Tags: Zucker | CNN | cable | attitude

Zucker: CNN Needs More Attitude, Less News

Image: Zucker: CNN Needs More Attitude, Less News

Tuesday, 03 Dec 2013 10:02 AM

By Lisa Barron

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CNN boss Jeff Zucker has big plans for the 24-hour news network that involve less news and more "attitude."

"We're all regurgitating the same information," the CNN Worldwide president told Capital New York. "I want people to say, 'You know what? That was interesting. I hadn't thought of that.

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"The goal for the next six months is that we need more shows and less newscasts," he said.

Zucker's remarks come after CNN hit its lowest ratings in more than a year, drawing an average of just 385,000 viewers — and only 95,000 in the key 25-54 demographic — early last month, reported Politico.

They were also the lowest ratings since Zucker, the former president and CEO of NBC Universal, took over at CNN in January, vowing to broaden the definition of news.

"I think our competition today is anybody that competes for eyeballs and attention and produces non-fiction programming," Zucker told reporters in November 2012.

"News is about more than politics and war. We need to broaden that definition of what news is, while maintaining the standards of CNN’s journalistic excellence," he said.

In his interview with Capital New York, Zucker, 48, said he wants to expand beyond CNN's traditional rivalries with Fox News and MSNBC.

"People who traditionally just watch the cable news networks [are] a great audience. I'm not trying to alienate that audience," he said.

"But the overall cable news audience has not grown in the last 12 years, OK? So, all we're doing is trading [audience] share…We also want to broaden what people can expect from CNN."

Zucker maintained that CNN staffers finally are coming around to his view "because people have seen the results," pointing to the cable network's top-rated show, "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown," a travel adventure show hosted by the celebrity chef.

He is also working on increasing the prominence of CNN's digital newsroom. "Television is still our bread and butter today, but digital will continue to be more important every day going forward," he said.

"In five years, mobile video consumption with three little red letters called CNN is what the future looks like.

"There are three incredible brands in the news and information space," Zucker said. "I think ESPN owns sports, I think the Weather Channel owns weather, and I want CNN to own news and information in the global digital video space."

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