CNN Chief Jeff Zucker: News Network 'Had a Really Good Year'

Jeff Zucker, CNN Worldwide chief, wrote a memo to his employees insisting that “We have had a really good year.” 

It may be a CYA maneuver, but his rose-colored description of CNN’s status is nothing close to reality.

Here’s Zucker in his ivory-tower obliviousness:

In 2013, CNN was recognized with three news Emmys, and two first-time Emmys for Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, as well as a Peabody Award for our coverage in Syria … And heading into 2014, CNN Films is on the short list for an Academy Award in the Documentary category for Blackfish. In our first year of even having a film division!

Zucker did not mention of course, CNN’s new morning program, or Crossfire, both of which are tanking. And of course, there’s the elephant in the room: CNN is getting killed in the ratings by Fox. Even Mediaite admitted:

Of course, while CNN and MSNBC battled for #2, Fox News maintained its dominance, holding the #1 spot in the 25-54 demo and total viewers for the 12th consecutive year. In total viewers, Fox beat CNN and MSNBC combined. And it appears that Fox’s new prime-time line-up, which launched at the beginning of October, has only improved things for the network … There’s no denying it: When it comes to cable news in America, no one can touch Fox News.

But Zucker, who was responsible for the Jay Leno debacle when he ran NBC, has an agenda to follow, and no amount of hard facts will deter him. Here’s more from the starry-eyed optimist:

Competitively speaking, there is much to be proud of. CNN moved from the third-most-watched cable news network in 2012 to second in 2012.

Mediaite begs to differ as to the importance of CNN’s triumph over MSNBC for also-ran status:

… it’s hard for CNN to spin their numbers into a victory over MSNBC. While it’s true that MSNBC saw the biggest drops in viewership compared to 2012, they still beat CNN where it counts in prime time.

Zucker concluded his memo by writing, “We have had a really good year. And we have so much more to do. That is what excites me the most … I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings us.”

Stockholders in CNN may be more in the mood to wait to see what new outfit the Emperor chooses to don before they get too excited.


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