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CNN Hires Media Veteran to Revamp 'Zahn' (Paula's evening show ALREADY a disaster! BWA-HA!)
The Hollywood Reporter ^ | May 28, 2003 | Andrew Grossman

Posted on 05/28/2003 10:29:11 AM PDT by Timesink

CNN Hires Media Veteran to Revamp 'Zahn'

Wed May 28, 2003 03:49 AM ET

By Andrew Grossman

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - CNN has named a widely traveled media veteran to relaunch and produce Paula Zahn's evening news show, the network said.

James Miller -- a news and TV producer, screenwriter, political veteran and co-author of a best seller about "Saturday Night Live" -- will spend the next month or so developing a format for "American Evening With Paula Zahn," the 7-9 p.m. show that has not yet launched, though Zahn has been in the time slot since March 31. In a rush to move Zahn into her new spot and push Connie Chung and "Crossfire" out during the war, CNN named the show "Live From the Headlines."

Miller, who most recently was a consultant for ABC News' "Good Morning America," said he expects the show will be relaunched and retitled next month or in July after traveling to CNN bureaus and "drilling down on what the show is."

In his role as senior executive producer, Miller said he recognizes and relishes the challenge of trying to exploit CNN's highly visible but diminished brand.

"For me, it was the brand of CNN," he said. "The values I as a journalist that I wanted to embrace are part and parcel of what this organization has been."

And just how will Miller accomplish what CNN and MSNBC have been trying to do for the past few years in its competition with Fox News Channel? Noting that Monday was his first day on the job, Miller declined to get into specifics, but said: "It wants to be a news program that both keeps people up to date in terms of any breaking news and (is) also challenging them and being provocative at the same time."

Miller also will have to persuade viewers to take a look at Zahn's show. The interim program has averaged 593,000 viewers this month, a 32% decline from what Chung and "Crossfire" delivered in February, the steepest drop-off of the three major cable news networks, though CNN is comfortably ahead of MSNBC. (Fox is off 8%, and MSNBC is off 23%). Compared with a year ago, CNN is in better shape, off only 1% in May, while MSNBC has dipped 13% with its new lineup of "Hardball With Chris Matthews," and "Countdown With Keith Olbermann."

But Zahn did deliver improved numbers year-to-year in her morning show, and CNN will likely give her a decent amount of time under the new format to find those viewers. Her backers say it's unfair to judge Zahn after the network rushed her onto the air in place of Chung without a well-formed plan in place.

Before "Good Morning America," Miller spent nine months at USA Network as executive vp original programming. His other news experience came as a producer for CBS News from 1985-88.

Miller co-wrote with Tom Shales a 2002 best seller about the history of NBC's "Saturday Night Live," and produced several TV series, including "D.C." for Dick Wolf, and "Brimstone." He wrote screenplays for various studios, was a vp at Norman Lear's Act III Entertainment and consulted for Grant Tinker and Brandon Tartikoff.

While at CBS, Miller wrote a book about his experiences as an assistant to Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker. And he started his career as a reporter covering the television industry for the Washington Post.

With his broad background in entertainment, what makes Miller qualified to lead a news show?

"I was very much involved in politics after CBS News," he said. "I was always in touch with people with the news divisions and from time to time would be consulting with them on projects. In many ways I don't feel I've ever left."

Shales agreed. "He was very popular at 'GMA' when he was there," he said. "They seemed to flood his computer with mournful e-mails when he left. ... He has a wide range of interests; that will probably help him a lot in this job."

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: americanevening; cablenewsnetwork; cnn; paulazahn
Anyone want to place a bet on how long it will take THIS to fail?
1 posted on 05/28/2003 10:29:12 AM PDT by Timesink
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To: martin_fierro; reformed_democrat; Loyalist; =Intervention=; PianoMan; GOPJ; Miss Marple; Tamsey; ...

Special CNN Schadenfreude Ping!


Schadenfreude

This is the New York Times Schadenfreude Ping List. Freepmail me to be added or dropped.


2 posted on 05/28/2003 10:37:04 AM PDT by Timesink
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To: Timesink
And just how will Miller accomplish what CNN and MSNBC have been trying to do for the past few years in its competition with Fox News Channel? Noting that Monday was his first day on the job, Miller declined to get into specifics, but said: "It wants to be a news program that both keeps people up to date in terms of any breaking news and (is) also challenging them and being provocative at the same time."

In other words, it wants the audience to fall hook, line, and sinker for the hate-Bush rhetoric.

Funny how they just can't get it, in terms of why Fox is winning.

