These are my grades of the weekday programming on CNN, the network I go to for news.
Erin Burnett OutFront-98%(A+)
The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer-96%(A)
Anderson Cooper 360-91%(A-)
John King USA-88%(B+)
Piers Morgan Tonight-86%(B)
My notes on the grading of the 8 shows.
1. Again, haven't seen much OutFront lately. Did catch a little on Friday, when Daily Beast Pundit John Avlon was sub-hosting for Erin Burnett. She'd better watch out, 'cos Avlon has a style that channels hers pretty well, and I can see him as more appealing to the kind of people she may have turned off. Brooke Baldwin, my favorite, will be sub-hosting for the next few days, paving the way for a blockbuster week ahead.
2. Baldwin is the only attention holder for me, and she does a pretty good job of it. She did a good job of covering the plane crash in Virginia Beach, VA, in which there were no fatalities. She also did a good job of covering the Texas tornadoes, which tossed 12,000 pound tractor-trailers all around. It was really quite something. It was, indeed, a miracle no one died in those tornadoes. Brooke's got a real future in the news business. I just hope that she doesn't end up at that rat trap beauty pageant that is Fox News, 'cos being made up in an ongoing effort on the part of Fox News to pander to the horndog quotient won't do her any favours. Same goes for Erin Burnett.
3. Joe Johns did a decent job sub-hosting for Wolf Blitzer on Friday. Blitzer still proves to be a good interviewer, as evidenced by his interviews with Nikki Haley, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, etc. Right now, Wolf is the closest thing CNN has to Fox's Geraldo Rivera. They're both paragons of journalism in their own right.
4. "Anderson Cooper 360" remains the top-rated show on CNN. The few times I'm actually in a room that has a TV tuned in to the show, it has been good. No major fumbles as of late, so they remain steady in the grading. That said, Blitzer seems entirely out of place when he's sub-hosting on AC360. Like Bob Dole jamming at a rap concert.
5. King's show is usually good, but having Gloria Borger sub-host is a bit much at times. She doesn't have a style that resonates in a good way. They need to have the lovely Kate Bolduan sub-host when King's off. Hell, even the atrocious Jeff Toobin would be a better sub-host than Borger. At least he would have more of a resonant style.
6. Piers did a good interview with Lionel Ritchie, but I think we all could have lived without Piers alluding to his sex life in the process. That said, the show has much improved over the past year.
7. "Starting Point" has avoided controversy as of late, so their grade average holds steady.
8. I smell something dead. Do you?