Breaking news! CNN announced a major executive shakeup this morning, as its longtime U.S. president Jonathan Klein is leaving and being replaced by Ken Jautz, the current head of more-successful sister network HLN. The Associated Press reports that Klein was fired, while the official statement simply says that he’s leaving, but in any case the move was abrupt and comes after a long period of attention to CNN’s horrible ratings in primetime.
The curious thing, of course, is that CNN’s official line, for a long time, has been that those primetime ratings really don’t matter so much, that they account for only a small portion of its revenue and that, while well publicized, they are only a small part of a very healthy picture. Klein’s departure seems to state otherwise.
Curiouser too is that Klein has just finished planning a rebuild of said primetime—bringing on Piers Morgan to replace Larry King and Eliot Spitzer and Kathleen Parker to host a Crossfire-style show. Whether his own replacement by Jautz—who revived HLN largely by going tabloid—suggests yet another shift we’ll have to see.
In the meantime, here are my own suggestions for CNN from earlier this year, which the network is not likely to adopt.