dissing viewers.CNN is a brand that
becomes more damaged each day they
stay the Klein course. Jon Klein is the
man who sabotaged CNN.

Anonymous said...

What I don't understand is what was the rush?
It is as if someone wasn't thinking of the harm
these 2 shows and others would do to CNN. The
people you put on your network become the faces
of the the channel CNN needs to cut it's losses.
Cancel Parker Spitzer and don't even let Piers
Morgan make it to air.CNN's wound are self inflicted.

Anonymous said...

OMG. CNN can't afford to stick with Parker
Spitzer long term. It is ironic that Campbell
Brown outperformed Parker Spitzer & Rick
Sanchez. Viewers are definitely sending CNN
a message about what they will tolerate. Joe
simply pointed out what everyone had been
saying, why is CNN abandoning it's principles.
It is just not smart. Maybe at some point the
management will get this but I;m not hopeful
until they see the light about Parker Spitzer
and Piers Morgan. These 2 shows are a
disaster for CNN.

Anonymous said...

Everyone seems to think that the leadins to 360 is what is killing it and primetime on CNN. While part of that is true, 360 has to take part of the blame for stabbing itself, especially now, with O'Donnell breathing down AC's back.
Why was it necessary to take a good topic like Bullying and stretch it for four days and then put it together, edit it, and then call it a Special?? There was nothing special about it. We saw it already during the week.
This is LAZY journalism and it isn't the first time and it wouldn't be the last either. And those faithful viewers are turning in droves to alternative programming, Not because they dislike Anderson, but because they dislike HIS SHOW.

Anonymous said...

360 is the only thing CNN has going for it
right now and yes lead ins play a role. FNC
and MSNBC have shows that bring in viewers
at 8. Yes lead ins matter that is is why the
first hour of prime time is important and
should not be taken lightly.If you notice
Hannity loses more than a million viewers
from BOR. Rachel gains and Larry King has
a terrible lead in as well.CNN is losing viewers
at 7 as well. The 10 pm hour tends to be
the lowest rated hour even for the big 3.
AC makes millions for CNN. With CNN
turning off so many people, there is no
way 100's of thousands are going to
suddenly turn to CNN at 10. They leave
the channel where it is.

Anonymous said...

CNN should get back to being a real 24/7
news channel and include international
news in the mix. Content can be a problem
for 360 and CNN at times.I would like to
CNN try doing hard news for 6 months
minus the pov and talking heads and see
what happens.360 was doing great tonight
until Parker Spitzer was mentioned. I had
to delete it from the dvr. I am one of the
people who are boycotting Parker Spitzer.
Turned the channel for 5 minutes to
make sure they are never on my dvr.

Anonymous said...

"AC makes millions for CNN."
Shouldn't that read: AC makes millions FROM CNN?

Anonymous said...

CNN could learn from the Gap. After a
huge backlash waged on FB they went
back to the old logo. I guess I will have
to turn from CNN during the day and
start watching MSNBC. I really don't care
to see clips of opinion from Parker Spitzer
all day long. Are we suppose to believe
there is no news so viewers have to suffer
from clips of Parker Spitzer.

Anonymous said...

CNN needs to become the information network
& not the boring talk channel.It makes no sense
in the Digital Age that CNN's content is crappy.
There are too many resources for journalists
these days. CNN really needs to go out into the
real world and stop relying on people who make
their livings off of anger and divisiveness. CNN
needs to realize that has played out and is really
bringing down old media. They are afraid of the
new media because the new media shows just
how lazy they are.If some kids can go out and
be creative with their cameras, why can't CNN.

I do want to say kudos to Dr Sanjay Gupta for
his Human Factor series. It is inspiring and
uplifting. It is time for some positive news.

Anonymous said...

Start the pool to see how soon CNN will be
forced to cancel Parker Spitzer. I say it will
only last for a month. The program is a drag
on CNN's ratings causing them to tank. CNN
should never have gone to a lineup without
a female having her own show. Will it be
Kyra, who was pretty good subbing for Larry.
Suzanne Malveaux who subs for Wolf or 3 or
4 hosts. If CNN management does not get the
message like right now, they never will. Trash
and sleaze have no place on CNN. It is suppose
to be a news channel.

Anonymous said...

If Parker sits any closer to Spitzer, she'll be sitting on his lap, and then some.
Who's idea was it to put these two, who have zero chemistry together, at a round table with other equally boring guests? Oh, I know, Jon Klein, who management decided to fire before this disasterous show ever hit the air. Too Late.
Larry King had a total of 196,000 viewers last nite. I really think Klein should have stuck around to see what a mess he created...and because he was allowed to sign a new contract in June, I bet he's still being paid!

Anonymous said...

Good grief CNN. The banner is too large
for the live coverage of the Chilean mine
rescue & it says CNN = Politics.C'mon CNN.
Are they just going from bad to worse in
a NY minute.Is anyone really minding the
store.

Anonymous said...

Tonight I saw a documentary on Ted Turner.
CNN is suppose to be a 24/7 live news channel.
CNN needs a 21st century visionary as Turner
was a 20th century visionary.

Finally, CNN gets it. Real time coverage is
the best. Technology makes this pretty
simple. You have Skype, live-streaming
with an I-phone and computers. There is
no excuse for CNN not being innovative
in ways to bring us live events from all
around the world. Those are crisp and
clear pictures from a mine in Chile. Many
thanks to Anderson Coooper and all of
the people at CNN involved. Keep in mind
CNN that the news is the star. These are
the words of your founder Ted Turner.

