If it were Christi Paul

Back in March 2013, TVNewser published a post on possible New Day anchors. The list, at the time, had been shortened considerably to the then-Situation Room (unnamed) cohost Kate Bolduan and HLN anchor Christi Paul.

Of course, as we now know, Christi was tapped (much later) as the New Day Weekend cohost. But what if she were Chris Cuomo’s cohost?

She has beauty, brains, and skill. All in all, hindsight is always twenty-twenty. Kate was a horrible choice; she did well as the humanizing element to Sit Room‘s Wolf Blitzer. But on a morning show? Not so much. While I’m sure she’s nice, she simply doesn’t have a morning personality — something Christi Paul undeniably has.

So, what would have happened if Zucker had selected Christi instead of Kate? Well… Likely they wouldn’t consistently come in third or fourth place in the demo, and there likely wouldn’t constantly be the rumors about Kate leaving New Day, about Chris hating her, or about Michaela Pereira returning to LA.

Of course (and this has never been reported), it is possible Christi turned down the offer, if she were truly offered the job. After all, I have read she doesn’t want to leave Atlanta due to her young family, and Zucker certainly wouldn’t have been willing to put his brand new morning show in CNN Center.

If only…

HLN’s new shows and hires

Earlier this year, it was announced (by HLN) they would be adding new shows to their lineup, including The Daily Share, which will be a nightly “news and information show”. Although it is unlikely it’ll truly be nightly, since earlier, HLN cut all of its primetime down to Monday through Thursday. At any rate… It’s a new news program that doesn’t sound like it’ll be all fluff (so not an HLN Now with Mike Galanos). At the time, no air date or host had been named. That was, however… April 10th. Since then, it’s been four months. What are they waiting for? When is this HLN rebranding going to occur?

Most of the shows they announced were completely ludicrous and had embarrassing names; The Daily Share was the only news show to be announced. The only one that may be somewhat close to it would be Chuey Martinez’s show, with the unfortunate name of Wkly M@shup with Chuey Martinez. Despite its dreadful name… It may be watchable.

That is, if they ever AIR!

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The Zucker Strategy

According to CNN: The Inside Story, part of the reason Ted Turner wanted to start CNN was that his work hours caused him to miss the evening news. At the time, if you missed the evening news you had to wait until the morning to see what was happening in the world. Turner figured there was enough of an audience of people missing the news that he could create a 24 hour news network.

When HLN was first created, it was to beat the Satellite News Network to market. The original point of HLN, with its “News Wheel” format, was that viewers could watch for only a half hour and get the news. Nowadays, cable news networks program for longer spans of time, except for CNN. However, that difference has only increased since Jeff Zucker took over CNN Worldwide in January of 2013.

Research throughout the years has shown that viewers watch Fox News and MSNBC for longer periods of time, but CNN has more unique viewers. So, a Fox or MSNBC viewer may watch for several hours, but a CNN viewer may only tune in to see the latest headlines. In the Pew Research Center’s 2012 State of the News Media report, they found that CNN had almost 100 million cume viewers, putting CNN in first place for that metric. A cume viewer is someone who tunes in for at least one minute. Fox News, which placed second in cume viewers, with about 83 million.

With audience viewership like CNN’s, it is not surprising that they cater to the cume viewers, rather than the length viewers. If you watch CNN, it often seems like they repeat the same stories every half hour for the most part. Oftentimes, that’s true, but it is because most CNN viewers only watch for that much.

Under Jeff Zucker, we have seen that CNN is willing to go wall-to-wall and specialize on certain stories. This has occasionally been good, such as the Situation Room Special Reports that have focused on international news like the Crisis in North Korea. Other times, it has brought widespread mockery to CNN. The most notable example would be MH370, where CNN spent over a month repeating the same information over and over. Fans of CNN cringed as they watched Don Lemon use a toy plane or Richard Quest was brought on to discuss flight aviation, when his speciality is global finance and business. Quest was previously well known on domestic CNN for his Q&A segments with Ali Velshi on Your Money (side note- Ali, if you’re reading this, please come back to CNN!). However, CNN’s ratings spiked and Anderson Cooper began beating the O’Reilly Factor in the demo. A blue moon usually appears more than O’Reilly losing in his timeslot.

What could be causing this contradiction? Cringing, mockery in contrast to sky-high ratings? The cume viewers, they could turn on CNN at almost any minute and hear the latest about MH370. They truly could since CNN International would be simulcast during the night, tape was replaced by live news, and some shows would either start earlier or end later.

