More Changes at CNN?

Buried in Alex Weprin’s TVNewser write up on the Kiran Chetry news (which includes the mysterious “someone familiar with her decision” attribution which doesn’t seem mysterious to me) is this…

TVNewser hears that a formal decision on the future of CNN mornings could come in the next few months. The decision would solidify the morning hours with a permanent replacement, but there is also a chance that more talent could depart the network as a result.

Lots to write about these two sentences…

1. I’d already suggested that CNN chose the short time frame – with a September 23rd cut off date – for “Wake Up Call” with Ali Velshi for a reason. Combine that with the dates for the changes CNN is making to early prime and primetime – with a fall launch for Erin Burnett’s show – and today’s news from Weprin of a decision on mornings within “the next few months”…and you see a pattern…CNN wants its overhaul done and in place by the early fall.

2. Last night I suggested that CNN appears to be heading towards killing off American Morning. This reinforces that theory.

3. “More talent could depart as a result”? This is very interesting. The implication here is that a CNN programming change would necessitate a corresponding talent departure. But who? Or, to be more precise: Who is left? It shouldn’t be Suzanne Malveaux at 11am. Her moving to the anchor desk was a Ken Jautz decision and reversing himself at this juncture is highly unlikely. 1pm is still vacant with a bunch of subs so nobody to get rid of there. Brooke Baldwin doesn’t anchor the mornings and was recently promoted (albeit by Jon Klein) (also by Jautz). So that really narrows the list down to three people – assuming that it’s a morning person or persons who may go away – Ali Velshi, Christine Romans, or Kyra Phillips.

Let’s deal with Phillips first. She’s a CNN veteran and the last link to CNN’s dayside from 10 years ago. Is she untouchable? No. No one in dayside news not named Shepard Smith is. But it seems unlikely, particularly if the change that could be coming is the killing off of American Morning.

And it’s because the change coming could be the killing off of American Morning that we should be zeroing in on Velshi or Romans. However the picture is very murky. I can’t speak to Romans but Velshi could have reason to want to depart CNN after the hiring of Erin Burnett who CNN will no doubt lean on to tap her CNBC business background. On the other hand, Jautz did launch “Wake Up Call” around Velshi which has to be viewed at the very least as a way to leverage Velshi’s brand.

But if American Morning gets killed off what happens to Velshi? CNN has kept 1pm, Velshi’s former shift before going to AM, open. But…and nobody has written about this yet…CNN’s changes to early prime are going to impact dayside because the Situation Room’s two hour block moves forward one hour to 4pm. That leaves 9am-4pm, seven hours, for CNN Newsroom. That’s an odd number not divisible by two so it’s almost certain that a shift is going away, probably the 1pm, and Phillips, Malveaux, or Baldwin will be getting a three hour shift. I don’t see CNN keeping all four shifts with someone getting a one hour shift. My point is if AM gets killed off Velshi may not have a 1pm to return to. Then again, maybe Velshi returns to dayside and takes Phillips’, Malveaux’s, or Baldwin’s shift?

Like I said, the picture is very murky.

4. And what would CNN replace American Morning with? FTVLive came out today taking a ridiculous victory lap for predicting Kiran Chetry’s departure and CNN would poach Robin Meade from HLN to replace American Morning nine months ago, an eternity in programming terms…too long for any prediction to be based on the slightest hint of reality. That said, what if that’s what CNN is indeed mulling over? It’s not like CNN is overflowing with talent these days waiting in the wings to helm a new morning show. And what does that do to HLN? More importantly, is Morning Express’ format something CNN really wants to feature given this big public push stressing more news and analysis?

Only one thing is certain and you can take it to the bank. CNN’s changes and possible changes are a veritable gold mine for media writers. We’ll have plenty to write about. And it’ll keep us off the streets. Well, most of us…

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26 Responses to “More Changes at CNN?”

  1. Two things: Velshi could move over to FOX Business or CNBC most likely, they both seem to gobble up talent constantly. That and there were vague comments about that Morning Joe might jump MSNBC, which makes absolutely no sense, but nonetheless was supposedly rumored.

    Anyway, what format is left in the morning? CBS takes politics, apparently. ABC and NBC are essentially the same. FOX is mindless chat. MSNBC is mindless political chat. HLN is straight slim news. CNN would aim for … depth? Maybe rebrand the show as “DayBreak,” since they are poaching names, and maybe throw Phillips on in the morning, or maybe another veteran if one exists at CNN?

  2. starbroker Says:

    I don’t know what the upside would be to move Robin over to CNN. Unlike other cable channels, CNN/HLN are packaged together. There isn’t a separate carriage fee for each, they are bundled together. They sell the ads across all platforms together.

    Also, Morning Express is now 6 hours long? I don’t know if CNN would give up that much time.

    So with the way CNN/HLN is sold etc, I can’t see much upside but a big potential downside in moving her from HLN to CNN.

  3. please remember that, before “Rick’s List”, Rick Sanchez was just doing one hour of Newsroom (3/4P), so the one hour shift is not a strange idea..

