CNN Gives Lou Dobbs 7 p.m., Bunches Blitzer in the Afternoon
In the process, the cable newschannel is resolving a weird quirk of its daytime schedule, in which Wolf Blitzer's Situation Room was scheduled around Dobbs' longtime 6 p.m. show, giving the graybeard newshound the 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. slot and then an hour from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Under the new schedule, Blitzer reports from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., when Dobbs takes on MSNBC's Chris Matthews and Fox's Shepard Smith at 7 p.m., leaving 8 p.m. open for new hire Campbell Brown's new program leading into Larry King at 9 p.m.
This change makes the most sense of anything I've heard about CNN recently; Blitzer has always been a strong presence and deserved an uninterrupted show. And as much as I hate the borderline racist way Dobbs is demonizing illegal immigrants to build his ratings, they are healthy enough to warrant a step up.
Click through for the press release:
CNN Unveils New Political Programming Line-Up
Situation Room to Run 4-7p.m., Lou Dobbs Tonight Moves to 7 p.m. as Network Girds for Intense Election Year
Leveraging the ratings successes and buzz around two of its signature political programs, CNN will flip the time periods of Lou Dobbs Tonight and the third hour of The Situation Room. Under the new schedule, The Situation Room becomes a single, three-hour program from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (ET), leading into Lou Dobbs Tonight at 7 p.m. (ET).
The new schedule creates a four-hour block of breaking news plus political analysis and opinion. CNN's lead political anchor, Wolf Blitzer, will kick off the evening then hand off to Lou Dobbs. The new lineup debuts Monday, Nov. 5, one year from Election Day 2008.
CNN also announced that Blitzer, who led the network’s Emmy Award-winning Election Night 2006 coverage, will anchor the network’s caucus and primary coverage, Democratic and Republican conventions and Election Night coverage. He will also moderate three important upcoming presidential debates: a Democratic candidates debate in Las Vegas on Nov. 15, the Congressional Black Caucus debate in South Carolina on Jan. 17, and the final Democratic debate before Super Tuesday in Los Angeles on Jan. 31.
“As the countdown to Election Day 2008 begins, we're capitalizing on the momentum of two of our most talked-about and fastest-growing political programs,” said Jon Klein, president of CNN/U.S. “Wolf and The Best Political Team on Television have turned The Situation Room into a must-see stop for anyone serious about politics, while Lou has become one of the most influential political journalists of our day through his fearless reporting and commentary on issues of vital interest to America’s middle class.”
Lou Dobbs Tonight has experienced dramatic ratings growth over the last two years, rising 18 percent this year in the P25-54 demo. Lou Dobbs Tonight has become the most-watched program on the network outside of Larry King Live.
In little more than two years on the air, The Situation Room has become the top political destination on cable news, beating all competition at 4 p.m. in the month of September and showing double-digit growth year-over-year in all three of its hours.
“I'm honored to lead CNN’s political team during this extraordinary election year, and I'm thrilled that The Situation Room will be whole again,” Blitzer said. “The three-hour block makes more sense for The Situation Room because at 6 p.m. there is so much news still developing, particularly news out of Washington and the political world. We can cover that breaking news in our unique style while still presenting a comprehensive look at all the top political developments of the day.”
“I can’t wait to hit prime time,” Dobbs said. “Our program is tailor-made for people who’ve heard the headlines, think most of the news defies logic and want to understand what’s really happening in, and to, this country.”
Blitzer also anchors Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (ET). Lou Dobbs Tonight re-airs on weekends at 6 p.m. (ET)
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