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…