  4. terance Says:

    Do ya know how long people have been talking about CNN poaching Meade? A very long time and it simply isn’t going to happen. Contrary to people ‘in the know’ I can tell ya Meade likes it on HLN and its her way or the highway. Just ask all the sports guys that got the boot!

    Never been fond of Phillips and think she gets baffled when breaking news hits. Plus, I’m sure she’s making a pretty penny being with the network for so long. So, I think its about time they cut costs and put someone making less money on that has more talent.

    I’ve said it and read other say the same thing before: CNNI seems to have better talent than the domestic side as a whole. What’s more, these people are more likeable as well. Now we all probably remember the Zain Verjee ‘experiment’ but she was underutilized by Jon Klein. I mean, update girl on The Situation Room? Really?

    Anyway, why not get rid of Wolf Blitzer as well? I’m certain he makes big bucks and sucks. Although it ought to be funny from my perspective if Jautz cuts Wolf’s on air time down to 5 hours a week from a high of something like 21 when Klein was running things.

  5. stevemg Says:

    Oy, the only thing remaining is to change the letters.

    CNC? Cable News Channel.

    What else is there to do?

  6. please remember that, before “Rick’s List”, Rick Sanchez was just doing one hour of Newsroom (3/4P), so the one hour shift is not a strange idea..

    Different scenario. That was to give Sanchez a boost. And it was also done under different CNN management. Jon Klein squeezed Sanchez in because he was a “juice machine” though one that cut two directions…positively and negatively.

    Also, Morning Express is now 6 hours long? I don’t know if CNN would give up that much time.

    Of which isn’t Meade only anchoring three hours live? Some of its repeated and some of it is anchored by someone else. Could still fit, though like you I see more downside than upside for CNN…though maybe not for the same reasons.

  7. joeremi Says:

    Every version of how this goes leaves me scratching my head. Every scenario I come up with with an ounce of hope includes Kiran Chetry in a starring role. I’m bewildered.

  8. How so?

  9. joeremi Says:

    A problem CNN has is that too few of their people grab the screen like AC does. Now maybe I’m just shallow and reacting to her looks, but Kiran struck me that way whenever I came across her. Attractive (duh), but not in that flat “that’s all there is” way of, say, Ainsley Earhardt. More like Megyn Kelly. Like her or not, Megyn grabs the screen, and can carry on a conversation.

    Every time I saw Kiran, she was subservient to a boring male anchor, in a boring morning show. An America Live-type show built around her would have had a lot more spark.

    Take this with a grain of salt..it’s not like I watch a lot of CNN. I’m going on intuition, and the fact that CNN doesn’t have enough arrows in their quiver to be throwing away good ones.

  10. I thought Morning Express was mostly live for four hours, and just the last two had Meade in tape. Not that I watch or anything, but I do wonder how the show performs in its last two hours versus what it replaced.

    I don’t see Robin Meade moving. That would be stupid. You just move the problem from one network to the next. And besides, Morning Express fits in with the lighter nature of HLN. CNN needs a hard news morning show, albeit without the typical CNN staleness.

    Personally I think CNN just needs more conversation and less boring taped reports. That look like the direction they are moving so perhaps the American Morning name stays but the current format and anchors get the boot

  11. @insidecablenews Brook was promoted by Ken Jautz not JK!

  12. Grrrrrrrrrr….I was going to go back and check but I didn’t. My error. Noted and thanks.

  13. paminwi Says:

    joe have to disagree with you re: Kiran Chetry. After watching her on Fox & Friends when I first started watching Fox she was as dumb as a box of rocks. Maybe she has improved since then but the little I have seen since the change with adding Velshi/Romans she still seems stupid compared to Romans.

  14. [...] AM possibly on its own way out (as Inside Cable News intimated), perhaps, that CNN somebody simply did not care anymore. GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); [...]

  15. motownman Says:

    So Joe, why, in a thread about Kiran Chetry and CNN, do you feel the need to take a gratuitous, unnecessary shot at Ainsley?

  16. joeremi Says:

    ^ Well, Mr. Man, anyone in possession of a modicum of reading comprehension skills can deduce the context in which I compared Kiran to Megyn and Ainsley. Anyone who saw Ainsley’s performance the night Ted Kennedy died can explain to you why my comment was anything but “gratuitous”.

    My question is: Why does someone who never comments here suddenly show up when Ainsley’s name is introduced? Does your computer have an Ainsley Alert?

  17. motownman Says:

    I comment on other things here besides Ainsley.
    I just don’t like to see her unfairly slammed when the subject has nothing to do with her.

  18. joeremi Says:

    Oh boo hoo. She’s smokin’ hot, and has a great job. You need not worry about your girl.

  19. Here’s what CNN needs for their dayside programming..
    News. Fire everyone from the CNN Newsroom and replace it with shows similar to Wolf Blitzer’s the Situation Room. I’ve been finding myself watching Fox News a little more during the daytime, because I can’t stand the lack of news on the CNN Newsroom. The only anchor of the CNN Newsroom that actually has news is Don Lemon. He’s a great anchor. Everyone else, however, just likes showing random videos they found on Youtube and talking like my mother reading a TV manual.

