“CNN needs new thinking,” said CNN Worldwide President Jim Walton upon announcing his resignation effective at the end of 2012. It sure DOES.
How about bringing back 24/7 news instead of chick-friendly talk shows and endless reruns of those same chick-friendly talk shows? (Admit it: we all know most chicks in desirable demographics don't give a shit about news anyway!)
How about repositioning CNN as "Cable's Only All-News Network?" (After all, Fox "News" is only AM Tea Party talk radio on television and MSNBC is nothing but Air America-style talk radio on television.) If CNN tried this, Fox News would then immediately squawk loudly about it and, in the process, provide all the necessary promotion for CNN's new focus absolutely free.
In the process, how about repositioning the other "news networks" as "nothing but chat shows"? (You could even say that the NBC in msNBC stands for "nothing but chat".)
Instead of trying to get younger women to watch (it's about as likely that young women will watch a channel with the word "news" in its name as it is that children would watch something called "The Broccoli Channel"), get rid of all the celeb talk (bye, Piers!), stop all the preoccupation with what people are tweeting, and stop trying to show us how serious Erin Burnett is (as CNN did last week) by sending her out in the field to cover, for example, Bali (zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz).
Has anyone reading this sentence ever watched Fareed Zakaria? What was the topic of the last Dr. Sanjay Gupta show? (or any Dr. Sanjay Gupta show EVER?) Remember Rick Sanchez? And why the hell did anyone ever take Anderson Cooper seriously? Talk shows on CNN have always been a snooze. And the New Year's Eve "coverage" of Cooper and vulgar H-lister Kathy Griffin is about as embarrassing and unsettling as anything a news channel has ever broadcast.
Yet, in the rare instances of actual news stories that have made it onto CNN such as Hurricane Katrina, the 2008 election and the BP oil spill, its live coverage of actual events has always been way more compelling to watch than the contrived talk radio-style controversies of Fox News Channel and MSNBC.
I can't count how many times I've gone to the CNN website to get news instead of actual CNN because the website in no way resembles the TV network in that it has actual news! In fact, this is the only country in which the Cable News Network provides so little actual news. Has anyone at CNN's owner, TIme Warner, ever done any traveling? If they had, they would have to notice that the television versions of CNN in Europe and in Latin America have far more news content (and therefore respect) than CNN has in its own home country.
Has anyone at Time Warner ever watched their own HBO soap opera called The Newsroom in which a main element of the plot is a news show that, like CNN itself, has become too celebrity-driven and that is now trying to do harder news? With all of the promotion for this sappy, syrupy soap, hasn't anyone at Time Warner noticed this irony?
I am well aware that the truth as stated above will be considered to be completely politically incorrect. As a result, no doubt there'll be a new president of CNN in 2013, and she'll announce that she's negotiating with Kim Kardashian, Ryan Seacrest and Mario Lopez to host new prime time talk shows in order to "turn things around" or to "make CNN more relevant."
And CNN will just continue to get clobbered.
Is anyone paying attention?