How CNN's new boss plans to revive ratings

Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:11am EDT
 
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By Georg Szalai

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Ken Jautz is moving from HLN to CNN to run the network as executive vp after the ouster of longtime CNN president Jonathan Klein on Friday.

Jautz talked about his biggest challenge -- boosting primetime ratings -- the importance of personalities and how TV news can be serious yet entertaining.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST PROBLEM FOR CNN, AND HOW DO YOU FIX IT?

Ken Jautz: The biggest issue is to improve our primetime ratings. We need to make our primetime more compelling and engaging, sometimes more fun, you could even say. We are going to adhere to our basic programing strategy of nonpartisan information inclusive of all different points of view. But we need to be livelier and more engaging. Addressing that issue will be my focus. Addressing that with the launch of the two new shows that we have already announced -- "Parker Spitzer" on October 4 and Piers Morgan (as Larry King's replacement) after the turn of the year. We think they will be a big improvement to our primetime.

ONE STRATEGY THAT NEWS NETWORKS HAVE USED TO MAKE THINGS LIVELIER ARE OPINIONATED PUNDITS. ANY PLAN TO ADD SUCH PERSONALITIES?

Jautz: By the time you get to primetime, in today's media environment, there are so many websites and outlets, people know basic facts. In addition to facts, they want analysis, they want context, they want perspective and they want some opinion. And yes, I think we should provide them with as many points of view as possible, but we should provide them from all different ends of the political spectrum and from newsmakers as well as pundits. As long as we continue to be smart and insightful and informed in our reporting and analysis, that will differentiate us.

ANY PERSONALITIES YOU WOULD PARTICULARLY LIKE TO SEE ON AIR -- WHETHER AS PUNDITS OR NEWSMAKERS?

Jautz: I do have three personalities in mind (Parker, Spitzer, Morgan), and I am focusing in the coming weeks and months on those three. I have been involved in helping get these to air and brought a lot of other shows to air. They are personalities and will have a big impact on our primetime lineup and improve it.   Continued...