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ColumbusNewsFan

Zucker To be CNN Boss: NYT Reports

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From Deadline Hollywood and New York Times,

 

Jeff Zucker is expected to be named the new worldwide president of CNN, The New York Times is reporting. A source with knowledge of the Zucker/CNN talks confirmed to Deadline, “They have been in conversation for a long time and it looks like this is a done deal.” The announcement of the former NBC Universal chief executive to replace the outgoing Jim Walton is supposed to happen within the next few days.

 

So thoughts we all remember NBC and the hole it is STILL digging itself out of.

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If the jag-off Zucker fires John King, Wolf Blitzer and other CNN personalities, I swear to God; not only I'll never watch CNN, but I'll start a petition to have him fired once and for all.

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This should go well...what could go wrong?

 

Anderson, with Wolf's blessing, will take over the Situation Room, and Wolf will move to the last hour of Newsroom. After several months of failure, the network will shift Wolf back to his old slot, and shift Coop back a half hour.

 

Anderson, in a fit of rage, will then leave for GSN.

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I think the only network that'll benefit under Zucker will be HLN. CNN .... not so much if how he ran NBCU is any indication.

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And the NBC bashing continues...on another network...owned by a different company. Whatever happens, we can only hope for the best at CNN. Even if it's controlled by the man that splendidly singlehandedly destroyed NBC. Godspeed, CNN.

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I personally think their main philosophy is that he can't run broadcast but he managed to run NBC's cable networks pretty well,w as the man who was responsible for the start of NBC's "Today Show"'s 16 straight year winning streak, and probably a couple other more minor things as well, so they're willing to look past his single-handed, near total destruction of the NBC broadcast network.

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At a conference call with the press this morning, Zucker says his vision is to "broaden the definition of what news is."

 

“I think our competition today is anybody that competes for eyeballs and attention and produces non-fiction programming,” Zucker said. “News is about more than politics and war, we need to broaden that definition of what news is, while maintaining the standards of CNN’s journalistic excellence.”

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Oh god..those two sentences sends chills down my spine. To me, it presages filler-type docu-drama programming like that seen on "The Weather Channel" or MSNBC weekends.

 

Of course, they've already hired Anthony Bourdain...so maybe that was the plan all along?

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I hope and pray that none of the CNN personalites will get the ax. There is one question that's still needs answered in light of Jeff Zucker "taking over" CNN:

 

What Would (Ted) Turner Do?

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I hope and pray that none of the CNN personalites will get the ax. There is one question that's still needs answered in light of Jeff Zucker "taking over" CNN:

 

What Would (Ted) Turner Do?

 

He'd move the bulk of HLN's programming (outside of the re-purposed truTV docs) to CNN. Then relaunch HLN under its' original guise of "Headline News."

 

I kid. CNN's real problem is that they've had the same groupthink in top management for well over a decade. They claim to be 'impartial' but their hosts are either obnoxious, partisan, or utterly unwatchable. Anderson Cooper's star flamed out two years ago and no one noticed. Any talent with promise like Erin Burnett is fed through the standard CNN show formulaic meat grinder and have awful programs.

 

And then there's Piers Morgan. So utterly detestable that I rooted for an accused murderer to show him up on his own show. As did the rest of America.

 

I doubt anyone outside of a Ted Turner-type revolutionary can save it. Hiring Zucker was throwing napalm on a five-alarm fire.

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Am I the only one who doesn't see this as the unqualified disaster everyone else is?

 

Look, Zucker was a failure as the head of NBC and NBC Universal. But as a news division guy and pretty much the man who perfected the modern television morning show, he'd be a smart pick. Most of his problems at NBCU were because he was a news guy who never quite got the entertainment portion of the company. Plus he was operating under Jeff Immelt's budget-conscious GE, which forced cuts left right and center.

 

Here, he's just heading the news division, though it's a news division rivaled in size and scope only by the BBC. That's his comfort zone. Plus, Time Warner is headed by media guys, not industrial guys. And they know how important CNN is to the company and world. And believe it or not, while CNN Domestic is an infuriating mess, the rest of the company is not only still strong, but profitable. There's enough there that he can't really mess with. Could things turn out bad? Well, yeah, but I'm not expecting "NBC 3.0". Not here.

 

Now to the elephant in the room, "broadening the definition of what news is". Look, you know it and I know it - that phrase is a code for "reality shows" and "docu-dramas". They've started this move, and there's no indication that Zucker's not going to continue to move in that direction.

 

But is it really that bad? When you think about it, no.

 

First, Jeff Bewkes and Phil Kent - the bosses of TimeWarner and Turner that will be his direct reports - want CNN to remain nonpartisan. That is the correct decision in almost every single way. The problem is that, while it's trying to be nonpartisan, the two networks considered their main competition are. In fact, since Fox arrived on the scene and MSNBC started to emulate it, cable news has become less 24 hour news and more news/talk radio. By its nature, news/talk radio is driven by ideology and politics. To do that right, you have to embrace the ideology part as well as the politics part. CNN has embraced the second but can't embrace the first. They've tried to compete with what Fox and MSNBC do, but they've never been able to. In fact, unless they explicitly move towards a bias, they can't compete with their primetime lineups.

 

So instead of trying to compete against Fox and MSNBC in prime, maybe the key is to compete against Discovery and History in prime. When you think about it, that makes sense - those networks get younger, more affluent eyeballs anyway, and the programming - if thought out right - could be compatible. I can see CNN airing a show like Mythbusters or Dirty Jobs. Oh, and Mike Rowe is available - scoop him up, seriously. Is it ideal? No. Is it going to lead to MTV-style complaints? Yeah.

 

But people forget - waaaayyy back, CNN was extremely broad. Not in the types of shows they'll try to work into the schedule if they go the Discovery route, but CNN and all the news channels were so much more than just politics politics politics rammed down your throat. CNN covered showbiz, it covered sports, it covered financial news, it had travel and lifestyle shows. The news channels are so laser-focused on politics and certain other stories these days, the only way I hear about actual important news is through their tickers.

 

I am fighting a cold so I'll leave it there, but if you just think for a moment - if they're going more broad, that can actually only be a good thing.

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