If CNN chief Jeff Zucker was hired to make CNN and Headline News (HLN) dumber without increasing ratings, his tenure can only be described as a wild success. As CNN moves towards weather, local crime stories, whales, Wolf Blitzer’s phony partisan outrage, and everything cruise ship, HLN is pretty much throwing in the towel on news coverage to launch a half-dozen reality and game shows:
HLN is undertaking a major rebranding away from wall-to-wall trial coverage and toward a programming strategy centered on the social media conversation. And executive vp and general manager Albie Hecht, installed last November by CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker, is about to push the boundaries on programming for a traditional cable news network with an eclectic development slate that includes game shows, docuseries (which have been successful on CNN) and apps that could also be TV segments.
THR has a list of the new HLN shows and they sound to me like pitches rejected by MTV2.
There are rumors that Zucker is leaning and meaning CNN and HLN to make them attractive to a suitor. If that is the case, it appears Zucker is just gutting HLN, filling the holes with junk, and hoping to get a sale price based on the number of cable households HLN can be seen in.
Zucker is selling a fixer-upper, not a finished product.
Regardless, just like we are seeing with the inane dumbing down of the programming on CNN, this is Zucker surrendering to the reality that his networks can no longer compete as new networks. There are some good people working there, but overall, over the years, CNN’s relentless bias finally damaged its brand beyond repair.
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