CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton is getting on a conference call at 11 to address the shakeup. We’ll be live-blogging it here. (Please excuse the typos!)
10:58 – Someone just randomly screamed: “Are you f*cking kidding me?!?” Hmm….
11:00 – Waiting for the call to start.
11:02 – Oh it was Joe Flint of the LA Times! The reporters are all chatting it up. Laughs!
11:07 – Call is starting…
11:08 – Walton summarizing the announcement about Ken Jautz taking over, running through his credentials.
11:09 – We will be recruiting for a new position at CNN. We’re currently on track to have our 7th consecutive year of profit growth and we’re enjoying a time of profit in the news business when mny folks around the world who do journalism are having some financial difficulties. Creating new position of executive vice president managing editor to shape and guide our coverage across all platforms world wide.
11:11 – Props to Jon Klein, who is exiting. Now taking Qs….
11:12 – Why time right to replace Klein? Lack of confidence in the new primetime lineup he built?
11:13 – We have two proven execs in this company. We felt that it was important to go ahead and make the moves before we launched these new programs because we didn’t wanna have any disruption once these programs are on the air. (Piers Morgan and Parker Spitzer)
11:14 – The ad revenue for CNN US primetime only accounts for less the 10% of CNN Worldwide’s overall revenues. We’re clearly not satisfied with the ratings but I want to be careful that we take that in context … It’s critical that we remain non partisan and we will continue to do that.
11:16 – Walton’s talking about Scot Safron, who is stepping into executive VP role at CNN. On the new M.E. job: We’re going to do more journalism that we distribute across all of our platforms. Our primetime stars are the public face of CNN but its a remarkable story what we’re doing here in terms of consecutive growth in comparison to others. So the new M.E. will be a strong editorial mind who will help shape our coverage and build content and analysis to what we’re doing.
11:19 – Klein’s title changing because the M.E. will be above him. M.E. will report to Walton. Scot and Ken will also report to Walton.
11:19- Brian Stelter asked is Klein was fired. Walton: I’m not gonna get into the specifics of my conversation with Jon but we had a meeting earlier this week, but there’s no doubt in my mind there;s a lot of good success ahead of him. He’s gonna be great.
11:21 – A lot of excitement around the launch of Parker Spitzer, says Walton.
11:22 – How frustrated has it been to watch the ratings decline? Walton: I’m a very competitive person. Everything I do I do to win. We can define winning on a number of fronts. Our journalism, being accurate. It’s also important for us to return value to the shareholders of Time Warner. The frustrating part to me is when many of the stories are written, and when soothsayers weigh in with ways to fix CNN, and CNN is not broking. The ratings clearly need to get better, but CNN as a business is thriving.
11:25 – But can you win with good journalism?
11:25 – I think you can. We’re winning in a number of ways. I think we have to evolve the way we do things. It’s a lot less likely for what we’ll call a traditional news cast for that to be successful in primetime.
11:25 – Damage to the brand due to poor ratings? What about advertisers? Walton – I think important to note that we’re deliver more news to more people than anytime in our history. CNN is pure and has class and advertisers want to be associated with that. But there’s no question we need to do better on the ratings standpoint. But has it done any damage to the brand? I don’t think so. More people are routing for us than anytime in our history?
11:27 – So why isn’t it working in primetime if people are routing for CNN? Walton – We need to be more relevant, more interesting, more entertaining, and I don’t think entertaining is a bad word in terms of news. I think we’re actually positioned for tremendous growth. You’ll all be pleasantly surprised with our new program on Oct. 4, and with Piers Morgan in January.
11:29 – Our goal is to have more people watch us [with midterm elections coverage].
11:31 – Call’s over!
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