Archive for the CNN Category

New Day Experimentation?

Posted in CNN on August 14, 2014 by icn2

In a must-read for all the eyeball popping anonymous quotes, The Wrap’s Jethro Nededog writes that CNN is going to experiment with different hosts to be paired with Chris Cuomo for New Day…

Insiders tell TheWrap bad chemistry between co-hosts and ratings challenges have forced the network to look closely at “New Day”

CNN is in the process of making radical changes to its troubled morning show “New Day,” individuals with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap.

The network’s signature morning show is plagued with bad chemistry, including reports of bickering between its hosts Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira. The show is also stuck in the perennial No. 2 morning ratings spot among cable news networks.

And there’s this…

In a move to inject new life into “New Day,” insiders told TheWrap that CNN has tested several anchor combinations with and without current host Cuomo — to see what will work.

“They have tried Chris Cuomo with every available woman,” one individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap. “And they keep trying ‘New Day’ combinations that use none of the three anchors.”

And this…

“The only success story on that show is Michaela Pereira, who came from a big morning job in L.A., but they keep shoving her to the 11 a.m. timeslot,” the individual said. “Chris is insecure about her, because she is a natural on mornings. It’s her career talent … so they push her aside so he looks bigger.”

Bolduan, who is currently pregnant, hasn’t been included in the anchor testings so far (though she co-hosted “New Day” on Thursday with John Berman, who was filling in for a vacationing Cuomo).

“That speaks for itself,” the insider said of the network’s lack of testing around Bolduan, inferring that her future with the morning show is uncertain.

And keep reading for more on Alisyn Camerota and Don Lemon…

More on CNN’s BIG BIG BIG Lower Thirds…

Posted in CNN on August 11, 2014 by icn2

After looking at CNN’s graphics a little more, I have a few more observations to toss out…

1) Compared to both MSNBC and FNC, CNN’s new larger lower thirds are right in line from a total vertical space perspective. However, that does not automatically let CNN off the hook because FNC’s graphics are too big and MSNBC’s graphics do not eat up all of the lower thirds horizontally so they don’t look as “in your face” as CNN’s new lower thirds do. FNC may have the more headache inducing lower thirds with their over caffeinated color scheme…especially when it’s breaking news, but CNN’s look more intimidating because they are so blocky and because there is often a lot of whitespace around that black text. I’ll get to why in a moment…

2) CNN’s move to eating up more vertical space on my TV screen is not just a result of going bigger for going bigger’s sake. It has more to do with branding and blaring headlines.

The new lower thirds emphasize social media. Over in the right corner with the live bug, CNN is putting the anchors’ Twitter handle. That’s not the problem though. The problem, and the reason for the larger lower thirds eating up so much vertical space now, is how the network is flashing its reporters names and Twitter handles in the main lower third.

Traditionally, networks, when they have a reporter doing a report, will flash the reporter’s name on the lower third and then replace the name with the headline or subject themes for the segment the reporter is covering.

But starting today, CNN is trying something different. It’s keeping the headline/subject theme text on the screen all the time. It never goes away. So how do you ID the reporter now? Well, CNN decided that the solution to this artificial self-inflicted problem (since they are adamant about keeping those blaring headlines on the screen 24/7 now) is to shove the reporter’s ID and Twitter handle under the headline. But to do that CNN had to raise the vertical space of the lower third.

So this is why CNN’s lower thirds look so damn big…because the network decided to leave its headlines up 24/7 and needed more space to work in the reporter’s ID.

The problem with this approach, of course, is that CNN doesn’t keep the reporter’s/anchor’s/contributor’s ID on the screen the whole time and when it reverts the headline moves down to the center and now looks like it is surrounded by an ocean of white space and that helps make the lower thirds look too damn big.

CNN tried to re-invent the lower thirds wheel today. It got a flat in the process…

CNN’s BIG New Lower Thirds…Did I Mention They Are BIG?

Posted in CNN on August 11, 2014 by icn2

CNN unveiled new lower thirds this morning. They are simple and clean. And big. Really big. As in huge. As in I CAN’T SEE THE LOWER THIRD OF THE SCREEN!!!

Apparently the graphics designers at CNN have all become far sighted.

CNN no longer doesn’t want to just hype the news…it has to hype the graphics as well.

God, they are hideously H-U-G-E…


CNN Brings Atlanta Anchors to NYC…Stuffs Them In a Cube.

