CNN isn’t very transparent, and they certainly aren’t very reliable. In fact, they’re not very quick to update things, either. Or… are they?
At CNN’s Upfront, the new primetime lineup was revealed: EBO at 7pm, AC360 at 8pm, taped shows at 9pm, and CNN Tonight at 10pm. Everything I read on the topic didn’t have some little slimy asterisk by the 10pm – but evidently, it should have. In CNN Tonight’s two week run at 10pm, thus far, it has just aired Monday through Wednesday. Tonight, at any rate, it will not be airing; instead, a repeat of The Sixties (yes, the same episode airing at 9pm) will air. There is a chance, I suppose, CNN Tonight will air on Friday at 10pm, but if last week is any indicator, it probably won’t.
For many reasons, a Monday-Wednesday show is a bad idea. There is no consistency in the programming at that time (to a casual viewer who just wants news, how will they know when 10pm will be live news or taped nonsense?) and that will inevitably lead to frustration and eventually, abandonment.
Then there’s the other part of CNN Tonight that hasn’t been fulfilled – it was supposed to be anchored by a rotating group of hosts. For its first two weeks at 10pm, the show has been anchored exclusively by Don Lemon. Don’t misunderstand me, though: I’m fine with Don being the permanent anchor. But if that’s the case, make it official (in a statement, not just in a way that leaves viewers wondering when no other host anchors it) and stop the speculation.
And then there’s Bill Weir, or as I see him, Zucker’s problem. If he truly has a primetime clause in his contract as has been reported, I don’t see him being thrilled to sit on the sidelines and not anchor daily. Since CNN Tonight moved to 10pm two weeks ago, I haven’t seen him on the air whatsoever. Again, no big deal. I don’t like him and I think he’s a bad fit for CNN. When he was hired, his title was reported to be Chief Innovation Correspondent and to host a primetime show. (He has subbed in the past for Piers Morgan and The Lead, though). But the overarching point is, he still hasn’t been added to the roster of anchors and correspondents on CNN.com – and it isn’t like it hasn’t been updated. Michelle Kosinski is a new hire to CNN, and she has been added already. (And that’s just an example).
So, what’s going on with CNN Tonight, Bill Weir, Don Lemon, and Jeff Zucker? … Only Jeff knows.