CNN problems didn't happen overnight with a single mistake. Track the biggest CNN problems which have led to a steady decline in the ratings as it continues to make programming changes in order to rebuild its news brand.
The end of Larry King Live was a watershed moment for CNN. The program ran from 1985-2010 and made King one of the most recognizable faces on television. But in its final years, King's show had stopped becoming buzzworthy, and instead became cringeworthy in the eyes of critics, who said King wasn't keeping up with the changing times. Still, CNN took a risk by moving away from its familiar star with the big glasses and suspenders. Whether it was the right choice to end a multitude of CNN problems is still not clear.
Piers Morgan appeared to have all of the right ingredients when he took over Larry King's time slot in 2011. Morgan has his finger on the pulse of pop culture, he's a master at TV interview skills and he was already a well-known name as a judge on NBC's America's Got Talent. But the chatty Brit still has to prove himself to Middle America and not just the celebrity circuit on both coasts. Unlike King in 1985, he also has to establish himself against popular politically-opinionated shows on Fox News Channel and MSNBC.
prime time lead-in. Parker Spitzer was meant to rekindle the excitement of the popular Crossfire point-counterpoint debate show from CNN's glory days. Instead, it sputtered before an audience who either was tired of this programming concept or simply didn't like the hosts. With the departure of Kathleen Parker, the show was renamed In the Arena. The show had a chance to improve CNN's Nielsen ratings with the sudden exit of Keith Olbermann from MSNBC.
Anderson Cooper franchise AC 360 into the 8:00 p.m. ET slot as the lead-in to Piers Morgan Tonight.
2012 presidential race would test whether viewers want unbiased political reporting, or simply opinioniated talk shows that reaffirm their political views. CNN used the opportunity to revamp its morning newscasts, replacing American Morning with two shows, Early Start and Starting Point. All of the upheaval has yet to bring results to the long list of CNN problems.
brand management strategy.
coming under scrutiny in the U.K. phone-hacking scandal from his days as a newspaper editor. He denies involvement. Given CNN's ratings, which have hit a 20-year low, having Morgan's name mentioned at least brings a dose of publicity.
media crisis involving the federal government. The U.S. State Department is blasting CNN for revealing the existence of a journal that belonged to a U.S. ambassador who was killed in an attack in Libya. CNN says the journal contained information that raised questions about whether the ambassador was on a hit list and whether the U.S. State Department did enough to protect him and other Americans who were killed. This controversy underscores CNN's strength in news reporting, especially at the international level. With increasing global tensions, CNN has the chance to show off its hard-news roots.