Sam Vinograd leaves CNN, joins Homeland Security

vinogradCNN national security contributor Sam Vinograd announced yesterday she has left CNN and is joining the Department of Homeland Security as a senior counselor. Vinograd has been with CNN since October 2017 and hosted a weekend segment on CNN Newsroom called the Presidential Weekly Briefing.

Prior to joining the network, Vinograd was with the White House’s National Security Council from 2011-2013 during the Obama administration. In addition to commentating on CNN since 2017, she has also served as a senior adviser to the Biden Institute.

“Several of Biden’s new appointments are people who served in government, then went to media gigs, and now are returning to government,” medic critic Jeffrey McCall told Fox News. “This sort of constant migration back and forth between media and government gives the public the distinct impression that government and media are basically part of the same establishment.”

CNN number one for Impeachment Trial, Day 1

CNN was the most-watched among the broadcast networks and cable news during Tuesday’s coverage of the Senate impeachment trial of former President Trump in the key demo adults, according to Nielsen. CNN also outperformed the broadcast networks and FNC in total viewers and younger adults 18-34.

In prime time, CNN was also #1 in the demo adults 25-54 with 661,000; MSNBC was second with 584,000; and Fox was last 411k,000. CNN was #1 in Total Day among 25-54 with 411,000 to MSNBC’s 327,000, and to FNC’s 224,000.

CNN’s impeachment coverage live stream had an average minute audience of 167,000, adding +6.3% to its P2+ TV audience. CNN TV plus digital live streaming produced a combined average audience of 2.830 million total viewers.

CNN Digital’s unique visitors on Tuesday surpassed the average daily uniques for the 2019 House Impeachment Hearings and the 2020 Senate Impeachment Trial. Tuesday’s livestream, which ran unauthenticated on CNN platforms from 12:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m, saw 2.5 million live video starts with concurrent streams peaking at 220K at 2:40 p.m. during the House impeachment managers’ opening arguments, which also outpaced the peak concurrent streams for the 2019 House Impeachment Hearings and the 2020 Senate Impeachment Trial.

Brianna Keilar moves to New Day; Alisyn Camerota to afternoons: report

CNN is considering shaking up New Day, moving Alisyn Camerota off of New Day. Camerota joined CNN from Fox in July 2014 and officially joined New Day in early 2015. Later, John Berman joined her at the desk.

But now, citing three sources, NBC media reporter Dylan Byers says Brianna Keilar, CNN’s afternoon rising star, will be joining the morning program to help try to improve its low ratings. In January, however, New Day ranked 2nd in the demographic. Byers notes that “Zucker, who was the king of mornings at NBCUniversal, is still struggling to crack the code on mornings at CNN.”

Camerota, per Byers, will be moving to afternoons. Variety reports Camerota herself wanted the move, saying she has “for some time sought a new position, citing the demands of early-morning TV.”

Jeff Zucker is leaving CNN

CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker announced this morning to staffers he will depart CNN at year’s end 2021. “The truth is, back in November and December I had basically decided that it was time to move on now,” Zucker said on the company’s daily editorial call, according to CNN. “But since then I’ve had a change of heart. And I want to stay. Not forever, but for another year. And I feel really good about this decision.”

Zucker created intense loyalty with his employees. “He’s the best boss I ever had, and it’s not even close,” CNN anchor Jake Tapper told the New York Times. “I’m grateful that we get him for another year.”

Associates said Zucker had been in high spirits in recent weeks, basking in WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar’s public praise of him and buoyed by CNN’s high ratings, the Times noted.

He joined CNN in 2013, and currently serves as the chief of WarnerMedia News and Sports.

Just the day before Zucker announced his intent to leave, Vanity Fair reported people at CNN “feel like he has their back, and I don’t know if anyone else can replicate that sense of support,” one CNN journalist told me. “In 40 years of CNN, the place has never been defined by its leader like it is right now. It’s like Roger Ailes without the sexual abuse and hush money.”

CNN Airport Network to shut down after 30 years

Today, CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker sent a memo to CNN employees, informing them that as of March 31, “CNN Airport Network will end operations.” The network, which has aired content from CNN/USA, HLN, and TNT, has been on the air for 30 years.

