As its ratings continue to plummet, CNN execs are reportedly making a desperate gamble to attract viewers to the little-watched cable news network by embracing a new programming strategy involving reality shows and celebrities.
According to The New York Post, CNN has been going after TV’s top reality-show producers looking for ideas that will help stop the ratings slide. One anonymous producer who had reportedly been solicited by CNN likens CNN’s new strategy to “that moment when MTV decided to stop playing music videos, because it wasn’t working anymore.” MTV subsequently found far more success with trashy reality shows of the Jersey Shore and The Hills variety.
The Post claims to have obtained several documents outlining CNN’s proposed changes, which will include:
* A late-night talk show, featuring a regular panel much like The View.
* Five new reality shows that will air in primetime slots on Saturdays and Sundays, which are meant to complement the new Sunday-night show featuring recent CNN acquisition Anthony Bourdain.
* In addition, celeb chef Bourdain is described as the “prototype” for the types of personalites CNN is looking to bring in, and is presently putting out feelers to top Hollywood agents in search of non-news talent to bring to the cable news network.
The Post also notes that CNN’s primary anchor, Anderson Cooper, will remain in the primetime lineup, despite consistently coming in third after Fox News and MSNBC.
However, The New York Times subsequently ran a statement from CNN that denies that it plans to add reality programming, and clarifies the network’s intentions:
“CNN, which recently announced the hiring of Anthony Bourdain as a contributor, is continuing to explore other nonfiction original series for the weekend. We routinely pursue new talent and programming concepts within the news category and often shoot pilots for any number of our networks.”