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CNN Employees ‘Freaking Out’ Over Changes Made By New Management As Ratings Continue to Tank

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


CNN staffers, hosts, and producers are growing increasingly anxious in an era of new management and historically low ratings.

The network’s new corporate boss has said he wants programming that brings in “Democrats and Republicans,” but according to insiders, that’s not going to be a winning formula, the New York Post reported.

The outlet notes:

Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav said CNN is renewing its focus on “journalism” — signaling he wants the scandal-scarred, left-leaning network to eventually deliver straight news that also appeals to conservatives.

The CEO, whose company owns CNN, Warner Bros., HBO, Animal Planet and TLC, told reporters at Allen & Co.’s “summer camp for billionaires” in Sun Valley, Idaho, that CNN’s new approach will pay off in the long term, even as ratings sink to historic lows.

“Journalism first. America needs a news network where everybody can come and be heard; Republicans, Democrats,” Zaslav said. “I think you’re seeing more of that at CNN. We’re not going to look at the ratings and, in the long run, it’s going to be worth more.”

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Zaslav took over at Discovery and WarnerMedia after it merged to form Warner Bros. Discover in April. He then hired Chris Licht to head up CNN after former CEO Jeff Zucker was ousted earlier this year.

His mandate to Licht, who formerly served as the executive producer of CBS’ “Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” was to rid CNN of the hyper-left-wing partisan, Trump-focused coverage that Zucker emphasized.

“I think Chris is doing a great job pivoting CNN,” Zaslav told Variety.

However, a well-placed source told The Post that a big reason for the ratings decline is in part due to removing “sensational” and “delicious” details that are commonplace on cable news outlets.

“The problem is we are not a neutral country,” the source said. “The ratings are getting worse because they are taking out all the bells and whistles. CNN’s ratings are as bad as local news ratings.”

“New management is not freaking out but everyone else at CNN is,” the source told The Post. “They want to fix the shows first, but they don’t realize the shows and ratings are connected.”

The Post adds: “After half a year of weak ratings, CNN turned in one of its worst months yet. According to TV ratings agency Nielsen, CNN’s weekend ratings for the month were the lowest of the year in both the all-important 25- to 54-year-old demographic and total viewers. It also coincided with a historic low for the network on Saturday, June 18 — which saw the network dip to 57,000 total demo viewers. That Saturday was also the worst-rated since 1993, which pre-dated CNN’s top competitors Fox News and MSNBC.”

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But of the top two CNN competitors, by far, Fox News is the dominant outlet.

Newly released data reveals that Fox News was the most-watched cable news network in the second quarter of this year, both in primetime and total daily viewers.

The most-watched show on Fox News in the second quarter was “The Five,” which averaged 3,299,000 to make it the top-rated cable news show.

“Tucker Carlson Tonight” came in second with 3,233,000 viewers.

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“Cable news’ most-watched show hauled in an average of 3.30 million total viewers per original broadcast in Q2. Tucker Carlson Tonight took second place, averaging 3.23 million total viewers in Q2, followed by Hannity at 9 p.m. (2.73 million), Jesse Watters Primetime at 7 p.m. (2.69 million) with Special Report with Bret Baier rounding out the top five in average total viewers (2.46 million),” AdWeek reported.

“The eight most-watched shows of the quarter were all Fox News shows. MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show (which featured guest hosts for much of the quarter) came in at No. 9. with a 1.8 million total viewer average at 9 p.m.,” AdWeek added.

CNN and MSNBC struggled mightily in the second quarter of this year.

This has also been a huge year for Fox News host Greg Gutfeld, who co-hosts “The Five” and has a popular late-night show on the weekends. His weekday late-night show has been delivering massive viewership.

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