Posted in CNN on August 4, 2014 by icn2

Well today was the day that Carol Costello and Brooke Baldwin started anchoring from New York. To commemorate the occasion the network unveiled its brand new state of the art studio in the Time Warner Center.

No it didn’t. It stuffed Costello and Baldwin into the same claustrophobic cube Ashleigh Banfield has been forced to live in for the past couple of years.

Between the three of them, they take up five hours of CNN’s dayside offering. Essentially the bulk of Dayside on CNN is now going to be spent in that little cubby hole with the seven year old video wall tech, the substandard lighting, the super close ups because there’s not enough room to really pull back, and the overall crampt feel that any show has which airs from that location.

CNN had a big budget studio in Atlanta. It was state of the art. It got dropped in favor of the idea of having the news anchors in New York.

Well now the anchors are in New York. And woe is them for having to work in a set that looks like it was cobbled together with spare parts. The only change was they modified the desk so that the network could show off Brooke Baldwin’s legs. I’m not going to argue about whether CNN should or should not be making such a big deal out of Brooke Baldwin’s legs…but I will point out that the current setup looks stupid and forced because everything is crammed so close together because they only have this teeny weeny cube space to work with.

Like CNN doesn’t have any REAL studios in NYC they could use? I mean you’re talking about the bulk of your dayside programming here. You should at least have a set that’s up to the task and not one that is as woefully inadequate as this one is.

David Gregory to CNN?!?!

Posted in CNN on August 3, 2014 by icn2

Page Six reports that David Gregory was seen at CNN this week…

As rumors swirl that David Gregory could be replaced as host of “Meet the Press,” the embattled anchor may already be lining up his next move: He was seen meeting at CNN Thursday.

Sources have said that Gregory’s days at “Meet the Press” are numbered, with ratings down, but that NBC would likely wait until after the midterm elections to make any change. But multiple sources told us that the former NBC White House correspondent was seen in CNN’s building Thursday afternoon, signaling he could be prepping a move himself.

A move to CNN would make sense, sources told Page Six, since the anchor enjoyed close ties with former NBC honcho Jeff Zucker before the exec took over at CNN Worldwide last year.

“No one was surprised to hear David was meeting over at CNN,” a network-news insider said after word spread that Gregory was spotted at the rival news network. “Jeff and David have been very close professionally and personally. Jeff was a champion of David’s during his time at NBC. Their families are close. They have a very strong relationship that dates back to the 1990s.” Before rising to CEO, Zucker had been producer of ­“Today” when Gregory was hired at the network.

If CNN had poached Gregory before he got the Meet The Press gig it would have been seen as a big steal. But coming off being hounded off Meet The Press and being labeled as a failure (for letting MTP crash in the ratings), CNN poaching Gregory now doesn’t look so good. Yes ok, so Zucker and Gregory are tight. That doesn’t mean bringing him over to CNN is a good idea. CNN has enough people on its roster who don’t make strong show hosts. It doesn’t need another.

Read The Fine Print…

Posted in CNN on July 31, 2014 by icn2

TKNN’s Tyler Kusma penned an article today that has gained some traction on some sites regarding CNN’s endorsement policy and The Hunt’s John Walsh…

Back in February, Larry King, former host of Larry King Live at CNN, appeared on TBS’s Conan. He was there to promote Omega XL, a product that King now endorses. While he was there, King mentioned that while he was at CNN, he and other CNN employees were not allowed to make product endorsements. However, CNN appears to be changing that rule in order to accommodate the stars of the CNN Original Series.

Back in April of 2014, CNN announced three more Original Series at their Upfront, with new shows from Mike Rowe, Lisa Ling, and John Walsh. John Walsh, the former host of America’s Most Wanted, has also long endorsed safety-related products. Walsh, in addition to being a spokesperson, serves as Vice Chairman of GreatCall, according to the company’s homepage. Then in June, GreatCall announced a new advertising campaign starring Walsh. Now Walsh, an announced CNN personality, would be endorsing a product and serving in its advertising. In addition to that, the advertising campaign would be airing on CNN. In an email exchange with TKNN, a press relations representative working for GreatCall confirmed that Walsh would be continuing to serve as a GreatCall spokesperson. However, a different GreatCall spokeswoman confirmed to TKNN that the advertisements would not be airing during The Hunt with John Walsh. She said that the company would not run commercials during the program as to not confuse Walsh’s two “roles.”

