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.

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.

Jeffrey Toobin caught masturbating and on leave, “probably” will return to CNN

CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin is taking some time off from CNN after he was spotted masturbating during a Zoom call with the New Yorker, where he is a staffer writer.

In a rather bizarre statement, he told Vice, “I made an embarrassingly stupid mistake, believing I was off-camera. I apologize to my wife, family, friends and co-workers. I believed I was not visible on Zoom. I thought no one on the Zoom call could see me. I thought I had muted the Zoom video.”

The New Yorker suspended Toobin, and CNN granted Toobin some time off.

However, Toobin will “probably” return to CNN’s air as its legal pontificator, Fox News reports. Toobin is “one of the biggest faces on the network” and “too valuable of a commodity” to let go.

Lemon acknowledges he’s not a straight news anchor, instead he talks “to people about the news”

lemonIn an interview on Medium, CNN Tonight anchor Don Lemon spoke candidly about the differences he sees between himself and NBC anchor Lester Holt, who is another high-profile black news journalist.

“We’re both news anchors, but our jobs are different. Lester does a straight newscast every night. I do two hours of mostly just talking to people about the news. Some people are not going to like what I have to say. If I was just sitting there every night, tossing to reporters and packaged stories and then saying good night at the end, there would not be this criticism of me. There would not be so much fodder and people talking about me all the time.”

He added, “But I have the most editorial freedom of anyone [at CNN], considering the time of night and the kind of person that I am.”

Lemon revealed he quit following President Trump on Twitter (the president previously called Lemon “the dumbest man on television”).

He noted he doesn’t generally respond to most of the hate about him. “I have a show that’s on CNN every night. If I have an issue with something, I am free to respond to it there or not. And most of the time I choose not to.”

On the tension between himself, fellow primetime hosts Anderson Cooper and Chris Cuomo, he said: “There’s competition, but it’s not a secret. Everybody is competitive. Everyone wants to put on a good show. Everyone wants the best show and the big story, and everyone wants to be first, but more than first, we want to be accurate and everyone wants to have the higher ratings. I mean, there’s competition amongst siblings. Right. Do you have sisters and brothers? Were you guys competitive? Are they competitive? Do they love each other? Of course.”