CNN is getting increasingly creative as it switches up anchors in an attempt to drum up a ratings increase to halt its painful slide into irrelevance, as now it has announced that host Anderson Cooper will begin hosting a weekly Sunday show in mid-April.
Currently, Cooper, who hosts “Anderson Cooper 360” on weekdays, will begin hosting a new show called “The Whole Story” on April 16th. The show will feature other CNN personalities and last an hour, covering just a single subject per broadcast.
CEO Chris Licht said, in a statement to Variety, “Powered by CNN’s unmatched global journalism operation, The Whole Story goes behind the headlines, touching every continent and corner of the planet, as we bring our viewers into the heart of the essential stories of our time.”
Describing the show in its report on it, Variety reported that the show is a new attempt to try to drum up Sunday ratings and that the network has already sketched out a few episodes of the upcoming show, saying:
Trying to make a big news splash on Sundays is a challenge others have attempted to navigate in the past. CBS’ “60 Minutes,” often boosted by viewership for the Sunday NFL games that precede it, has long been one of TV’s most-watched programs, even in an era when viewers are moving away from regular appointments with linear TV. NBC News has made several attempts over the years to mount rival newsmagazines, including “Rock Center” and “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly,” only to be thwarted by expenses and viewership shortfalls. “Whole Story” recalibrates the formula somewhat by focusing on a single topic for its entire length.
[…]Several episodes of “Whole Story” have already been sketched out. In one, Sara Sidner will travel to San Francisco to explore some of the political and social issues that plague it. In another, Pamela Brown will examine claims that attempt to link Johnson & Johnson’s now-discontinued talc baby powder to cancer.
Why the network is betting big on Anderson Cooper is unclear. As the network is struggling with its smallest monthly audience in nearly a decade, Cooper is part of the problem, bringing in his smallest audience since June of 2014. Outkick noted as much in late February of 2023, writing:
Last month, the network drew a historically small audience among the advertiser-coveted demographic of adults ages 25-54.
CNN saw its lowest-rated month in the category since May 2012. Barack Obama was serving his first term at that time.
February culminated with CNN’s third lowest-rated month since the beginning of 2001. George W. Bush was serving his first term at that time.
Hosts Anderson Cooper, Jake Tapper, and Wolf Blitzer each recorded their lowest months since 2014.
So CNN is betting on Anderson Cooper even as his ratings take a nosedive, with neither Licht nor anyone else at CNN giving a good answer as to why the bet is on him. Perhaps he just seems better than someone like Don Lemon but is also woke enough to win over the woke cat women that watch his competitors at MSNBC.
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