    What they need:
    1. Co-hosts. Why did they remove it? They’ve had co-hosts since CNN started. It was sort of CNN’s signature style of presenting the news, at least during the day. Then they took it away. CNN Newsroom became too boring to watch. There were too little personalities, too little interaction. You can do only some things with a news anchor talking to the weatherman or weathergirl.

    2. New studios. Watching the same studio for 9 hours is boring. I don’t get why CNN has the same studio for 9 hours.. all in Atlanta. I get it, Atlanta’s your headquarters. You didn’t have to move Suzanna Malveaux to Atlanta. She’s a Washington reporter. She could’ve had a Washington based show.

    3. Debates. Since bias is something that CNN cannot do well.. you saw Eliot Spitzer.. that was terrible and useless and was not what I came to CNN for.. they need arguing with a Democrat and a Republican. Instead, they have Political Buzz.. giving people only 20 seconds to speak. Boring.

    4. Hard news. There’s no hard news during the CNN Newsroom PERIOD. There is just none. It’s like watching MSNBC and HLN merge. It’s aggravating. They can still bring the news faster than most people, and obviously first (MSNBC is always the last to report breaking news. They’re always too busy worrying they’re going to scare people by interrupting a guest with breaking news.) But there’s hardly any hard news. I mean, when Fox News shows something silly or some stunt from the internet, you know that they’re not going to focus on that for 10 minutes. It’s undershadowed by their hard news. When CNN does it, it’s cheesy.

    5. Less teasers. One thing that bothers me that I hardly see on Fox News and MSNBC is this thing CNN likes to do.. teasers. For example, teaser trivia. “Who was the first man on the moon?” or teaser lists “The top 5 greatest states in the United States. #1 comes after the break”. The funny thing is, sometimes I tune to Fox News and they’re doing the SAME EXACT THING, but they give me the answer without a break in between, because they know they don’t need gullible people to stay during the break to keep their ratings up.

    6. More international news. Not TOO MUCH, because CNN USA is a domestic network, but enough. CNN’s ratings went up during international news, and down during boring soft news. I liked their simulcasts with CNN International. When they said “We’d like to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the World” I knew I was having a Wolf Blitzer style newscast early, and I was going to get hard news. When I saw a news anchor with a CNN International cohost, I stopped holding my remote so I won’t change to Fox News. I liked their international news. War coverage is exciting. Riots is exciting to watch. People won’t stick for boring soft news.

    7. Filed reports. CNN Newsroom doesn’t have that. It’s just a news anchor reading a teleprompter. Fox News has filed reports from around the country and the world. You see reports on mortgages, finance, Libya, Afghanistan.. CNN just has a news anchor reading the teleprompter for 5 seconds and then going to Alison Kosik for 20 seconds. There’s no taped reports. There’s no “Foreclosures happening around the country. Ali Velshi explains. [Begin Tape] [End Tape] Ali Velshi: Families struggling blah blah blah. Back to you”. You get what I mean. You just don’t see that traditional style of reporting.

    8. News ticker. I know this is mostly an entire CNN USA thing. The ticker flipper is terrible. The primetime shows except John King USA during the weekdays only having information on how to keep in contact with the news anchors is stupid. Give me a scrolling news ticker to look at.

    9. New graphics. Using the same blue graphics for each hour of the CNN Newsroom is terrible.

    10. Music. CNN International has better music than CNN USA has. You know something? BBC News has better music as well. In fact, it’s more dramatic. You get pumped to hear the news. CNN Newsroom just has those electronic drums. It’s annoying. It’s as annoying as that same noise MSNBC uses.

    11. YOU HAVE A 90 INCH SCREEN BEHIND YOU. Why is CNN not using it? It’s just being used for blue virtual rotating television screens. It’s not being used for anything special. Brooke Baldwin’s the exception, with the control room setup, but that’s a little stupid. It doesn’t even show a skyline or the street like Megyn Kelly’s show does. It’s stupid. You waste all that money and you’re not even going to use it. Might as well just use a green screen.

    12. One of the most annoying things about the CNN Newsroom is the awkward smiles.. for example, it’s obvious Zain Verjee is faking her smiles. Everyone on CNN Newsroom is always smiling. Stop smiling. Give me some hard news with a serious face. For example, I saw Fredricka Whitfield smile at the 9.2% unemployment rate and even laugh while asking if there’s ANY good news. This was when she was filling in on a weekday. I tuned to Fox News, and there was a serious report about it. Serious faces. The news isn’t always happy happy happy cheery. Stop smiling. I hate when CNN Newsroom comes into break and then Suzanne Malveaux is randomly smiling and changing expressions over and over. NO. Just stop it. What is wrong with you? Are you high?

    I guess there’s plenty more.. but.. I mean what’s the point of even typing this? CNN Newsroom has always been terrible, and I’ve been waiting too long. Me and my Nielsen Box has switched to Fox News during the day many times..

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