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Posts Tagged ‘Ken Jautz’

CNN ‘Starting Point’ Staffers Brace Themselves

The announcement that CNN is totally revamping its morning show and scrapping Soledad O’Brien‘s “Starting Point” has sent shivers through her staff.

Insiders tell us Executive VP Ken Jautz and VP Bart Feder addressed the staff after the show went off the air today. Suffice it to say, the era of Jeff Zucker is underway.

In a nutshell, the execs said they have no answers for the staff and were unable to address most of their questions. Members of the staff were assured their jobs were safe, but one veteran of the changing show carousel at CNN says they would be naive to believe that.

“Every single one of these people should be preparing their resumes and trying to get out of that building as fast as possible,” a network insider told FishbowlDC, explaining that staffers are worried for their jobs. The prevailing feeling is that O’Brien, who previously worked with Zucker at NBC, will end up in another role.

For the month of January, “Starting Point” drew an average of 264,000 viewers. MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” drew 468,000 and FNC’s “Fox & Friends” drew 1.07 million. “Morning Express” on HLN drew 218,000. The broadcast shows (CBS, ABC, NBC) drew millions more than any of the aforementioned programs. In other words, “Starting Point” is behind everyone except its sister network HLN, and HLN is getting close.

Another network insider with a vantage point to this morning’s meeting said it was hilarious to watch Jautz and Feder address the “Starting Point” staff, considering they were two of the main culprits who contributed to the potential demise and dismantling of the show.

From day one, “Starting Point” was in disarray, according to multiple sources aware of the drama going on behind the scenes of the show. It wasn’t supposed to debut in January, 2012, but the decision was made to rush it on the air to coincide with the Iowa caucus. From its launch the show was never fully staffed; all the promises of branding and promotion never materialized; and the constant executive in-fighting over what to do with the show angered its host and staff.

Former CNN Managing Editor Mark Whitaker, who announced his resignation Tuesday, loved the panel format because he desired the show to have the same buzz as MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” But Jautz hated the panel, resulting in it being downsized from 7-9 a.m. to 7:30 to 9 a.m. And when Soledad was off, the panel was only on from 8-9 a.m.

Jautz also detested a single-anchor format. He preferred a two-anchor format, even going as far as focus-group testing Brooke Baldwin and John Berman when O’Brien was away.

So as Whitaker and Jautz waged a constant battle over who would control the destiny of CNN – a scenario set up by then-CNN President Jim Walton when he divided up the duties of Jon Klein when he was canned – “Early Start” and “Starting Point” were ground zero for their battle.

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CNN’s John King: He’s What’s for Dinner

CNN’s fall lineup has a slight switch for John King USA. His program moves from the 7 p.m. time slot to 6p.m. Erin Burnett assumes the 7p.m. spot. Wolf Blitzer‘s Situation Room will air from 4p.m. to 6 p.m. Executive V.P. Ken Jautz made the announcement today, along with NY-based news such as the fact that AC360 will air live at 8p.m. and then re-air at 10 p.m. This means Eliot Spitzer is out, which sadly means no Weiner-Spitzer show on CNN’s horizon.

Eyes glazing over alert…Jautz’s canned quote: “The new line-up showcases anchors who are experienced reporters in covering stories that span the globe. We created a nightly schedule that brings together the best of CNN’s journalism on a wide range of topics from politics and the economy to global and world events, as well the best newsmaker and celebrity interviews. This line-up ensures viewers access to the best of what CNN has to offer whenever they tune in at night.”

See the full lineup after the jump…

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Suzanne Malveaux Settles on Atlanta

CNN Executive VP Ken Jautz announced this morning that CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux is going to anchor “CNN Newsroom” from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. starting Jan. 31.

Malveaux will move to Atlanta, a CNN spokeswoman said.

Malveaux has worked in CNN’s White House unit for nearly a decade. According to the network’s Pressroom blog, she joins CNN’s Kyra Phillips, Ali Velshi and Brooke Baldwin, who will continue to anchor CNN Newsroom from 9-11 a.m., 1-3 p.m. and 3-5 p.m. respectively.

CNN to Combine Domestic and International News Desks

CNN staffers received an internal memo from Ken Jautz this afternoon. In it, Jautz announced that CNN will be combining its internation and domestic news desks. Tony Maddox, Executive V.P. and Managing Director of CNN International, will oversee the operation. A new managing editor will come on board in 2011.

See the memo after the jump…

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John Roberts Out as CNN ‘American Morning’ Host

Ken Jautz has announced that CNN John Roberts is out from American Morning. Discussions are allegedly happening for an Atlanta-based role for him so he can be closer to his fiance.

Though Jautz didn’t criticize Roberts, he said he’s looking for the show to be “more upbeat” and “faster-paced.” He’s adding T.J. Holmes to the program to be the first co-anchor with Kiran Chetry.

See the memo after the jump…

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Jautz to CNN Newsroom: We Must Get Edgier

Ken Jautz, the new Executive V.P. of CNN, was in the Washington D.C. newsroom this afternoon at 1 p.m. During his visit, he spoke to the newsroom about the future. An inside source said Jautz told staff that he does not intend to turn the network into Headline News, but did acknowledged that the network as a whole needs to get edgier.

In late September Jautz, who formerly oversaw Headline News,  replaced CNN President Jonathan Klein. He’s based in New York and reports to Jim Walton, President of CNN Worldwide.

> Update: Staff reaction was upbeat. People asked a multitude of questions about ratings,  how to turn them around, how to find CNN’s voice. Employees seemed to be generally positive.

NBC’s Zucker Out, CNN’s Klein Fired

(L to R): Jonathan Klein and Ken Jautz

Two huge changes today in major network news — NBC’s Jeff Zucker and CNN’s Jonathan Klein are both hitting the road. Zucker informed staff Friday that he was leaving. Klein was fired earlier this week. TVNewser has a copy of the memo Zucker wrote to staff.

Ken Jautz, who heads HLN, will step in to Klein’s post.

An excerpt from NYT‘s Brian Stelter‘s story: “The change is effective immediately. Mr. Klein was fired earlier this week by his boss Jim Walton, the president of CNN Worldwide. In a telephone interview, Mr. Klein said Mr. Walton “told me they wanted to restructure things this way, and thank you very much, and good luck.”

An excerpt from NYT‘s Bill Carter‘s piece: “In an interview at NBC’s executive offices, Mr. Zucker, who is 45, said the decision to leave the only employer he has ever worked for — a decision that he acknowledged was not his own choice — became inevitable after a meeting two weeks ago with Steve Burke, Comcast’s chief operating officer.”