“It’s safe to say 2014 will be the year we shake up prime time,” Zucker said.
The piece highlights Zucker’s attempt to make dramatic changes to CNN’s lineup without damaging its brand as the place for news.
At stake is the future of one of the news industry’s storied brands. Mr. Zucker is trying to hang on to CNN’s heritage — the go-to for breaking news that still provides the network with its greatest ratings bumps, while expanding into the broad-appeal lifestyle programming that has helped other cable networks break out of their niches. In other words, CNN needs its “Duck Dynasty.”
“We never want to give up on breaking news,” Zucker said. “But the types of programs we do offer will be broader — informational, educational, entertaining. You will see more of that next year, allowing us to broaden the audience and field to advertisers.”
Under his leadership, the only changes to traditional primetime during the week have been a new Anderson Cooper panel show “AC360 Later”—which has had long stretches of time off-air—and documentaries like “Blackfish,” which achieved ratings success. He’s also hired former “Nightline” anchor Bill Weir for a still-unannounced show in primetime.
So, the CNN chief promises big primetime changes. What do you think they’ll be? Comment below.