Tuesday, April 23, 2024

CNN Clobbered By MSNBC in Election Ratings: Insider Says “You can’t imagine the level of awfulness here”

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CNN, once the source of all news for smart-minded people, is in a free fall.

Last night the once formidable news network was clobbed by MSNBC in the ratings for election coverage. MSNBC averaged 3.2 million viewers all night to CNN’s 2.2 million. (CNN notes that they had higher numbers in the key demo than MSNBC.)

CNN has been undergoing chaos for months since David Zalsav’s Discovery Networks bought what was left of Warner Media from AT&T. Zaslav put CBS’s Chris Licht in charge and walked away. They said that CNN would become more mainstream news rather than a liberal opponent to Fox News’s “We make it up so it sounds good.”

This week there were many reports of unhappiness at the network. Then came last night, when for the first time Wolf Blitzer didn’t anchor the election reports. Instead it was Jake Tapper, who lately has been under fire for seeming to capitulate to the Zaslav/Licht mindset that the far right should have a place the CNN table.

In the process, there has been upheaval. Don Lemon was moved from 10pm to the morning show. John Berman, so good in the morning, was sent into outer space. John Harwood, the White House correspondent, was ousted. There have been sizable layoffs across the board. Recently, CNN announced that they were ending all original non fiction programmed like Stanley Tucci’s Italy series. All the award winning, popular documentaries were over.

Licht, I’m told, is criticized for not actually taking control of the CNN newsroom or its broadcasts. He’s left it underlings and stays removed on an upper floor in Hudson Yards at the new Warner Discovery/CNN headquarters.

“No one seems to be in charge” I was told. A Discovery exec named Gunnar Wiedenfels has picked up the slack, someone who has no history of dealing with network news. Michael Bass, who was Zucker’s number two and stuck around, “is not capable of doing the job.”

Which brings us, in part, to the network’s defeat at the hands of MSNBC. While CNN’s mission to become some sort of straight-ahead network has been blunted, MSNBC — with Rachel Maddow and others clearly anti-Trump and pro-truth — sailed ahead. Something tells me this is only the beginning of the end.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
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