Skip to comments.Anchor's Not Outfoxing Foe: CNN Seeking Help For Paula (Zahn a Financial and Ratings Disaster!)
Posted on 03/20/2002 3:39:43 PM PST by Timesink
Anchor's Not Outfoxing Foe
CNN seeking help for Paula
By PHYLLIS FURMAN
Daily News Business Writer
NN isn't getting its money's worth from Paula Zahn.
The cable network's $2 million-a-year investment in its new anchor has yet to pay dividends and CNN is looking to make a change to beef up her expensive new morning show.
In spite of big bucks and megapromotion for Zahn, Fox News Channel's edgy, zoolike "Fox & Friends" is beating her more serious show, "American Morning," by up to 200,000 viewers a day.
|Paula Zahn: Provocative, supersmart and, oh yeah, just a little bit overpaid.|
That has CNN trying hard to lure the "Today" show's former No. 2 producer, Michael Bass, to fix up Zahn's program, insiders said. If he joins, he'll take the top executive producer's post, reporting to senior executive producer Katherine O'Hearn, who has been trying to lure him for some time, the sources said.
The stakes couldn't be higher for CNN, which is making an ambitious effort to become a contender in morning TV.
The network set off a nasty legal battle in September when it lured Zahn from the Fox News Channel as part of an attempt to pump up ratings by hiring marquee talent. It was CNN's most expensive hire to date, and it tripled Zahn's salary.
But it's been far from smooth sailing since then. In January, CNN blundered when it aired a commercial touting Zahn as "sexy" with the sound of a zipper in the background. Zahn was furious, and CNN quickly pulled the promo.
CNN isn't just paying Zahn big bucks, it's also building an expensive streetfront studio at the Time & Life Building where Zahn's show, as well as several other CNN programs, will move in the spring.
'Fox' Still Leads
Zahn's show has made strides, boosting CNN's ratings for the period between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. by 188% compared with last year, and she has narrowed the gap somewhat with "Fox & Friends." But that show, which is produced on a shoestring budget, is still beating "American Morning" by a hefty 30% margin.
"With all that money they are laying out, there have to be holes in the walls over there," said Bill Shine, Fox News network executive producer. "CNN can steal our talent, but they can't steal our brains and our attitude."
CNN spokeswoman Christa Robinson called Zahn's show a "tremendous success," adding that "American Morning" isn't in the same category as "Fox & Friends."
"We're providing news and substantive exclusives," Robinson said. "Fox's loss," she maintained, "is CNN's gain."
Original Publication Date: 03/20/2002
I'm stuck in a Marriott Courtyard that only gets CNN (no FOXNEWS or MSNBC).
Paula's apparently on vacation this week; the shirtsleeve guy and some other guy (last name Cooper) have done a pretty good job, actually. More enjoyable than Zahn, that's for sure.
I hope Zahn is feeling real bright now. What good is it to have your salary tripled if you have no job security and the suspicion that your network is looking for a way to get out of your contract and dump you when nobody is looking?
One thing I've noticed about the female morning anchors is that they just oooooze sincerity, and they look soooo serious when they are discussing something really imPORtant, such as how guns are KILLING our children.
Have Paula perform her little show while Dancing for Dollars on the Desktop. That way, when they pull the plug on her, she'll be fully trained to do what she's best qualified for, selling her integrity for a few dollars more.
I think you forgot to add, and liberal views.
Paula Zahn's a nice looking lady, but c'mon, its CNN. Their left-wing bent is killing them, not their people.
I suspected at that moment that she was having a hard time at CNN.