CNN Moves in a New Direction

Posted on June 7, 2005

CNN announced a number of changes to the network, in an effort to shore up ratings and take back its place as the leader in cable news. CNN will now focus on hard news and analysis, and less on people screaming at each other. So, what's new? Well, first off, Bill Hemmer is leaving the network as of June 17th "to pursue other opportunities." They offered him a nice demotion from co-anchor of American Morning to be the White House correspondent and he said thanks, but no thanks. On the bright side, Miles O'Brien steps up to the plate and will co-host the show with Soledad O'Brien (yes, that makes it the O'Brien-O'Brien hour.) I like Miles. He's science and tech-oriented, which should mesh with Soledad's blandness fairly well.

Wolf Blitzer's in -- in a big way. He anchors all afternoon in something called The Situation Room. Crossfire's grumpy old men Novak, Begala and Cargill will pop in to complain from time to time. Unfortunately, Blitzer inherited the annoying Jack Cafferty from American Morning. John King earlier this year was yanked from the White House to roam around the U.S. looking for breaking news. We haven't seen hide nor hair of him lately. Paula Zahn, Aaron Brown and Anderson Cooper all get new producers. And rumor says one of them will be fired before long. I bet it's Aaron Brown, which is really a shame. His 9/11 coverage on the first day of his job was excellent.

But the best news is that they are going to devote an entire hour to international news at noon called Your World Today. That's a bold move. True, it's a low-rated hour, but it's better than the paltry Global Minute.

So what's up with the Bill Hemmer thing? The Washington Post reports on Klein's comments, which seem to indicate that Soledad didn't like Hemmer upstaging her.

Rollicking? Sober center of gravity? Bright bulbs? Klein is certainly doing things his own way. Still, if he's serious about this whole "more gravitas, less screaming idiocy" thing, kudos to him.