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Monday, March 19, 2012

CNN News Programming Grades as of 3/19/12

These are my grades of the weekday programming on CNN, the network I go to for news. This post also includes how they fare in comparison to last week's grading.

Erin Burnett OutFront-98%(A+)
The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer-94%(A-)
CNN Newsroom(as a whole, 9 AM-4 PM)-92%(A-)
Anderson Cooper 360-91%(A-)
John King USA-89%(B+)
Starting Point-81%(B-)
Piers Morgan Tonight-78%(C+)
Early Start-53%(F)

My notes on the grading of the 8 shows.

1. "Erin Burnett OutFront" continues to remain the top show on CNN, and of all time. She continues on with the in-depth reports on Iran, flying in the face of her critics, who couldn't give any less of a damn if major cities got wiped out with the bomb. I also learned earlier today that US taxpayers did, actually, make money off the bailouts, as Erin Burnett had claimed in her OWS segment. Always knew that she knew what she was talking about, as she was a CNBC business reporter and on the "front lines" during the 2008 market meltdown. This vindicates her and adds further credibility to what she has to say. Her critics can now drop out, as they've done all the turning on and tuning in we want them to do!

2. "The Situation Room" adds one point, which stems more from the Wolf's masterful coverage of elections than any greatness the show has. I've said this before and I'll saw it again: Wolf needs to stop ad-libbing! Heard him congratulating the dogs on their performance in the Alaska Iditarod Race, and I giggled. And you just know that, had he been on for that broadcast, he would have extolled the greatness of the rock group "KISS("KISS, great band. 'I...wanna rock and roll all night and party every day!'")." Wolf "Night Fever" Blitzer belongs under a disco ball the way Tom Foreman belongs in a photo shoot with the Disney character "Goofy." I level no qualms at Blitzin' Blitzer's journalism. It just amuses me how a Rather/Jennings-style journalist such as he is trying to be modern these days. I'd love to see the Blitzer that tore Newt to shreds again.

3. "CNN Newsroom" continues to reign as the top news programme on daytime TV. Of course, it helps that they've got 7 hours to themselves with the addition of revolving personalities. Just like the "FOX Business" series on the Fox Business Network that way. Decked to the rafters with quality journalists and reporters, this show(aside from the aforementioned OutFront) rounds out a regiment of quality afternoon programming on CNN.

4. "Anderson Cooper 360" continues to be CNN's ratings waterboy. The show continues to be a conglomeration of regular and international news which is focused on the bigger picture, spiced with some humourous flavouring. A weekday version of "Global Public Square," if you will. With that said, OutFront is catching AC360 in the key demographic, and sometimes even passes them. Not a good sign for the future.

5. "John King USA" remains a good show, but I have a recommendation as to how to make this show better. As you know, I enjoy seeing the "news you may have missed" segments with him and Kate Bolduan. If those two could host the show together, that would be great. The show will have to be renamed, however. Perhaps "Politics USA" would suffice. Or, hey, they could dump King all together and just utilize his talents on segments with the magic wall(pending TM). I don't care either way.

6. Like I said last time, I liked what little I saw of "Starting Point." That said, the way they handled the Breitbart video story brings out the unprofessionalness in them. Whether it's from having partisan hacks on the show to prove your point or shouting down someone who disagrees with your irrational, racist, closely held beliefs. They can turn this ship around, but the window of opportunity is closing rapidly.

7. "Piers Morgan Tonight" has improved dramatically over the past few months. Right now, I will talk about his substitute hosts. Arsenio Hall did a passable job substituting for him. Donny Deutch was more of a radio host-type than a TV host-type. Rosie O'Donnell got canned by Oprah so soon after that I wonder if her one-day reign of terror over PMT had something to do with it. Didn't watch Wolf. Jane Lynch was a goof. All in all, it makes one appreciate Piers more.

8. "Early Start" is a flop. They'll be gone soon enough. Enough said.

I'd also like to list a recommendation for what CNN can do to make themselves a better network. They need to ditch the "Your Money" weekend programme and replace it with an aviation and travel programme. Call it "Flight of Fancy." I quite fancy the idea, myself. Don't quite know who should host it though. The best suited choice would probably have to be someone like Bloomberg TV transplant and CNN aviation and travel correspondent Lizze O'Leary. Would be an interesting programme. Most importantly, "Your Money" needs to go.

I'd also like to see a Crossfire-style debate show featuring James Carville and Dana Loesch, airing during the times when AC360 and OutFront re-runs would usually air. Call it "Special Forces with James Carville and Dana Loesch." It would be the ratings equivalent to dynamite.

In regards to news, CNN means business. FOX is more about their bottom line and this than anything else:

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