Thursday, May 3, 2012

Sinking Ratings, Programming Woes Plague CNN

Post Production editing offices in Atlanta.
Post Production editing offices in Atlanta. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Time Warner-owned CNN last month drew an average 357,000 viewers, the cable news network's  lowest average monthly figure since 2001, the New York Times reports.

Despite a programming shake-up that saw Soledad O'Brien installed as morning host, Erin Burnett handed a 7 p.m. slot and Piers Morgan imported from across the pond to take over Larry King's 9 p.m. slot, the 32-year-old CNN has lost out to cable news channel rival MSNBC 22 of the last 24 months in the ratings battle for second place behind ratings leader Fox News, according to the Times article.

CNN is expected to return a $600 million operating profit to Time Warner this year, but has over the past half year, trimmed its staff by 70 positions, including videographers, editors and a good chunk of its documentary unit.

The Times article cites an unnamed CNN staffer who likened the station to a hospital ER in that viewers are drawn to the network when a natural or man-made disaster occurs, just as individuals race to an emergency room when experiencing a heart attack, but that in both instances, people don't linger in either place. If CNN's ratings swoon continues, however, the morgue may be a more appropriate analogy than an emergency room.
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