On July 28, Charles Mozdir was killed in a shoot-out with police. The Hunt had featured Mozdir and a tip from a viewer led police to find the fugitive. After the police announced the news, Walsh was on several of CNN’s news programs talking about the events. When he wasn’t on, CNN news programs showed clips.. Here, GreatCall’s policy of not mixing up the two “roles” takes a hit. Walsh in his The Hunt capability and possibly the commercials would be seen together. In addition, CNN usually runs lower thirds promoting The Hunt during the news programs. In an email exchange about the commercials and the promotions for The Hunt appearing, the GreatCall spokeswoman said that she couldn’t hypothesize on it.

When TKNN reached out to the spokeswoman for The Hunt, she said in a phone interview that Walsh and his show does not apply to the no-endorsement policy because he does not host a “breaking news show.” However, Professor Jane Kirtley of the University of Minnesota disagrees. She said in a phone interview that she does not believe that on-air personalities should make endorsements. She said that Walsh could be compared to Alex Trebek, who is not a journalist, but people see him as a trustworthy figure because of his role on Jeopardy! Trebek does have an endorsement deal with Colonial Penn, a life insurance company.

This is rather nebulous and complicated to sort through but it’s not nearly as cut and dried as Kusma lays it out to be vis a vis CNN’s “changing” policy. There may not even be a policy that changed at all in regards to Walsh. I’ll try to explain below.

First, there is the issue of whether Walsh even qualifies as a CNN employee the way King did. The answer to this question is the linchpin of the entire article because a non-employee would probably not be subject to CNN’s endorsement policy and if Walsh isn’t an employee then CNN didn’t have to change its policy for any GreatCall employee because the policy never applied. If that is indeed the case, whether it should have applied would be a separate issue which I’ll circle back to later.

Second, there is the issue of when/where/if GreatCall ads appear/should appear on CNN’s programming. According to the article there’s apparently no question of whether GreatCall’s ads appear during The Hunt as GreatCall spokesperson said that no ads would appear. But Kusma notes, correctly in my view, that it would be theoretically possible for Walsh to show up at other times as part of an interview segment on CNN when GreatCall ads featuring Walsh might appear. CNN…in fact all networks…probably don’t have the kind of control over spots that they can swap them out on ultra short notice based on a last minute scheduling change in its guests appearances. So there is a chance that Walsh appears on CNN Newsroom or some other show and then there’s a commercial break and a GreatCall ad appears featuring Walsh.

This my friends is what we call an unfortunate set of circumstances. But it does not necessarily automatically mean CNN has made a policy change because of the complexities I outlined earlier.

CNN could have avoided this entirely, of course, by refusing to air the GreatCall ads in the first place regardless of whether Walsh, in his capacity as host of a show produced by an outside entity CNN contracted for, did or did not fall under CNN’s endorsement policy.

In my view CNN should have rejected the ads. They don’t need the grief just like FNC didn’t need the grief caused by Glenn Beck’s gold hawking ads. But as to the question of whether CNN changed its policy to accommodate Walsh…I don’t think the case has been made one way or the other. We need more information from CNN on that to render an accurate judgement.

Erin Burnett Profile…

Posted in CNN on July 29, 2014 by icn2

Capital New York’s Alex Weprin profiles Erin Burnett in a piece which also buries a bombshell that will no doubt surprise many given her show’s performance; CNN just re-signed her to a new multi-year deal…

And yet, the channel still needs an element of stability, an anchor that can speak the daytime language of hard news as well as the more feature-driven product that is beginning to show up after 8 p.m.

Burnett’s “Outfront” is a lynchpin in CNN’s plan.

The anchor just signed a new, multi-year contract earlier this summer, a deal that will keep her “Outfront” at 7 p.m. for the foreseeable future. She’ll also be getting her own show on CNN International later this year, comprised of segments from “Outfront,” mixed with exclusive and extended interview segments, among other content.

“Outfront” finds itself in a time slot that is tough—not just because of the strong competition (Greta Van Susteren on Fox News and Chris Matthews on MSNBC are still reliable ratings draws, and have a combined 40+ years of experience anchoring TV shows)—but also because it is something of a dividing line between dayside programming, which is still very news-centric, and primetime, which has more analysis, interviews and entertainment-style fare.

Burnett said that it has taken some time for her show to develop a formula that strikes the right balance of news, interviews and features that viewers expect from cable news.

“Over the past few years I think our show and the network have wondered which of those it is, and there has been some testing,” she said.

I will say just this. If Jeff Zucker wasn’t running CNN…Burnett probably doesn’t get that extension.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 221 other followers