Last year, the Pew Research Center announced in a study that the average viewer of cable news watches twenty-five minutes. Personally, I watch more than that just of the Situation Room. Although, I’m not quite sure CNN cares. They’re focused on the average, which means less news for all of us.

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Rick Fox and Rascal Flatts on MXP

Tomorrow morning, Rick Fox and Rascal Flatts will guest host Morning Express with Robin Meade. It is a little strange that they’re all going to be with her tomorrow, but it’ll definitely be worth-watching. Rick also guest hosted today, and in my opinion, did very well.

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New Day vs Morning Express – July Ratings

In June, I compiled a list of the demo ratings between CNN’s New Day and HLN’s Morning Express with Robin Meade. And for the month of June, HLN beat CNN. In July…

Note: Fox & Friends got first every day this month. So whatever spot (second, third, or fourth) that isn’t listed between MXP and New Day goes to MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

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Cable News in a Nutshell (or Tweet)

Welcome to The Conveyors. Since this is the first column in this series, let me introduce it. The Conveyors is a weekly column here at CNN Commentary which will focus on news organizations, or the conveyors of news. These columns will usually have something to relate to CNN, but not always. As is usual at CNN Commentary, there will be occasionally be criticism of CNN if warranted. Although, I do it out of love!

Earlier this week, CBS News’s Mark Knoller tweeted out what was leading the 6 PM broadcasts on Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN. He did not include HLN, but right how that channel is like the student who takes a year off of college to “find himself.” Although interesting at the time, the tweet is unsurprising now.

MSNBC was leading off with the Republican calls for impeachment and Fox was talking about Congressional action on the scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Now credit where credit is due, Fox News’s lead was actually news. MSNBC’s top story was meant to stir the pot and boil up their viewers. Cable news is often good at that. While there has been the occasional Republican to call on President Obama’s impeachment, there has been no real action on it and the Speaker has denied that he will impeach the President. Fox News isn’t totally off the hook, though. Their story, albeit an actual one, is easily used to bring shame to President Obama. Whereas MSNBC is very out and open with their bias, Fox’s works it in subtly. They show their side through chryons, pictures, story selection. Rosie O’Donnell, a frequent foe of Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, is often seen in an unflattering light when they show her picture. The VA story, which CNN’s Drew Griffin brought to national attention, is used to paint President Obama as an ineffective leader, incapable of caring for our nation’s veterans and leading the federal government. The VA story can also be used to take a dig at government-run health care, so the story is a gold mine.

CNN, on the other hand, led the 6 PM hour with international, hard news. The Gaza conflict is complex and is best told with television. Newspapers and radio can only go so far when they paint vivid pictures with their words. Television cameras can show the destruction, sometimes they even show the bombing in action! CNN has been going all out on the Gaza story, as they often do with international stories. CNN Worldwide is a truly international organization, although many of their correspondents aren’t even seen on CNN US. However, many CNN International personalities have been seen on domestic CNN. For example, John Vause was seen as part of a CNNI simulcast. Now, he is seen reporting from Gaza and has been co-anchoring CNN US’s CNN Newsroom. Wolf Blitzer has been in Jerusalem for the past few weeks and has anchored his two shows from there. In addition, he has been doing a Saturday edition of The Situation Room. Although, CNN hasn’t forgotten about other stories. They have struck a careful balance between all the stories that deserve our attention: ebola, MH17, Ukraine, Congress, the border crisis, and the Israeli-Hamas war.

Fox News and MSNBC are duking it out for political points.

But if someone actually wants the news, they need to watch CNN, and the good news is that CNN has been live almost 24/7 between special editions and CNN International simulcasts.

Kudos.

Bonus: This was tweeted while I was wrapping up the article. Ryan Sloane has included his often-ironic #Journalism.

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Rick Fox and Jimmie Johnson to cohost Morning Express

This was first reported by Alex Weprin. I reached out to HLN for a comment, and this is what I received:

Sports Heavyweights Rick Fox & Jimmie Johnson to Guest Co-Host on HLN’s Morning Express with Robin Meade.

Rick Fox, former LA Lakers player and current NBA TV basketball analyst, will be a guest co-host on HLN’s Morning Express with Robin Meade, Monday August 4 and Tuesday August 5. Fox will be talking sports and trending stories.

On Wednesday, August 6, NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson will guest co-host, and discuss all things race cars, and NASCAR’s Labor Day Race at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

When I asked if the normal segments with Morning Express’ correspondents Brian Mcfayden, Jennifer Westhoven, and Bob van Dillen would still occur, she said, “Of course!”

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