CNN Anchor 'Stunned' After Being Axed in Cost-Saving Measure: Report
Insider published an exclusive report Tuesday that said CNN anchor Laura Coates, a lawyer who hosted the 11 p.m. hour of “CNN Tonight,” was out of a job.
The report by Insider’s Claire Atkinson is behind a paywall, but the writer tweeted that the move was intended to cut costs for the struggling network.
She also claimed that “insiders” were “concerned about on-air representation, an apparent allusion to Coates’ race or gender, or both. Coates is a black woman.
NEW: CNN is axing Laura Coates’ 11 p.m. anchor slot to save on costs, according to sources, and insiders are concerned about on-air representation https://t.co/3fUd1YzQXI via @businessinsider
— Claire Atkinson 🏴 (@claireatki) April 18, 2023
“Laura Coates was announced as CNN’s 11 p.m. anchor in January but has not hosted the hour solo since February, the blurb of the article appearing in the tweet read.
“She’s said to be ‘stunned.'”
The network conservatives once labeled the “Clinton News Network” at the height of its influence has been struggling badly in the the ratings.
The weakness is most glaring in the population advertisers covet the most, Fox News’ Brian Flood reported last month, citing Nielsen Media Research.
Because they are considered most likely to have disposable income, advertisers want as many viewers in the 25-54 demographic as they can get. During the week of March 12, as an example, CNN averaged only 84,000 viewers in that age range during the prime-time hours of 8 to 11 p.m.
In contrast, rival Fox News averaged 219,000 viewers.
Fox said the last time CNN had a prime-time 25-54 audience this small was the week of Sept. 30, 1991.
Total day viewership was not much better for the left-leaning cable network. CNN averaged 80,000 viewers in the key demographic, well below the Fox News average of 150,000 viewers.
The overall picture was dark for CNN. With Fox News on top at almost 2 million prime-time viewers, CNN trickled in at 21st with an average of 383,000 viewers. In the important 25-54 age range, it was 33rd among basic cable networks.
CNN has been re-arranging its deck chairs in an attempt to emerge from its days as an anti-Trump echo chamber. It uses its 9 p.m. slot for a mix of offerings keyed to the news.
However, that has been a weak link in its prime-time offerings. As noted by The New York Times, in one recent week, Anderson Cooper’s 8 p.m. program attracted an average audience of 584,000 viewers, while the 9 p.m. slot had only 407,000 — a 30 percent drop.
CNN is also becoming the butt of jokes.
The Times noted that at a recent Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, Secretary of State Antony Blinken poked fun at the network.
“According to the guest list, there are 600 attendees here tonight. CNN would kill for an audience like that,” he said.
CNN said in a statement to The Times that it is focused on journalism, not ratings.
“We’ve been openly experimenting with a variety of programming directions over the past few weeks. Without an established format, cadence or promotion for that hour, the network has focused exclusively on producing smart and meaningful content — not on ratings,” the statement said.
“But man, they are getting a lot wrong while the ratings appear damned to irrelevance,” Kyle Koster wrote on The Big Lead. “Even when CNN was a punching bag and target for the right, it was in the conversation. Now it feels as though people don’t even glance up from their devices at the airport to see what segment they’re doing on mute.”
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