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Anchor's Not Outfoxing Foe: CNN Seeking Help For Paula (Zahn a Financial and Ratings Disaster!)
New York Daily News ^ | March 20, 2002 | Phyllis Furman

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.

zahn_paula.jpg (10726 bytes)
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


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: americanmorning; cablenewsnetwork; cnn; fnc; foxfriends; foxnewschannel; liberalmedia; newsmedia; paulazahn
Earth to CNN: It's not the anchors, it's your BIAS.
1 posted on 03/20/2002 3:39:43 PM PST by Timesink
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To: Timesink
And who's that shirtsleeve bozo that performs with her?
2 posted on 03/20/2002 3:50:06 PM PST by onedoug
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To: Timesink
the bias and the anchors!
3 posted on 03/20/2002 3:52:40 PM PST by mystery-ak
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To: Timesink
They could ask her to do the broadcast wearing a bikini, but she would probably think that was disrespectful of her journalistic integrity. Like being on CNN isn't.
4 posted on 03/20/2002 3:55:59 PM PST by Random Access
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To: onedoug
FoxNews has a delightful morning show. Really fun and informative. Great hosts. Paula is a drag...
5 posted on 03/20/2002 3:58:50 PM PST by veronica
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To: Random Access
I think CNN should just plain keep ol' Paula Zahn. She was irritating on Fox. Now she doesn't bother me at all (psst - I never watch CNN!)
6 posted on 03/20/2002 4:00:44 PM PST by toddst
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To: mystery-ak
The Foxxy Fox Ladies.

FOX NEWS LADIES

7 posted on 03/20/2002 4:01:35 PM PST by stlrocket
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To: Timesink
I believe that website rules require any thread dealing with Paula Zahn's intellect to feature at least one photograph of her legs.
8 posted on 03/20/2002 4:02:28 PM PST by Mr. Lucky
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To: onedoug
And who's that shirtsleeve bozo that performs with her?

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.

9 posted on 03/20/2002 4:04:12 PM PST by sinkspur
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To: Timesink
The cable network's $2 million-a-year investment in its new anchor has yet to pay dividends...

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?

10 posted on 03/20/2002 4:06:00 PM PST by Excuse_My_Bellicosity
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To: Timesink
This is great news! As long as CNN continues to think that hiring a new Producer will fix the show, then they will continue to trail FOX in the ratings.

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.

11 posted on 03/20/2002 4:08:47 PM PST by SmartBlonde
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To: Timesink
What really irks me is seeing all those Paula Zahn ads from the Chicken Noodle Network on Fox, especially during Brit Humes, Special Report. I wish Fox would buy some time slots advertising Fox as the #1 Cable news station and fair and balance on CNN!
12 posted on 03/20/2002 4:20:49 PM PST by RoseofTexas
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To: Timesink
Here's a suggestion:

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.

13 posted on 03/20/2002 4:25:12 PM PST by theDentist
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To: sinkspur
Anderson Cooper?
14 posted on 03/20/2002 4:32:10 PM PST by StayoutdaBushesWay
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To: Timesink
Earth to CNN: It's not the anchors, it's your BIAS.

I think you forgot to add, and liberal views.

15 posted on 03/20/2002 4:32:49 PM PST by The Real Deal
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To: toddst
Zahn is just as irritating as Greta. Does anyone know how Greta is doing, by the way? I hope FOX is losing big time with her.
16 posted on 03/20/2002 4:32:59 PM PST by RamsNo1
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To: Timesink
Paraphrasing Ronnie Corbett of the British comedy duo, The Two Ronnies, "Lovely legs, pity about the brain!".
17 posted on 03/20/2002 4:36:13 PM PST by Don Carlos
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To: Timesink
It's going to take a hell of a lot more than Paula Zahn to save that sinking ship.
18 posted on 03/20/2002 4:44:46 PM PST by Savage Beast
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To: Timesink
Just proves, it ain't the meat, its the motion.

Paula Zahn's a nice looking lady, but c'mon, its CNN. Their left-wing bent is killing them, not their people.

19 posted on 03/20/2002 4:46:16 PM PST by meyer
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To: Timesink
Saw Zahn the other day hosting some Entertainment show about Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe. Looked like she was trying REAL hard to have a good time hosting such "newsworthy" fare.

I suspected at that moment that she was having a hard time at CNN.

20 posted on 03/20/2002 4:48:45 PM PST by what's up
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To: theDentist
Dancing for Dollars on the Desktop

Okay, now that might make me watch CNN again, once anyway. After all's said and done, I hafta admit that Paula is sexy.