3 posted on 05/28/2003 10:40:03 AM PDT by Paul Atreides
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To: Timesink
...a 32% decline from what Chung and "Crossfire" delivered in February, the steepest drop-off of the three major cable news networks, though CNN is comfortably ahead of MSNBC. (Fox is off 8%, and MSNBC is off 23%). Compared with a year ago, CNN is in better shape, off only 1% in May, while MSNBC has dipped 13%

Wow! Somebody's working real hard to spin this into a happy face, arent they!?

Apply all the makeup you want, but liberal talking heads have a very finite audience which has already peaked, IMO.

4 posted on 05/28/2003 10:42:45 AM PDT by Nonstatist
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To: Timesink
I kind of miss Paula in the morning. She was a nice change of pace when Fox and Friends got out of hand. Now I'm switching to GH on SoapNet (egad - did I actually admit that?)
5 posted on 05/28/2003 10:46:48 AM PDT by Laura Earl (It's the ASPARTAME!!!!)
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To: Timesink
The best makeover they could give Paula is to convert her to conservatism. Other than that, I see no hope. She used to look good when she was on CBS. I remember her posing in a sexy outfit next to a bicycle. Anyone have that picture?
6 posted on 05/28/2003 10:51:57 AM PDT by TommyDale
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To: Timesink
CNN has named a widely traveled media veteran

Translation: The guy can't keep a job.

7 posted on 05/28/2003 10:54:36 AM PDT by savedbygrace
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To: Timesink
Sound effects - from "zip" to "flush"
8 posted on 05/28/2003 10:57:07 AM PDT by LouD
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To: Timesink
does Paula wear those invisible braces? I never noticed her lisp on Fox
9 posted on 05/28/2003 10:58:46 AM PDT by BurbankKarl
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To: Timesink
"American Evening With Paula Zahn,"

I can't believe that CNN would give the show that name

10 posted on 05/28/2003 11:02:45 AM PDT by Mo1 (I'm a monthly Donor .. You can be one too!)
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To: Timesink
Poor, poor Paula... abandoned by meanie conservatives that are tired of listening to CNN push the DNC agenda.
11 posted on 05/28/2003 11:05:31 AM PDT by Tamzee (A half-truth is a whole lie .......Yiddish Proverb)
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To: Mo1
Every nite Paula needs a "Sharon Stone mini-skirt, no panties" moment to even hope to compete with Fox.
12 posted on 05/28/2003 11:08:57 AM PDT by Stopislamnow
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To: Timesink
"It wants to be a news program that both keeps people up to date in terms of any breaking news and (is) also challenging them and being provocative at the same time."

But will it be a little bit (...ZIIIP!...) sexy?

13 posted on 05/28/2003 11:17:44 AM PDT by gridlock
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To: Mo1
"...It's evening in America..."
14 posted on 05/28/2003 11:18:52 AM PDT by gridlock (Not quite Reagan, is it?)
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To: TommyDale
She used to look good when she was on CBS. I remember her posing in a sexy outfit next to a bicycle. Anyone have that picture?




15 posted on 05/28/2003 11:43:12 AM PDT by razorbak
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To: razorbak
LOL! Good one! Not the one I was thinking of, but....
16 posted on 05/28/2003 12:18:39 PM PDT by TommyDale
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Comment #17 Removed by Moderator

To: Timesink
Paula Zahn has less ethics and less smarts than the average street whore.

So9

18 posted on 05/28/2003 1:21:53 PM PDT by Servant of the Nine (A Goldwater Republican)
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To: Timesink
Maybe if Ms. Zahn did the show naked she might get a bigger viewing. Naw. She is still uninteresting and a liberal.
19 posted on 05/28/2003 1:31:41 PM PDT by Joe Boucher
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To: True_Banter
In short, CNN messed up big time moving Crossfire back.

I have to disagree. CNN's ratings with Zahn may be way down from what they were with Crossfire, but CNN's ratings with the "new, improved Crossfire" were themselves way down from what the old Crossfire was getting before they added on The Forehead, Serpenthead and the studio audience. If you run an FR search on "Crossfire" going back a year or so, you should be able to find a thread or two I posted on it at the time.

20 posted on 05/28/2003 1:48:20 PM PDT by Timesink
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To: Stopislamnow
I just might have to watch her show then.
21 posted on 05/28/2003 2:32:00 PM PDT by Capt_Hank
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To: Servant of the Nine
Bring back Paula as a Natural Brunette.
22 posted on 05/28/2003 3:21:20 PM PDT by Wolverine
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To: Timesink
bttt
23 posted on 05/29/2003 3:35:11 AM PDT by lainde
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