CNN has named former CNBC honcho Jonathan Wald executive producer of the newest addition to its primetime lineup, “Piers Morgan Tonight,” confirming rumours that have been swirling since last month. The 9 p.m. show debuts in January, and Wald’s appointment is effective immediately.”Jonathan has spent more than 20 years as a top producer in broadcast and cable television news and has the unique ability to produce television that is smart and provocative,” said Ken Jautz, CNN’s recently-installed executive vice president, in a statement. “We are thrilled that he’ll be joining the CNN family.”
Wald will now oversee a show on which CNN is banking to revive its primetime lineup, whose ratings have been hurting for some time. Morgan, a former British tabloid editor and a judge on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” is the cables news heir to Larry King, who will end his long-running interview show, “Larry King Live,” at the end of the year.
Wald’s got his work cut out for him — CNN recently clocked its worst primetime ratings in 10 years due to dismal viewer numbers from King and CNN’s other would-be primetime saviour , “Parker Spitzer.” King’s individual ratings, meanwhile, hit a 20-year low in May.
But Wald appears to be up to the challenge.
“I am so excited to join this team,” he said in a statement. “I can’t wait to get started and to collaborate with Piers on redefining the long-form interview program in primetime.”
Morgan had this to say: “Jonathan is tough, funny, smart as hell, incredibly experienced, and wants to win.”
In addition to his CNBC stripes, Wald also was the executive producer of NBC’s “Today.” He has three Emmys under his belt and teaches at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. He’s also well-liked among media insiders, and following CNN’s announcement, many of them took to Twitter to congratulate him and express their hopes that the new gig wouldn’t put a plug on his prolific tweeting.
“No chance,” Wald said.
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