CNN’s Campbell Brown returned from maternity leave last night to her regular 8pmET timeslot. The show had a new name, a new look, a new EP, and, perhaps most notably, a new opening: “This is your only source for news. CNN prime time begins now.”
The show has dropped “No Bias, No Bull” from the title. “It was a way to emphasize the distinction between us and the partisan programs at 8pm, and we feel like we accomplished that and don’t need to continue to spell it out,” Brown tells TVNewser.
Last night’s program featured an exclusive interview with former President Jimmy Carter (clip after the jump) and several new segments, like “The Great Debate” and an opening “mash-up” of news stories.
Brown says she came up with the changes while away on maternity leave. “There is plenty of opinion out there,” she says. “When I had the opportunity to step away and to try to look what was on at 8pm as a viewer, what I was craving was more straight news, and hard news especially. That’s what we want to be able to deliver.”
Her lengthy interview with Carter is a sign of things to come. “My goal is to try to give smart people, interesting people, more time to get beyond the sound bite and get into the substance of a given issue,” she says.
CNN’s ratings at 8pmET have continued falling, finishing fourth in Total Viewers and the A25-54 demo (behind FNC, MSNBC and HLN) for another month in May. Now Brown takes over once again. “We look at the overall ratings, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t, [but] at the end of the day, what I can do is try to focus on whether we did a smart, interesting program,” she says.
As for tonight’s show, Mitt Romney is interviewed, “The Great Debate” looks at whether America is “too pro-Israel”…and baby pictures.
Click continued to see part of the Carter interview…
Embedded video from CNN Video