“The steep decline in airport traffic because of COVID-19, coupled with all the new ways that people are consuming content on their personal devices, has lessened the need for the CNN Airport Network. Having to say goodbye to such a beloved brand is not easy. I want to thank our friends and colleagues who have contributed to its success and and to celebrate the fact that for 30 years, the CNN Airport Network has kept millions of domestic travelers informed.”

CNN Airport Network was shown on 1,800 screens in 54 airports across the U.S. and Bermuda

Jake Tapper gains an hour; CNN shifts others around

The Lead with Jake Tapper will gain an extra hour in April; it will begin airing from 4-6pm ET. Wolf Blitzer will move back an hour, anchoring The Situation Room from 6-7pm ET. In addition, Tapper’s role will expand; CNN says he will now serve as the “network’s lead anchor for all major Washington events.” However, Tapper will stay on at State of the Union — albeit only twice a month. Beginning January 24, Tapper will take two Sundays a month, and chief political correspondent Dana Bash will get two Sundays a month. The show will be branded as State of the Union with Jake Tapper and Dana Bash.

Blitzer’s new role, in addition to anchoring the now-hourlong Situation Room, will be that of “a principal anchor role for all major breaking news,” according to the network.

Political correspondent Abby Phillips will take over Inside Politics on Sunday, January 24; John King will still anchor the weekday edition.

CNN is permanently expanding its live news coverage on the weekends. Pamela Brown, whose new title will be senior Washington correspondent, will begin anchoring CNN Newsroom from 6-9pm on January 23.

CNN also reshuffled its White House beat: Kaitlan Collins will take over from Jim Acosta as Chief White House Correspondent (Acosta will begin anchoring a weekend show soon); Phil Mattingly will leave Capitol Hill and serve as senior White House correspondent; and Arlette Saenz, Jeremony Diamond, MJ Lee, Kate Bennett, and John Harwood will serve as White House correspondents. On Capitol Hill, Manu Raju will serve as Chief Congressional correspondent; Capitol Hill correspondents will be Jessica Dean, Lauren Fox and Ryan Nobles. Daniella Diaz has been named a Capitol Hill reporter.

Jim Acosta leaving the White House, named weekend CNN anchor

CNN’s Chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta is leaving the White House beat at the conclusion of the Trump Term. He will gain a new title, Chief Domestic Correspondent, and will anchor an upcoming show on the weekends, CNN announced today.

Acosta was a constant thorn in the Trump administration’s side. At one point, the Trump administration went as far as to pull his press credentials; it was later restored after a suit was filed.

Acosta was honored with the Truth to Power Award in 2019. In his acceptance speech, Acosta said, “Just because we are pro-truth doesn’t meant we’re anti-Donald Trump.”

CNN’s micromanaging chief executive Jeff Zucker may leave early — and CNN would be better off for it.

CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker’s contract with CNN ends in 2021. But WarnerMedia hasn’t extended Zucker’s contract, and there is talk, the Wall Street Journal reports, that Zucker may bow out before his contract ends.

Zucker joined the network in 2013, and he has been wrecking it ever since. CNN went from a respected news organization to a liberal, Trump-bashing network on his watch and with his encouragement. He has promoted and magnified bloviators like Brian Stelter (who knew media commentary meant he needed to be on for every damn segment, offering some Democratic talking point under the guise of news reporting?), Chris Cuomo, and has overseen Anderson Cooper’s hard turn from the primetime news anchor, to just the kickoff of CNN’s opinion block, airing from 8pm sharp till midnight.

Last Wednesday, Zucker said loves his job, but added, “The industry is changing, our company is changing, so I have a lot to think about. I’ll do that at the right time.” He has said he won’t make a decision until after the election.

When Kilar succeeded John Stankey atop WarnerMedia earlier this year, he carried out another overhaul in August that took away Zucker oversight of CNN’s finances and human resources, as well as communications . . . an area run by one of Zucker’s top people, Allison Gollust. The changes “annoyed and surprised” Zucker, the people familiar with the situation told the Journal.

If Zucker elects to stay at CNN, and if WarnerMedia elects to keep him . . . expect to see CNN veer further away from objective news reporting, and further towards their eight-minute open essays. You know, like the opinion shows on MSNBC and Fox.

They’ve become indistinguishable. But, carry on.