It was 16 months in the past that CNN had a constant programming lineup in primetime, one thing that’s just about remarkable in cable information.
Whereas bother has been widespread for CNN as its viewership has considerably decline since President Trump left workplace, there was panic for content material in primetime after its scandal-plagued however highest-rated anchor Chris Cuomo was fired in December 2021. The content material void additional expanded when its poorly-watched host Don Lemon, who had a two-hour block in primetime, was pulled by CNN boss Chris Licht for a brand new morning present, which has solely spawned extra complications for the community.
There was a revolving door of fill-in hosts for the 9 p.m. ET emptiness from Jim Acosta to Jake Tapper, whereas Licht tapped Alisyn Camerota and Laura Coates to steer programming at 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET respectively in current months.
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The one fixed all through the chaos has been “Anderson Cooper 360” within the 8 p.m. ET time slot, a program that steadily shouldn’t be CNN’s most-watched every day regardless of being in primetime.
Latest developments present weeknight programming stays in flux. Coates is reportedly being pulled from the 11 p.m. ET slot on account of lack of employees budgeting, leaving Camerota to do double responsibility from 10 p.m by midnight. And CNN additionally introduced that “Who’s Speaking to Chris Wallace?” can be shifting from Sundays nights at 7 p.m. to Friday nights at 10 p.m.
“That is simply the most recent shuffling of the deck chairs on the CNN Titanic,” one former CNN producer instructed Fox Information Digital.
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Over the previous a number of months, studies of CNN courting outdoors expertise to resolve their primetime debacle had emerged. CNN confirmed over the weekend that CBS Information’ Gayle King and NBA legend Charles Barkley can be teaming up for a weekly primetime present aptly titled “King Charles,” set to air on Wednesday nights this fall.
Barkley, who confirmed talks with the community have been happening in February, referred to as CNN a “s— present” and signaled he would “by no means” do a every day present.
CNN staffers have been notably irked at reported rumors that King, who beforehand labored with Licht when he was the chief producer of “CBS This Morning,” would obtain a whopping $12 million wage for internet hosting one hour per week. The community has had important finances cuts over the previous yr and likewise went by a wrenching spherical of layoffs on the finish of 2022.
“Individuals are pissed,” one CNN insider instructed Fox Information Digital.
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A spokesman for CNN forcefully pushed again on the $12 million price ticket that has been floated within the tabloids, calling that determine “completely laughable” and suggesting it was a lot decrease.
One other CNN insider was additionally chagrined at Coates, a Black lady who can also be a authorized analyst on the community, not having her personal present, calling her well-liked and a staff participant. They predicted folks on the community can be “up in arms” if the community does not do extra to handle variety in primetime past a one-day-a-week present with King and Barkley.
“I hope administration sees it the identical method and we keep away from an enormous bruhaha. We’ve had and proceed to have sufficient of them,” the insider mentioned.
The King-Barkley pairing, although, is a small antidote for CNN’s primetime woes because it addresses just one hour of content material on one weeknight as an alternative of all 5 weeknights. It marks Licht’s boldest programming transfer up to now however in a memo to employees, he stopped in need of declaring it a everlasting answer for CNN by saying the present will air “starting this fall and working into 2024,” maybe giving him wiggle room to chalk it up as one other primetime experiment in case it turns into one other scores dud.
As CNN struggles to revive its primetime programming, Licht appeared to throw within the towel in touchdown a everlasting host to save lots of the community 5 nights per week, a minimum of within the brief time period.
In February, the community shifted its pitch to Selection, which ran the headline “CNN Bets Information, Not Large Names, Will Seize Crowds at 9 PM.” The premise was that the information can be the actual star in primetime by city halls, high-profile interviews and different specials slightly than a single TV character to be the face of the time slot. However up to now they’ve did not juice CNN’s scores.
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In March, CNN averaged solely 539,000 whole viewers in primetime in comparison with Fox Information’ 2.1 million common and MSNBC’s 1.2 million. CNN completed the primary quarter of 2023 with its smallest viewers throughout primetime among the many advertiser-coveted 25-54 demo since a minimum of 1991.
All information courtesy of Nielsen Media Analysis.
Fox Information’ Brian Flood and David Rutz contributed to this report.