Jon Klein out and Ken Jautz in at CNN?!?!

FTVLive is reporting that Jon Klein will be fired from CNN today and HLN’s Ken Jautz will be taking over…

Update: I have a feeling we’ll be getting more details in the New York Times shortly.

Update 2: Odd timing to firing Klein. They just hired Parker and Spitzer and Piers Morgan and John King, USA is still relatively new. That’s all Klein’s doing. Now Jautz will allegedly take over with 2/3 of CNN primetime being brand new, and therefore untouchable. So though Klein may now be gone, his legacy will stick around for quite a while, boxing Jautz in and leaving him with little room to maneuver in the near to mid-term.

Update 3: FTVLive tweeted this news about 20. I retweeted it. But now that tweet and my RT have disappeared. The story is still on the FTV website. What’s going on here?

Update 4: Brian Stelter confirms via Twitter…

Breaking: Jonathan Klein, president of CNN/U.S., is being replaced by Ken Jautz, president of sister network HLN, network source says.

Update 5: Jim Walton sent out the following email to staff this morning…

To: CNN Staff

From: Jim Walton

=======================================================

I have some news to share with you about our executive leadership and how our programming teams are going to work together to ensure we’re prominently featuring CNN’s quality journalism across our multiple platforms. Two accomplished CNN executives whom most of you know and have worked with are stepping up to new roles, effective immediately. A third senior leader will be brought on in the role of managing editor to help leverage our newsgathering resources across multiple platforms in a more collaborative way.

Ken Jautz is moving from HLN to CNN/U.S. to run the network as its executive vice president. Ken is a rarity—a working journalist who is an even better news executive. The reinvention of HLN is the latest in a string of successes he has led at CNN. Ken has launched, made profitable and turned around businesses for our news organization, Turner Broadcasting and Time Warner literally around the world. To his new assignment he brings deep experience as a reporter, both overseas and in the US; a CNN-wide perspective; and relationships from multiple positions within Turner. Most importantly, he has a demonstrated ability to collaborate and lead strong teams, and a track-record of programming successes.

Scot Safon assumes the executive vice president role at HLN and will run the network. Scot and HLN are in my view an inspired combination. He is an innovator; HLN is an ideal news and information laboratory. He is an expert in audience targeting and development; HLN’s audience is young, engaged and growing. And he is a charismatic leader who is passionate about journalism, storytelling and our brand. As Chief Marketing Officer of CNN Worldwide, Scot has led a dynamic team that has done award-winning marketing, advertising and promotion for CNN, HLN, CNN International and CNN.com.

Additionally, to put our multi-platform advantages more fully to work, we will be naming an executive vice president and managing editor of CNN Worldwide to lead collaboration across all platforms and elevate CNN’s unique journalism and analysis. A managing editor, with full access to our journalism resources and my mandate to shape and connect our newsgathering across networks, shows, and websites, is a new role for the organization. Ultimately, the goal is that the kind of front-page reporting and analysis that captures a news event, translates its meaning and shapes the dialogue about the story will continue to emerge in even more prominent and more accessible ways to CNN’s audiences. The search for this person is currently underway.

Our colleague Jon Klein is leaving CNN. Jon’s six years as head of CNN/U.S. are reflected in the quality of our coverage of signal news events during his tenure: the tsunami in South Asia, Hurricane Katrina, the 2008 election cycle and the Haiti earthquake, as well as shows like Anderson Cooper 360, The Situation Room and Fareed Zakaria GPS, all of which bear his imprint. Jon has made important contributions to the CNN story, and he leaves with our respect and friendship, and with my sincere thanks.

Update: Jon Klein’s memo (via FTVLive)

From: Pinto, Pat
To: *CNN US Staff
Sent: Fri Sep 24 10:14:24 2010
Subject: From Jon Klein

It is with a tinge of regret tempered by great expectations for the future – yours, mine, and that of the information industry in which we make our careers – that I bid all of you goodbye.

