Thursday, September 11, 2003

WTF is CNN Doing?

It's fine that, as this article says, they want to make the network "personality driven." But, if they think the way to do it is to have 24 different "personalities," one for each hour, then they've totally misunderstood what Fox is doing. Fox succeeds because the network itself has a personalitiy. The specifics don't matter much. Fox is like AM talk radio - same bullshit, different blowhward every few hours. Sure it helps if you anchor it around a strong ratings grabber like O'Reilly, but it isn't about O'Reilly.

CNN itself needs a consistent personality. It can go back to doing hard news with more pre-produced segments like it used to, or it can have a point of view like Fox... but then it has to have a different point of view than Fox.

And, frankly, Anderson Cooper and Paula Zahn just aren't very good.

From the article:

CNN's hopes of reclaiming No. 1 from Fox News Channel were dealt a major setback this week with the disappointing premieres of “Anderson Cooper 360” and “Paula Zahn Now.”

The audience for “Cooper” on Monday was down 47 percent in the 7 p.m. time slot occupied last year by “Crossfire,” to 319,000 people, while “Zahn's” audience of 508,000 people was down 45 percent in the 8 p.m. time slot briefly occupied by the canceled “Connie Chung.” All figures are based on preliminary Nielsen Media Research data.

CNN's new programs pulled in roughly one-third the viewers of competing shows on Fox News. Most notably, “Zahn” faced “The O'Reilly Factor,” which was watched by more than 1.4 million people despite having a guest host on Monday.


They are trying to make [the network] personality driven, which is what Fox News has been able to do with people like Bill O'Reilly. It seems Fox News has been able to create appointment viewing, but it's a little harder to be the second person in on that.”

If you keep doing what you're doing, you'll keep getting what you're getting...