CNN’s Battering Continues

CNN invented 24-hour cable news. Now, it is an also-ran in the industry, bested by MSNBC and Fox News. As its ratings sank lower, debt-laded parent Warner Bros. Discovery cannot depend on it for the cash necessary to climb out from under a back-breaking balance sheet. (These industries are laying off the most workers.)

According to The Wall Street Journal, CNN boss Chris Licht, has presided over a drop in the network’s fortunes. “In March, CNN is set to post its lowest monthly rating in at least three decades among adults 25 to 54, a key demographic for advertisers.” It plans to hire morning superstar Gayle King and, for some reason, former basketball player Charles Barkley. That may be the oddest programming decision in the history of morning TV.

CNN’s stars cannot pull the network out of its ratings funk. These include Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer. Both have been evening news and prime-time staples and were the cores around which CNN’s other programs were built. Their best days are behind them.

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Fox News, conservative to its core, took the ratings lead from CNN years ago. This was bolstered by the presidential campaign of Donald Trump and his four years as president. Fox is in trouble because of a $1.6 billion suit brought by Dominion Voting Systems, claiming that it was defamed as Fox hosts wrongly criticized the function of its voting machines in the 2020 presidential election. Based on testimony, the Fox News attacks were nearly a conspiracy by hosts to bring the company down.

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MSNBC, long the third-place cable news network, has moved into a solid second place, and CNN is not likely to dislodge it, based on current ratings numbers.

CNN may have invented 24-hour cable news, but it is now the industry’s sole failure.

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