The CNN I’m leaving today is demonstrably stronger than the one I inherited almost six years ago – both editorially and financially. That is a tribute to your passion for telling stories that matter, your talent for uncovering the truth without layering on destructive bluster or partisan spin, and your willingness to indulge my appetite for innovation and change.

CNN has always experienced the vertiginous peaks and valleys of the ratings cycle, compounded these past six years by unprecedented change in news consumption habits. In the midst of all that it’s been gratifying to have led CNN/US to its highest viewership levels ever, during the 2008 elections, and I’m convinced the network is now poised to level out the troughs through the hirings of Eliot Spitzer, Kathleen Parker, and Piers Morgan, three intelligent, magnetic personalities who will join with Anderson Cooper to give viewers a reason to watch CNN in prime time no matter what the news of the day brings.

It’s been a pleasure to watch the transformation of some of our reporters into global news superstars during my time here, as we raised expectations and they blew through them. Anderson, who was anchoring the 7pm broadcast in 2004, is now the best-known and most-respected news reporter on the planet, and deservedly so. Soledad O’Brien, our morning co-anchor back then, is now the pre-eminent African-American journalist in the world, and was recently recognized by the NABJ as Journalist of the Year. Sanjay Gupta earned the moniker of “The World’s Surgeon General” through his heartfelt reporting on myriad dangerous and difficult assignments in which he often was the lone voice of Western journalism, most recently dropping everything when I called to send him to Pakistan’s devastating floods.

We’ve significantly enhanced our ability to engage Americans with the world around them through the addition of the incomparable Fareed Zakaria to our Sunday lineup and, subsequently, to the Time Warner family as a whole.

These past six years have witnessed the birth of the Situation Room as a vibrant new way of relating the day’s events, as well as the rise of the Best Political Team on Television, led so ably by Wolf Blitzer to the pinnacle of political coverage during the historic election of 2008. John King’s unsurpassed political acumen came to vivid life through the Magic Wall, and we made Sunday mornings safe for wit, and for women, when Candy Crowley took over State of the Union.

As a documentary maker at heart, I am especially pleased by the resurgence of our longform programming, which won numerous honors during this period including a Peabody Award and a Columbia DuPont Award for “God’s Warriors,” and a special President’s Emmy last year for our entire body of documentary work. No other network airs as many quality documentaries as CNN – we’re premiering four more outstanding docs in the month ahead – and I salute our tireless producers and reporters for taking their already excellent work to the next level.

Together we amped up innovation on a grand scale. It was so rewarding to conspire with Sue Bunda and our colleagues at CNN.com in launching iReport; to support David Bohrman’s brilliantly conceived YouTube debate; to marry Rick Sanchez’s boundless energy to the endless possibilities of Twitter; to collaborate with Facebook and Foursquare and to champion indefatigable in-house innovators like Alex Wellen, Victor Hernandez, Janelle Rodriguez, Eric Kuhn, and Bethany Swain.

We launched impressive new cross-platform programming initiatives like CNN Heroes (the inspiration of Wendy Walker realized through the perspiration of Kelly Flynn and her team) and Impact Your World, both of which acknowledge that CNN viewers yearn to be part of something larger than themselves. And it was so rewarding to conceive and grow the ambitious Black in America series and its offspring. But even more potentially significant in the long term has been our ability to attract a diverse cadre of talented and energized producers to the In America unit so ably steered by Geraldine Moriba.

To help foster the rise of all these worthwhile new initiatives, while observing firsthand the class with which the legendary Larry King transitioned to the next phase of his remarkable career, has been an experience for which I’m forever grateful.

It has been my privilege to lead the amazing people of CNN/US. I have no doubt that you will continue to play a critical role in explaining, influencing and impacting the world, while having a hell of a lot of fun in the process. My family and I will enjoy watching you do it and rooting for your continued success.

We are going into a busy fall and winter with November elections and two new prime time shows on CNN. Ken, Scot and the new managing editor will impact these and all of the other events ahead, as will you. My expectation is that our leaders and our new operating discipline will put CNN’s advantages to work where they matter most: for our audience. Our coverage will be relevant and resonant; will have meaning for millions of people around the world; and it will reflect the qualities that CNN is rightfully famous for: commitment to truth, respect for facts, service to no political agenda and passion for journalism and analysis done right and well.

