CNN Thursday night coronavirus town halls aren’t going anywhere, executive producer says

CNN’s Thursday night coronavirus town halls, led by anchor Anderson Cooper and chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, are not going anywhere any time soon, according to AC360 executive producer Charlie Moore, who is also in charge of producing the town halls for the duo. “My sense is that as long as the trajectory of this story continues, we will continue to do these,” Moore said in an interview with Variety.

“I certainly don’t have any notion from Jeff [Zucker] or Michael [Bass, CNN’s executive vice president of programming] or anyone like that saying there is a date when we are stopping these,” Moore continued.

“There was no set plan for this thing to last ‘x’ number of weeks,” anchor Cooper agrees. “I don’t think any of us anticipated this.”

“That has not been easy to do, but we have been able to appeal to a broader array of viewers,” says Gupta. CNN says two of the town-hall broadcasts rank among the five most-watched editions of a cable-news town hall not tied to election coverage. The program typically ranks second in its time slot among viewers between 25 and 54, the demographic most important to advertisers in news programming, Variety noted.

Cooper wants the experts, not the politicians: “We try as much as possible – it’s not always possible – to stay away from the political side of this, because we do want to get as many people to watch to get the information. We are just really trying to stick with that.”

Staying “out of the red and the blue piece of it” is a guiding principle, agrees Moore.

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