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CNN Trespass Into Non-Fiction Territory, Searching For An Audience Anywhere They Can

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CNN has been in the news for reasons that they would rather not have been in, prime amongst them being a leadership vacuum at the top and ratings that continue to plummet.

It seems however, that as the oldest cable news network, their strict adherence to providing conservative and traditionalist old-school news and not deviating from their chosen path has seen competitors race so far ahead, so much so that CNN is no more in the pursuit.

The question of survival has forced the network to look to reality shows as a savior which can bail them out of the morass they find themselves in.

Newspaper reports corroborate that executives from CNN are in touch with Hollywood agencies and producers and are deliberating on a late-night show, akin to “The View”, a range of reality programs on weekends and are keen on taking on board, hosts, who meet the fast-paced requirements of such television and are unlike the staid and pinstripe-suit style of normal TV presenters.

The difference is that news is an elitist straitlaced arena whilst the world of music video and reality show is more fast paced and appealing to the current generation.

If reports are true and CNN does drift from its core values, it would amount to losing a piece of its identity. An outside producer said that it would be like “that moment when MTV decided to stop playing music videos.”

Experts have denounced the move and accused CNN of bowing to commercial pressure by offering such programs, which obviously means that there will be less news. “Kind of difficult to make the argument you’re a news network when you want to do this,” media writer Gabriel Sherman tweeted.

The question is did CNN have a choice? Given that in spite of its poor ratings, it was still raking in the cash and its recent profits exceeded expectations, it could have ploughed on. On the other hand its rating has never been lower in two decades, its President has left and the CEO of Time Warner is asking questions. Given the circumstances CNN can be forgiven for the new stance that it is adopting.

Moreover, the purported new direction is going in the opposite direction of what senior CNN executives like Mark Whitaker have said that there will be a new emphasis on international and hard news.

CNN has confirmed that it is indeed exploring a change of image and in a statement said, “CNN, which recently announced the hiring of Anthony Bourdain as a contributor, is continuing to explore other nonfiction original series for the weekend. We routinely pursue new talent and programming concepts within the news category and often shoot pilots for any number of our networks.”

It will be recollected that CNN had hired the star food personality in May, giving him a weekend show and making him a commentator. The network will be hoping that he will spice up the show just as he had his immensely popular “No Reservations.”

CNN’s Former President Jim Walton, whilst relinquishing his post, had said that he was stepping down because “CNN needs new thinking.” He went on to counsel his colleagues at the network that the new leader must be someone who can bring in fresh ideas, see things from a different viewpoint and have a new strategy.  It seems that his hopes have come true earlier than expected.

CNN Trespass Into Non-Fiction Territory, Searching For An Audience Anywhere They Can by
Authored by: Harrison Barnes