Oil and Water?

We interrupt this blog interruption to note that Page Six is saying things are not at all well in CNN’s executive ranks…

Abysmal ratings at CNN have insiders pointing fingers over who’s to blame, and sources say a big problem is friction between managing editor of CNN Worldwide Mark Whitaker and CNN President-US Ken Jautz.

Ratings at the cable channel fell to a 21-year low last week, with viewership particularly disappointing at Soledad O’Brien’s morning show and Piers Morgan’s nighttime talker.

Sources were quick to cite “misaligned management” within the top ranks as a major reason for the dysfunction. Jautz, who previously ran HLN, replaced former CNN US head Jon Klein two years ago — but some of Klein’s duties were given to Whitaker.

“When Jon was there, the structure was more linear,” said an insider, adding that Jautz and Whitaker, “have competing ideas for what we should do.”

The insider further told us: “Ken is not an editorial guy. He really is an operations guy. Mark’s strong suit is editorial, but he doesn’t know as much about television.”

Sources pointed to O’Brien’s show, which Whitaker oversees, as an example of competing, confusing philosophies. One insider said: “Ken does not like all of the ‘conversation on camera’ on the morning show. Mark does, because his vision is to make it that go-to conversation piece that ‘Morning Joe’ has become. It’s a constant battle.”


12 Responses to “Oil and Water?”

  1. icemannyr Says:

    If the NY Post was not owned by News Corporation
    would they still do gossip stories about CNN?

  2. If there is gossip to be told, why not?
    But no surprise that people are turning on each other at a cable network that was once the gold standard and is now sinking faster than Oprah overboard in the ocean.

  3. It should be well remembered that Whitaker was the management guy at NEWSWEEK most responsible for sitting on the Monica Lewlinsky story for damn near a year before Drudge became aware and scooped them. The man has a nose for news that’s plugged by timidity,
    or all the above.

  4. Looks like the condensed version of the story is, “Everything was so much better back when Klein was in charge and American Morning was a ratings giant.”

  5. Trying to emulate Morning Joe with Soledad is delusional. She’s a good reporter and interviewer, but doesn’t have the warmth and likability of a Joe Scarborough to make long chats with a panel watchable.

  6. With Soledad, the promos are annoying. Not much you can do beyond that.

  7. Hopefully this kind of public exec squabbling is an indication that heads are about to roll. CNN needs a serious management shakeup – more so than on-air talent. They have some good journalists and personalities to work with. I agree with joeremi, trying to replicate Morning Joe is a dumb idea. First of all, Soledad, by virtue of being a CNN anchor, is barred from expressing the kind of intense opinions that Scarborough has a luxury of spouting. Secondly, the panel of contributors that sit with Soledad are totally lame. They are not people you care about hearing from and they are only there to represent a certain ideological position. At least MJ brings in other journalists, writers, and other political and business leaders. CNN thinks they can boil down every news tidbit into a left/right perspective. Stop it. Besides, CNN needs to think differently, do their own thing, build their own brand. Chasing your competitors looks desperate. Look how the health care announcement turned out!!!

  8. Meanwihile here’s something the two can argue about. Maybe iReport isn’t helping the brand:

  9. iReport is an invitation to trolling

  10. harry1420 Says:

    you know there was a day when folks watched the news to be informed. and there was a day when folks didn’t care what the ratings were. what went wrong? well folks started associating ‘News” channels with politics. That didn”t happen until fox came along as the repubflican news channel. fox and the people that watch fox may try and deny that it is not slanted in its politics but you know what it is. sure it may cover some news stories, non political ones, and they are covered just like all the rest of channels. fox thrives because of one reason its politics. Ailes knows if he drop just a little of the poltical crap he would be doomed for the ratings basement. I have great respect for CNN for not playing to the politics. There are real NEWS stories out there and CNN has the resources to cover those. If it would utilize those resources and start informing us viewers would tune in. Believe it or not..some folks would rather be informed than entertained!

  11. danoregon Says:

    They really need to clean house at CNN. The channel still has good journalists, but the product is continually undermined and undercut by executive meddling (holograms, disjointed tone etc.)

  12. Harry, Harry, Harry

    If CNN is doing such a bang up job just giving the straight news why have people fled them if that is supposedly what they want?

    Well, for one thing CNN has alway laced their reporting with a soft liberal bias. The fact that their longtime news director is now running Current’s operation is indicative of the mindset of CNN staffers.

    Fox News gave us long suffering conservatives an option to look at the news from our own viewpoint. If liberals don’t like we have that choice, and they don’t, then screw them, don’t come there.

    MSNBC saw the opportunity for a telling of the news from a hard liberal viewpoint, and I say good for them.

    I personally go to many sources for my news, and resent some news-snob bemoaning I now have a variety of choices covering the political spectrum.

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