Why Jon Stewart should have listened to my NPR piece on the new CNN before losing it
On Thursday, Daily Show host Jon Stewart weighed in on the state of CNN just months into an extensive makeover by former NBC honcho Jeff Zucker.
Showing clips from murder re-enactments on sister channel HLN, embarrassing virtual graphics images from recent reports and the incredibly satire-prone 10 p.m. discussion show experiment Get to the Point, Stewart railed against a news network he implied too many people were watching mostly on their way to catch connecting flights in airports.
But if Stewart would have heard my NPR commentary on the new CNN from last August, he would have known what was going on.
Basically, CNN needs to take chances to find a new voice. Which means it's probably going to air a lot of awful stuff before it gets better.
Back then, I noted of CNN’s possible new shows “OK, let's be honest. Given TV's usual success rate, some of these shows will be horrific. But they're also the painful path of experimentation CNN must travel to find a new voice.”
My example: rival MSNBC and its onetime star, Keith Olbermann.
MSNBC went through a lot of horrific experiments – Jesse Ventura, Michael Savage, Alan Keyes – before realizing Olbermann’s brand of smarty pants liberalism could draw viewers.
So it’s time for CNN to enter its own horrific experimentation phase – I even suggested using the 10 p.m. hour as a laboratory, which they seem to be doing now.
The only problem?
My hunch, given what works on cable news now, is that whatever they eventually figure out won’t make Stewart any happier.
Check out Stewart's commentary and my own NPR piece below: