By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Klein’s decline

Media Nation reader D.H. passes along this depressing news — depressing, that is, for those of us who were/are fans of former CNN anchor Aaron Brown. It turns out that his boy wonder replacement, Anderson Cooper, hasn’t even managed to achieve Brown’s ratings, making Brown’s departure not just lamentable but wholly unnecessary. According to Variety:

Brown averaged 307,000 young [i.e., those between 25 and 54 years old] viewers a night last year. This April, Cooper averaged 198,000. In total viewers, Cooper averaged 710,000 compared to 907,000 for Brown last year.

Media Nation has a theory. Brown was successful in attracting nearly everyone who wanted to watch a relatively serious newscast at 10 p.m. — it’s just that there weren’t that many of them. Cooper is neither serious enough to hold onto Brown’s audience nor sleazy enough to cut into Greta Van Susteren’s numbers. Cooper’s a tweener, in other words.

No offense to Cooper, who seems like a good guy who wants to do well. Rather, this is all about CNN president Jonathan Klein, who clearly has no idea what he’s doing, and who nuked the best newscast on cable (admittedly akin to records involving left-handed rookie second basemen whose names begin with “M”) for what turns out to be no reason whatsoever.

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  1. Mark R.

    Some quick math on figures I found over at shows that the cable news networks all lost audience between Spring 2005 and Spring 2006 (CNN certainly was the sharpest loser). But Headline News gained (I would assume because of the Nancy Grace show), so, overall, the damage to the CNN empire is not quite as severe–but it is still well behind FNC. Interesting to note that CNBC has seen a primetime increase–typically a weak spot in its lineup (it still lags CNN, Headline News, FNC and MSNBC). I miss Aaron, too.

  2. Specks

    Klein is no less clueless than Richard Parsons, the vacuous space waster at the top of TimeWarner. What has happened within TW is charade and catastrophe.

  3. Anonymous

    Almost every poster and Boston media host lamented Aaron’s deprture and now we know why.He just looked the part, whether you agree or disagree with him. Anderson, grey hair and all, is a lightweight and his work does not do much to dissuade us of such an opinion. Very sensational, fake with metrosexual style and looks.The fact that he agrees to be pictured on the front of glossy Vanity Fair barely a year after his new gig and without any tangible achievements is pretty telling by itself.”Yeah, mom [The uppety VanderBilt, is it?]….I have lost viewers, cost my network credibility, haven’t made any noise or impact reporting anything not recycled from somewhere and I haven’t interviewed any exclusive big shot yet…but I’ll still do that photoshoot with VF, mom”What an idiot!To follow up on what another poster started, CNN headline is all of a sudden turning from a continuous news update format to a ….wait….COMPETITOR to CNN line-up programming.They’re adding Glenn Beck before Grace I think, beginning tonight.What a duntz this JK is!!! What a duntz…None of these empty suits are well-‘suited’ to helm a giant and crucial media company like this. Not Parsons (overrated+overpaid) Steve Case (mental case) nor Levin or Pittman (also stabbed in the back) or anyone else.They need someone with class and cojones.Ted Turner is the only medicine for this ailing giant to TRY and bring it back to its glory. No guarantee there.If only they’d put pride aside and welcome him back, everyone could benefit. Stockholders, those same executives or ex-execs with stock options, CNN content and ultimately the consumer.I’ll take Ted Turner with a cane over any pretentious little wanna-be idiot, old or young that thinks he is the second coming of Howard Hughes.It’s all about egos now. No one will admit defeat. It is all a matter of “restructuring and realignment” Molify those fund analysts and Merryl bankers and you can buy some time, while you can’t even find enough people to GIVE you time on their sets or even BUY time on your ad space. Time magazine is worthless really. (Among Time 100?? none other than Matt ‘Dredge’) does pretty well and is a very well watched site but, God how painful the network downfall has been…..

  4. Anonymous


  5. Anonymous

    Thanks, N. We didn’t kinow it was you…..

  6. Mark R.


  7. Anonymous

    This should shatter any remaining illusions about one of the major networks ever scheduling a newscast in prime time.

  8. Mark R.

    I think Dan Rather is the only one who still supports that.

  9. Anonymous

    Nothwithstand a “dunce” comment above..and thank you Mark for being my spellchecker….An update here on the State of CNN:Glenn D!ck is a miserable failure of a debut.First of all, I got dizzy from all the different outfits he wore, cutting between different pre-taped segments each time with a very bright top on.Then he goes on to preview the day’s news with Erica Hill, he starts hitting on here -leaving her perplexed- and then asks her if “[she] is wearing leather pants…am I wearing leather pants…No, I am not wearing any pants”Oy Vey, what a ditz!! I always thought he was dishonest misleading blowhard on radio, but on TV, he was downright annoying and unwatchable, with the overactive body language, prancing around the set and above all, the non-stop facial expressions and eye ‘gymnastics.’Soooooo Cheesy..He then proceeded to, whatelse but another predictable pre-puberty joke you’d expect from a cocky hick: make fun of names. “Iraninan prez who?… Amadijab???…Amadinejab??..We have president BUSH…BUSH’Ahhhh..not even high-school stand up comedians need to go that low…PRIME TIME nontheless…and on venerable CNN, mind you.Then he interviews some C-list actor from some show that morons like Callahan worship…wrestler crowd material TV shows…Alias or 24 or the Shield or something like that.Useless interview!It won’t last for more than one or TWO months max with any sane programming director. It smacked of Jon Stewart/Colbert envy, trying to mix politics with humor..except that…he isn’t funny.Oh, one of the best parts was this portrait of a famous Mexican American clothing designer Manuel(?) -nice guy, nice family and nice story- but he put that on the first show??? That smacked of pandering. Weak is what describes the show best.On the bright side of CNN’s virtues, Nic Robertson had a dangerous encounter with a bunch of savages down in Sudan. He was in a van in a remote twon and the crowd got mad at his interpreter and wanted to harm him. It was a tense moment caught on tape that really brings to light how dangerous it is to be a true journalist in today’s world.It shows what is really still great about CNN, remnants of great journalistic pride and dedication. You don’t see that kind of work from FoxNews reporters from their sheltered studios or extra secure embedded missions in careful settings.Too bad the fate of the whole network is in the hand of the incompetent but powerful few and great journalistic talent at CNN is being misused and not appreciated enough.To be fair to Newscorp, though, they had a great piece lately about the cost of Chinese development and how regular Chinese citizens are being chased and thrown out of their houses to be demolished making way for booming construction projects.Obviously, no filming is allowed, as some tense moments show authroities turning cameras off, but there was also clandestine footage during raids. Very very moving and great stuff.You guessed it….not done by FoxNEWS..but their Birtish cousins at SKY. Ailes doesn’t bother with that stuff…it doesn’t win elections…And that wraps up the update for tonight.N.

  10. Anonymous

    I speculate that Aaron was pulling in the news audience that wasn’t available at 6:30 but really wanted to see a regular national newscast.

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