Jeff Zucker Defends CNN's New Direction

CNN President Jeff Zucker at wrapped up the network's upfront presentation by defending CNN's coverage of the missing plane and saying that shows like Piers Morgan's are "no longer viable."

“Last month, CNN was the fastest growing network in all of television -- not just news, not just cable, all of television," Zucker told an audience of advertisers and some of the network's top stars. "The same remains true in April."

Zucker did not point out that CNN had one of their worst 1st quarters ever in the history of the network (which included March).

“The most important thing we pay attention to is journalism and the audience,” Zucker told HuffPost. “We feel really good about the journalism and the audience continues to be there. At the end of the day, that’s what matters.”

o talking about the missing plane disappearing in a "black hole" is now considered journalism?

Zucker told attendees that the talk show format at 9 p.m. -- a time slot filled by Larry King for 25 years and more recently by Piers Morgan -- is “no longer viable."

If it's being done by Piers Morgan it is no longer viable, but put the right people in the job and it can still work.

The CNN boss also discussed how his network is pushing news to the side to bring in some new shows. 

Zucker has emphasized that the network shouldn't just be competing against cable news networks, like MSNBC and Fox News, but also entertainment-focused channels. During his upfront appearance, Zucker highlighted the ratings success of Anthony Bourdain‘s “Parts Unknown” and Morgan Spurlock‘s “Inside Man.” He announced plans to fill the 9 p.m. time slot with new CNN original programs.

Mike Rowe, the host of Discovery’s “Dirty Jobs,” will host “Somebody’s Gotta Do It,” a series CNN described Thursday as “paying tribute to innovators, do-gooders, entrepreneurs, collectors, fanatics -- people who simply have to do it.” Journalist and author Lisa Ling will star in a documentary series looking at various American subcultures, and John Walsh, of “America’s Most Wanted” fame, will look at criminal investigations in “The Hunt with John Walsh.”

Keep doing this and CNN can have John Walsh hunt for their ratings.

Stay tuned.... 

H/T HuffPo