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Jeff Zucker: ‘Today We Have Seen the True Scope of What CNN is and Can Be’

cnn the sixties promoThe premiere of CNN’s “The Sixties” averaged 1,390,000 total viewers and 284,000 A25-54 viewers Thursday night, according to Nielsen Fast National data. The preliminary numbers indicate the show’s premiere won the 9pmET timeslot and the re-air won the 10pmET timeslot in the demo. Final numbers will be in later today.

>Update: Finals are in, and CNN did indeed win in the demo at 9pmET and 10pmET.

In a note to staff this afternoon, CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker wrote, “I wanted to take a moment to tell you how proud I am to work at CNN today.” Zucker cited the successful launch of “The Sixties” and the “outstanding, months-long reporting” by Drew Griffin, the reporter who broke the VA scandal story — which led to the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki this morning — as examples.

“Today we have seen the true scope of what CNN is and can be,” Zucker writes. “…CNN is evolving. Our commitment to news, investigative journalism and inspired storytelling is what we are all about.”

For the 9pmET hour, CNN was up +312% in total viewers and +190% in A25-54 viewers compared to the prior four-week average. Compared to past CNN specials — including “Blackfish,” “Weed” and past episodes of “The Sixties” — last night’s premiere ranked second overall in total viewers and 10th in the A25-54 demographic.

Zucker’s full note is after the jump.

I wanted to take a moment to tell you how proud I am to work at CNN today.

Because today we have seen the true scope of what CNN is and can be.

Outstanding, months-long reporting on the VA story by the team of Drew Griffin, Nelli Black, Scott Bronstein and Curt Devine is what exposed a terrible situation at the Veterans Administration.  And while their goal was never to force anyone’s resignation, our goal is always to hold officials responsible for wrongdoing.  The commitment of AC 360 to “Keeping Them Honest” and our investigative team is what exposed the multitude of problems at the VA.

I wanted to take this moment to thank Drew and his team, Patricia DiCarlo at the investigative unit, the team at AC 360, as well as Richard Griffiths, Lee Williams and Steve Holmes for helping shepherd this incredibly important story.

This is what CNN is about.

At the same time, CNN is now also about all types of storytelling.  And we proved that again last night with the successful launch of the new CNN Original Series, The Sixties.  I want to congratulate Amy Entelis, Vinnie Malhotra and Lizzie Kerner for their exemplary work in bringing this series to life.  And to the entire marketing and communications teams for making sure that the world knew it was there. What began last night, and will unfold over the course of the next 11 weeks, is what the audience also wants and expects from us.

CNN is evolving. Our commitment to news, investigative journalism and inspired storytelling is what we are all about.

Jeff

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