How 9/11 Changed CNN
As the US was dealing with the shock and horror of what was happening in New York City, and Washington D.C. on September 11, 2001, CNN, which was the first national network to relay the images from that tragic day, was also going through a monumental shift of its own on that day.
That day was the day CNN’s operational axis visibly started to shift from Atlanta, where it was founded and headquartered, to New York City. The groundwork for this shift was already in motion prior to this day, but it was meant to happen gradually over a period of months. September 11 forced CNN to execute its plans immediately.
Some backstory: After AOL merged with CNN’s parent company, TimeWarner, to form AOL Time Warner Inc. in 2000 executives wanted CNN’s presence in New York to greatly increase. At that time CNN’s NYC operations included a bureau, a few studios, and the now-defunct business network CNNfn. The top news anchor based out of there was Lou Dobbs and his program Moneyline aired in the early prime hours.
Specialist programs like Showbiz Today and Style with Elsa Klensch also originated out of New York, but hard news shows hardly originated out of New York. Atlanta and Washington D.C. were the preferred locations for this. This was about to change as AOL Time Warner replaced Ted Turner and his executive team and brought in new people.
Jamie Kellner the president of Turner Broadcasting at that time hired Walter Isaacson, who was the managing editor of Time Magazine, to be president of the CNN News Group now known as CNN Worldwide. Their mandate was to make CNN more attractive and more appealing to younger demographics.
To do this CNN hired Aaron Brown and Paula Zahn (hired just days before September 11) who both would operate out of New York. Aaron Brown was hired to be the main person in primetime while Paula Zahn would be the face of the network in the mornings. CNN was also going to build a street-side studio in Manhattan for its new programs.
The acts of September 11 thrust Aaron Brown and Paula Zahn in front of CNN viewers and whatever plans were made for their show launches were scrapped and they began their assignments right there and then. This began the slow march of programming and executives from Atlanta to New York.
This march caused tension between the two cities initially as the Atlanta folks tried to resist New York’s influence, but as more and more resources and people shifted northward the resistance subsided.
Over the years management has tried to assuage fears by saying over and over that CNN’s home is in Atlanta and it’s still an important cogwheel in its operations but with more executives based in New York, moving its remaining weekday news anchors away from Atlanta and launching new products where the majority of the new hires will be based in New York it’s hard to not notice that Atlanta’s influence has been greatly diminished.
CNN earned a lot of praise for its September 11 coverage and that particular day reinforced that CNN was the place to go for breaking news. It should be noted that that was also the day CNN sphere of influence officially began to move from Atlanta to New York.
(Greensboro News and Record, Tampa Bay Times, Napa Valley Register, Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, TVTechnology, Observer, NextTV, TVTechnology, The Hollywood Reporter, NextTV, Vanity Fair, CNN, Maria Saporta, CNN, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
CBS News Rebrands Its Morning Show and Debuts New Studio
CBS News decided that now was a good time to do a reset and makeover of its morning flagship show CBS This Morning. Out was the name CBS This Morning and in was the new name CBS Mornings, aligning it with their more successful franchise CBS Sunday Morning in look and content. Out was news anchor Anthony Mason and in was former NFL player Nate Burleson. Out was its longtime studio Studio 57 located at the CBS Broadcast Center on West 57th Street in Manhattan and in is Studio 1515 located in Times Square at the ViacomCBS headquarters. (NewscastStudio)
MSNBC Revamps Its Lineup
For the second time this year, MSNBC has decided to tinker with its lineup. Looking to add more diversity to its daytime lineup MSNBC is bringing back José Díaz-Balart who will anchor a 10 am show starting September 27. Díaz-Balart will move on from his daily responsibilities at Noticias Telemundo, but will still anchor breaking news and host monthly specials for the network. He will still continue to anchor NBC Nightly News Saturday on NBC News. As a result of his move back to MSNBC, Hallie Jackson who anchored the 10 am slot will move to 3 pm, and Ayman Mohyeldin who occupied the afternoon slot will move over to weekend primetime. (The Hollywood Reporter)
Amazon’s Prime Video Looking To Snag NFL Sunday Ticket
Amazon’s Prime Video come 2022 will be the home of the NFL’s Thursday Night Football package and the streaming service is interested in adding more NFL properties to its arsenal. Amazon is looking to acquire the rights to the NFL’s Sunday Ticket package which is currently being held by DirecTV. The NFL is looking for a new provider for this package and Amazon has emerged as a front runner. The cost to acquire this package is ranging from $2 to $2.5 billion per year. The NFL is hoping that it can secure a new rights deal by the time the Superbowl rolls around in February 2022. (CNBC)
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A MarkHenry Media LLC publication - issue #62 - 2021