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18 Responses to “Jon Klein out and Ken Jautz in at CNN?!?!”

  1. No way! He can’t get fired yet! Parker/Spitzer and Piers Morgan have yet to bomb!

  2. This was long overdue. Good move.

    Now Jautz needs to steal a big name who is not top dog at current network (Maddow or Hannity).

  3. “Now Jautz needs to steal a big name who is not top dog at current network (Maddow or Hannity).”
    That’s not happening for obvious reasons.

  4. What he needs is compelling TV. Parker/Spitzer might be compelling if it is a trainwreck. Otherwise, zzzzzzzzzzz

    Piers Morgan? Will he have little girls sing opera and grown men do crazy things with hula hoops? And will Howie and Sharon be long too? (I suppose they could do a bizarro version of F&F)

    CNN is becoming more of a joke, thanks to Jon Klein’s recent decisions. Why not have Rick Sanchez host election night, while simultaneously getting waterboarded and tasered. THAT I would watch.

  5. Wow, that was the longest goodbye letter I’ve ever read. Was thinking it was going to end with, “Old CNN leaders never die, they just fade to black…”

  6. Its about time CNN fired JK. However, the damage is done and even though Jautz did a great job with HLN.. I’m unsure what exactly he can do at this point.

  7. Roger Ailes should lock his office door and hide under the desk. NBC just announced Jeff Zucker’s been fired at NBC. Heads are a-rolling!

  8. “Jautz did a great job with HLN..”
    That’s a subject for debate at least as far as it concerning prime time.

  9. Piers Morgan? Will he have little girls sing opera and grown men do crazy things with hula hoops? And will Howie and Sharon be long too? (I suppose they could do a bizarro version of F&F)

    You watch way too much reality TV. ;-)

  10. That’s a subject for debate at least as far as it concerning prime time.

    Compare ratings from the “wheel format” and after Jautz relaunched prime time with Grace and company.

    And while I’m not necessarily a fan of HLN’s prime time.. Its still better than a video jukebox shuffling the same ‘ole tired stories.

    That said, of course HLN would insert updates into the wheel as needed.. But, it was still really repetitive when ya watched for longer than 30 minutes.

  11. terance; I wasn’t referring to ratings. If they wanted big ratings it’s obvious you go the Fox route.
    For example, they could give Erick Erickson a show and probably get great ratings opposite Shep’s show. Fox viewers would switch to watch him I suppose but would it be great for CNN.

  12. fritz, ratings are all that matter when comparing “before and after” in cable news.

  13. – Erickson –

    Red vs. Blue. Like Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots.

  14. “fritz, ratings are all that matter when comparing “before and after” in cable news.”
    HLN in prime time is cable news in name only. You can show soft core porn and get get great ratings but it’s not cable news. I make the same argument for MSNBC’s doc block good ratings-not news. If they want to turn CNN into HLN then they need to stop calling it a news network.

  15. Watching CNN. Joe’s fault. He ruined Megyn Kelly for me. Jerk.
    It occurs to me that the biggest ‘problem’ with CNN is that it’s the same as it ever was. We changed. It leans left, but no more than most media outlets; i.e. not enough to catch the lefty eyeballs. It’s not ‘entertaining’, but news isn’t really supposed to be (sorry). ‘Entertaining’ is half of what some of us complain about. It’s time has passed, and that kinda sucks.

  16. HLN in prime time is cable news in name only. You can show soft core porn and get get great ratings but it’s not cable news. I make the same argument for MSNBC’s doc block good ratings-not news. If they want to turn CNN into HLN then they need to stop calling it a news network.

    I’m down with the soft core porn action.

    Btw, what is your idea of cable news? What specific programs?

  17. I’m down with the soft core porn action.

    HEL-lo. ;-0

  18. Watching CNN. Joe’s fault. He ruined Megyn Kelly for me. Jerk.

    My work is done here..

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