Jeff Zucker, who takes over the reins at CNN at the end of the month, is apparently eying at least one major lineup change in an effort to boost the network’s faltering ratings.
The New York Post reported that Zucker is seriously considering creating a new morning show and moving Erin Burnett from her 7 p.m. slot to become a co-host of the yet to be announced show.
According to the Post, Zucker thinks Burnett is a real talent. But as the ratings have shown, she is out of her element in her current prime time spot. Burnett was mainly on in the morning during her tenure at CNBC.
Zucker is very familiar with morning programming, having taken over as the executive producer at Today at the age of 26. He is widely credited with orchestrating the show’s 16-year run at the top of the ratings.
While there is no doubt that CNN’s current entry in the morning, Starting Point, is a flop—consistently finishing behind both Fox News and MSNBC, and even behind HLN on occasion—moving Burnett to an a.m. slot is no panacea. She has clearly failed in the 7 p.m. slot and there is no guarantee that she will do any better ratings-wise in the morning.
This also brings up the question as to what to do with Soledad O’Brien. Rumors are circulating that she could simply just switch time slots with Burnett, but that too is fraught with risk and shows a lack of original thinking by Zucker.
Zucker was hired to try and lift CNN out of the ratings cellar and restore the network to, if not its former glory as the top cable news network, at least a strong second to Fox News. But if these initial reports are true, it’s more akin to shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic than doing anything that will help the moribund network return to its glory days.