It has been almost three months since Ken Jautz assumed the job of handling CNN after a successful stint running sister network HLN.
So far the jury is still out as to whether or not Jautz will succeed in his new job but there is no doubt that he is now starting to place his own imprint on the third place cable news network.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal’s Sam Schechner Jautz spoke about his hope for the Piers Morgan program that will be replacing Larry King Live which ended it’s 25-year run on Friday night and the American Morning program where he just replaced anchor John Roberts in an effort to halt the audience slide.
With regard to Parker Spitzer which he inherited from his predecessor Jonathan Klein Jautz expressed optimism despite the fact that since the show’s debut in October the network has lost 15% of it’s viewers in the key 25-54 demographic compared to a year ago.
Jautz told Schechner that “We do like the format of the show.” and that he believes the show is improving.
I don’t know how Jautz can say the show is improving with a straight face. As I mentioned the show is down 15% compared to a year ago for the same time slot and has struggled in some weeks to attract 100,000 viewers. It is clearly the worst performing show in the evening lineup for CNN which is saying something considering how badly they trail both Fox and MSNBC.
There was no mention of Kathleen Parker’s walkout but her dissatisfaction must concern Jautz as the network invested heavily in the show only to get an overbearing (and disgraced) former governor of New York with a mild mannered columnist who looks ill at ease on camera and struggles to get a word in edgewise.
If that’s improvement I can’t wait to see what his idea of failure is.