Anonymous said...

Zain Verjee was reporting to Tony Harris the other day about the new Queen Elizabeth, the redesigned oceanliner. She had a short cropped haircut and looked years younger and very cute and flirty.
Wish we could see her more often.
She was a "breath of fresh air," for the stale NYC studios.

Anonymous said...

All of CNN is laughable, including 360. When the NYT refers to Anderson Cooper as a "personality,"
you know he's not being taken seriously either. And why should he be?
He still hasn't decided what he wants to be when he "grows up."
No wonder he bought a fire station.
Next will hear he's decided to become a fireman, just because the mood struck him.
No one is real on CNN anymore so just don't expect it.

Anonymous said...

There have been so many who said Crossfire
would not work in 2011 and they are right.
The world is very different now and CNN
needs to realize how people communicate
and consume information.It is definitely not
what CNN is offering. Content can be so
unlimited for CNN. Just last week there was
a study about internet content. It turns out
it is not updated that often There is the huge
advantage and opening for CNN. They have
CNN, CNN I , CNN.com, stations around the
would that are connected to CNN and plenty
of magazines and websites owned by Time
Warner. They don't need people like Parker,
Spitzer or Morgan.CNN needs to focus on
content, news, reporting, storytelling ,
presentation and production and connecting
with the masses. You have got to seek the
news and people that is out there worldwide.
There is no longer any excuse for CNN to
be this disconnected from viewers. CNN
has got to reach out to people and say
we want to hear from you about stories
and events and interesting items you think
we should know about. Exclude politics
and see what you get and you will see
CNN has been ignoring the world. Which
is the place for news.CNN has some of
the best reporters on the planet and we
don't get to see enough of them.

Anonymous said...

We make a point of posting on the blog when
we think CNN does something right. Congrats
to all involved in the Chilean mine rescue. It is
expected that more than a billion people will
watch this worldwide. We hate to say it but the
MSNBC lean forward campaign could not be
more timely. The coverage of this live event
is courtesy of the technological advances
made by mankind. Nasa was involved as well
as a lot of American innovation.CNN must be
live at 8. There is no way to fix Parker Spitzer.
The show is an ill-fated concept. Karl
Penhaul & Gary Tuchman and the CNN
people are doing a great job, People turn
to CNN for news and that is what it is all
about.It should be interesting to see the
ratings. Right now CNN is one of the top
searches on Google. That tells me that
people are watching on multiple platforms.
Think about what we all witnessed.We
could actually see the Phoenix being lowered
down some 2300 ft. That is how you use
technology in news. Maybe CNN needs a live
news show on location from around the world
adventure at 8. Live streaming and real
time is where things are going and will only
get bigger and bigger. Anybody can stream
events and it is fairly inexpensive and it
is a great way for CNN to highlight their
journalists and photographers, etc.It is
as though we are in Chile live.

Anonymous said...

Finally, CNN did it's job.It was great to
see Zain and I watched her overnight.
Can we get CNN International starting
at midnight.360 was awesome last
night as well as CNN's coverage of the
event itself.Is there any way for CNN
to let Ted Turner have some sort of
role with the network? I have been
glued to the television watching CNN
since 8 last night. Kyra Phillips said it
best when she handed things off to
Tony Harris. This is what CNN does, it
is their brand. Are you listening suits?
If CNN focuses on news and not the
noise they will be just fine. But they
must signal to viewers that they are
serious about the news. Television is
a visual medium. Keep that in mind
as well.

Anonymous said...

Well tonight we get the worst of CNN.
The Delaware debate is not a national
news story. Nothing makes it different
from other Senate races around the
country. CNN needs to start thinking
on the global scale again and stop
being so lowbrow. Look for CNN to
take a ratings dive tonight.

Anonymous said...

CNN will face the possibility of missing
the last miner coming out live. There are
only 4 left to be brought out and CNN has
a debate and Parker Spitzer. CNN please
do yourselves and viewers a favor show
the miners and not that Parker Spitzer.

The ATC Team said...

We have always had a standing rule that we don't post links to other websites in comments. The reason is we just don't have time to check them out for authenticity.

This rule also applies to people quoting from other sites. If you say 'TVNewser says, or ICN says' your comment will not get posted, we simply do not have the time to verify the accuracy of all these anonymous comments. If you find a rating or an article that is worthy of some discussion please send it to us as a tip and we will consider it for a post.

We hope you understand that moderating comments is a time consuming job and having to fact check them doubles the work. So please feel free to post YOUR opinion, that's really what we are interested in hearing.

Anonymous said...

CNN just became a national joke on a
major news story. You don't have Parker
Spitzer anchoring on a major news story.
CNN is a disgrace. How could they even
think about doing that to Candy Crowley.
They should have gone to Candy only.
We know CNN ratings will tank as a
result because they had on a boring debate
and they got worse.

steve said...

I really want CNN to Work..
Why do i watch a news channel?
To watch and hear about the news..
I Have patiently waited around until they got rid of Lou Dobbs Glenn Beck Etc.. Now i'm waiting for them to get rid of Piers Morgan and his show hasn't aired yet.. Show me the News .. I don't care about talk television
.. Come on CNN... Don't Die..