Ken Jautz Interview…

Adweek’s D.M. Levine interviews CNN President Ken Jautz…

But your primetime slate features re-airs very prominently [for example, under the new lineup, Anderson Cooper 360 airs at 8 and again at 10]. Do you have plans to change that? It seems like an unusual primetime lineup.

I’m going to dispute the premise on several different fronts, actually. But before I do that, let me say that it is a lineup that we look forward to building. We’ll build it and attract a greater and greater following. That’s one.

Two, I would say that Anderson Cooper has long been at ten as a flagship show … in this day and age, the program that a news channel runs at 8 PM basically showcases what the network stands for. And you look at Anderson Cooper; it is quality journalism, reporting-based program. And you compare that to a more conversational talk show on offer at competitive news networks at 8 o’clock, you see a real difference. It makes sense for us to put it on at 8 o’clock. It also makes sense for us to continue Anderson Cooper—he’s been at 10 for many years he has a loyal following at 10 o’clock. Lastly, another reason I dispute the premise is, it suggests that [having re-airs in primetime] is unusual. I would say that it isn’t.

Actually, yeah it is…especially for CNN. It’s not like CNN is a business channel where viewers tend to get the short end in live programming during their primetime. Business channels have a good excuse…the markets are closed. It is unusual for a news channel. People railed at MSNBC for years for not having three hours of live/new programming in prime.

There are critics in the CNN diaspora who have said that CNN has given up on primetime.

That’s ridiculous. I would point out that Piers Morgan is fifty percent higher than the show we had on in that slot. Anderson Cooper is the highest rated show [on the network]. Why wouldn’t I put it on in the hour that’s emblematic? Why wouldn’t I create a lineup that provides for better flow from show to show?

I agree with Jautz that CNN hasn’t “given up” on primetime. The way I see it the 10pm repeat is merely a misguided programming decision, not a sign the network has “given up”. But that’s not why I highlighted this answer. I highlighted it because Jautz couldn’t bring himself to say Larry King’s name when he compared Morgan’s ratings to King’s.

3 Responses to “Ken Jautz Interview…”

  1. Josh Kaib Says:

    I think CNN is in a period of transition. Having Cooper at 8 and 10 is a way to hedge their bets. If Coop fails at 8, they can keep him in his 10 PM slot.

    Eventually CNN will create another show for 10, and my money is on Don Lemon as host.

  2. If CNN was worried about “flow”, wouldn’t it make sense to move Piers Morgan to 10 p.m. and develop a news show at 9 p.m. Piers is basically an entertainment/celebrity show, and I’ve always felt having that interrupt news is odd. At the same time, CNN doesn’t exactly have a great bench of options for hosting a new show, and wouldn’t want to take a risk losing even more at 9 (which is more competitive than 10). But if “flow” is your focus, then Piers’ show is definitely out of place.

  3. The BS is pretty thick in this interview and some of Jautz’s comments are hard to believe.

    Jautz has no problem with AC doing a daytime show.
    Yeah every network wants their star host working for another network.

    “Piers Morgan is 50% higher (ratings) than the show we had in that slot.”
    I’d be surprised if that was true over the last 6 months.

    “Both Piers and Anderson are way up in the ratings.”
    Really – compared to what?

    “They’re all aggressive reporters”
    You can call Wolf Blitzer and John King many things; aggressive is not one of them.

    Levine isn’t much better informed than Jautz. – “Erin Burnett, poached from MSNBC in April.”
    That will be news to her.

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