21 posted on 03/20/2002 4:50:45 PM PST by Savage Beast
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To: Timesink
CNN should trade her.
22 posted on 03/20/2002 4:51:28 PM PST by Howlin
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To: Timesink
CNN's problem isn't just Paula, who is no great shakes to start with, but with their evening lineup. Not much to watch before going to bed at night - and then have the tv turned to CNN upon awakening the next morning. Fox is simply a stronger channel all around, buying Paula Zahn had no chance of changing that. The problem is deeper than a fancy skirt and an expensive set.
23 posted on 03/20/2002 4:52:35 PM PST by KellyAdmirer
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To: toddst
She annoyed me too, in a subtle way she would aways stick it to the conservatives. A SNAKE!
24 posted on 03/20/2002 5:08:40 PM PST by StickyWings
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To: stlrocket
E.D. is a q.t.!
25 posted on 03/20/2002 5:15:27 PM PST by gg188
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To: StickyWings
The last I heard Greta VanSuckup has about the same amount of people watching as Paula Zahn had. She is also beating Aaron Brown in that time slot, but then Aaron Brown is more liberal than Zahn. I have not seen any results yet for Alan Keyes as his show is still new but PMSNBC usually trails far behind Fox. Fox News has recently been bragging on all their shows that they are Number One in Cable News.
26 posted on 03/20/2002 5:19:18 PM PST by esmith
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To: Timesink
I don't watch it therefore I don't buy their advertisers products and I hope they all go bankrupt. I like to believe I had a small part in Kmart's bankruptcy since my multi-year-lifetime boycott from their Guns & Rosie crap.
27 posted on 03/20/2002 5:19:45 PM PST by PGalt
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To: Timesink
Is that so.

Fox and Friends snuck up on me but I've become a regular viewer. The hosts are so engaging that it's like having coffee with friends. And as far as F&F not being "in the same catgory", I find that all 3 of the F&F gang are as aware of the issues as anyone at CNN. They have impressive guests (Henry Kissinger, Bibi Netanyahu)and do great and informative interviews and they seem to have a lot of fun doing it.

PLUS...their obvious conservative bent is refreshing.

28 posted on 03/20/2002 5:30:35 PM PST by CaptRon
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To: CaptRon
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."

Somehow this got cut off of my earlier post.

29 posted on 03/20/2002 5:31:47 PM PST by CaptRon
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To: Timesink
CNN spokeswoman Christa Robinson called Zahn's show a "tremendous success," adding that "American Morning" isn't in the same category as "Fox & Friends."

Yea, they're about 30 % below the Fox and Friends category.

30 posted on 03/20/2002 5:39:14 PM PST by CharacterCounts
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To: CaptRon
Pffft. Some loss. I doubt Roger Ailes is crying over Paula going over to CNN. And if the opportunity were to come up, I seriously doubt that Fox would ever take Paula back. I know I wouldn't. I got no use for a two-timing whore and I'm sure neither does Ailes.
31 posted on 03/20/2002 5:45:23 PM PST by Green Knight
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To: Timesink
It's so easy to cure. Just get rid of Paula. I guess they don't get it. No one likes Paula. Just cut your losses and quit trying to jam one more down our throats. We know you make a lot of money from these cheap shows and as usual you forgot a couple of important fullproof ingredients. Like credibility and quality? Why don't your tv folks try it sometime. You might be surprised that the audience you think is so blind, deaf and dumb might even respond favorably.
32 posted on 03/20/2002 6:20:42 PM PST by freekitty
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To: sinkspur
I'd wear a jacket on TV. Respect for the audience?
33 posted on 03/20/2002 6:48:06 PM PST by onedoug
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To: freekitty
I agree. There is something so snotty about Paula...she always looks like she smells something nasty in the vicinity. Maybe it's her...;-D
34 posted on 03/20/2002 7:02:08 PM PST by Judith Anne
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To: Excuse_My_Bellicosity
Job security? If I make 2 million in one year screw worrying about job security! She's a twit but she probably doesn't have a financial problem.She may have an EGO problem though when she's poop canned.
35 posted on 03/20/2002 7:49:04 PM PST by oust the louse
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To: stlrocket
What happened to Rita Cosby? Guess she isn't a "fox."

Edye (sorry, that's how she spelled her name when she was an anchor in Pittsburgh with the last name Tarbox) is very relaxed now compared to her former network job. For a short time she did business news on the CBS morning show, around 10 years ago. She looked, and behaved like a mannequin, when they dressed her up in a suit and tried to turn her into a Paula Zahn.

The one person I really like on CNN is Aaron Brown. I thought Paula did pretty well with him right after September 11, when they first came to CNN. They sort of balanced each other off.

36 posted on 03/20/2002 9:44:49 PM PST by glorygirl
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To: Judith Anne
Good for you.
37 posted on 03/27/2002 9:42:09 PM PST by freekitty
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