After all of CNN Tonight anchor Don Lemon’s headline making moments (including this week, where he held an “n-word” sign on live TV), one media reporter is insisting that now is the right time to move Lemon to 8pm, displacing Anderson Cooper.
Jordan Chariton of The Wrap suggests:
Now [is] an optimal time for CNN to take its Lemon and make sweet Lemonade: it’s time to move Don Lemon to 8 p.m. primetime.
But what about Anderson Cooper, the star that CNN has backed with millions in salary and marketing over the last decade? He’s still one of the best pure news reporters in the business, reporting around the world during breaking news.
But he’s never been appointment TV, and in the new social TV age, where drawing attention on Twitter, digital sites and shows like “The View” are as important as the day-to-day ratings numbers, CNN would be better served with a noisemaker who can also do the news in its most important time slot.
All Jeff Zucker has to do is look to the competition as a case study: many forget Bill O’Reilly wasn’t a ratings rocket for Fox News right out of the gate. He hosted the “O’Reilly Report” at 6 p.m. before Roger Ailes moved him to the prime real estate that is 8 p.m.
O’Reilly has never looked back.
Imagine a lineup featuring Lemon at 8 p.m., creating buzz on-air and social. Mid-show, Lemon goes to Anderson Cooper, either on-set or globetrotting around the world for that week’s big story, teeing up the next hour anchored by the “Silver Fox.” Which could then seamlessly lead into CNN’s original series wheel at 10 p.m. with Lemon repeating at 11 p.m. and occasionally coming back live if the story is big enough.
Lemon, throwing to Cooper… What a change.
Chariton ends his piece with, “If CNN wants to once again become the only cable news network in town, it should tab Lemon as its star.”