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Paula Zahn's prime-time show struggles (Awwwww...Such a Shame...NOT! Alert)
Atlanta Journal-Constitution ^ | August 16, 2003 | Caroline Wilbert

Posted on 08/16/2003 11:35:53 AM PDT by buzzyboop

Five months after CNN canceled Connie Chung's 8 p.m. show, the network still is fiddling with the replacement -- and losing viewership.

Chung's show often was criticized for its tabloid feel, and last winter newly named CNN President Jim Walton shelved it in favor of a hard-news show featuring one of the network's best-known anchors, Paula Zahn.

Zahn has anchored the 8 p.m. hour most of the time since, although CNN officially will launch and rebadge the program Sept. 8, spokeswoman Christa Robinson said.

Initial ratings suggest more than a catchy name may be needed. Viewers seem to have preferred Chung's interviews with the likes of supermodel Niki Taylor to Zahn's more serious approach.

Viewership was down 21 percent in July and the first week of August, compared with the same period last year. Zahn drew an average of 599,000 viewers during that time, compared with Chung's 758,000.

CNN's ratings also are down at 7 p.m., when CNN replaced boisterous debate show "Crossfire" with a news hour hosted by Anderson Cooper, another attempt to sharpen the network's hard-news image.

In July and the first week of August, Cooper drew 467,000 viewers, vs. Crossfire's 586,000 during the same period last year.

Andrew Tyndall, who compiles The Tyndall Report about television news, said Chung had the advantage last summer of launching with much fanfare, while Zahn's show has not been heavily promoted yet.

"They pulled out all the promotional stops for Chung," Tyndall said.

Robinson said the network is satisfied with the ratings and expects them to grow over time.

CNN has been searching for the right prime-time formula for some time. It's a tough slot because many viewers have already seen straight news coverage, and CNN Headline News provides quick updates for those who haven't. The other strategy would be to veer toward a talk-show format, but rival Fox News appears to own that turf.

Fox powerhouse Bill O'Reilly is easily winning the 8 p.m. cable news contest, pulling in more than 2 million viewers with his talk-show format. That was up 10 percent in July and early August vs. the same period in 2002.

Zahn has been on vacation most of this week, though she returned Thursday night to help anchor the news during the blackout in the Northeast. On her regular show, she has focused in recent weeks on news of the day, as well as interviews and news packages.

Zahn, hired away from Fox News a couple of years ago, used to be CNN's morning anchor.

When the prime-time show was first announced, CNN said it would be called "American Evening With Paula Zahn" and would last two hours, from 7-9 p.m. Zahn took a hiatus from the air after the war in Iraq.

When she returned in June, the network shaved the show to one hour. In July, producer Jim Miller said the show would not be called "American Evening" after all. Miller also promised an ensemble cast, though the contributors have not been named yet.

Tyndall said viewers will forgive CNN for changing the show around this summer, as long as the format is set early next month.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: cablenewsnetwork; chickennoodlenews; cnn; conniechung; fnc; fox; foxnews; foxnewschannel; jimwalton; paulazahn
...Zahn's show has not been heavily promoted yet. Excuses excuses!

...the network is satisfied with the ratings and expects them to grow over time. Translation = it'll be gone in a month.

1 posted on 08/16/2003 11:35:53 AM PDT by buzzyboop
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Comment #2 Removed by Moderator

To: buzzyboop
This is the same Paula Cohen (yes) who is being sued for payment by the contractors/landscapers who worked on her CT home.
3 posted on 08/16/2003 11:49:45 AM PDT by NativeNewYorker (Freepin' Jew Boy)
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To: DavidBrown
You got that right!

Hey Paula Bill O' is looking for a new flunkie!
4 posted on 08/16/2003 11:53:25 AM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: buzzyboop
Maybe they needed to focus their promos more on how "sexy" she is.
5 posted on 08/16/2003 11:56:16 AM PDT by aynrandfreak
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To: aynrandfreak
Maybe they needed to focus their promos more on how "sexy" she is.

I think her only hope is to appear on the air wearing a black teddy with red fishnets.

6 posted on 08/16/2003 12:00:01 PM PDT by SkyPilot
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To: buzzyboop
Here's an old one;

"David Blaine jumped off a building onto a huge pile of cardboard boxes yesterday. However tragedy struck the event. Blaine was OK after the stunt but living in one of the boxes below, was Paula Zhan. She was killed"
7 posted on 08/16/2003 12:05:52 PM PDT by Hillarys Gate Cult ("Read Hillary's hips. I never had sex with that woman.")
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To: Hillarys Gate Cult
That last one was a "Mancow" routine from "Fox and Friends" done a few weeks after Zhan left FNC.
8 posted on 08/16/2003 12:07:25 PM PDT by Hillarys Gate Cult ("Read Hillary's hips. I never had sex with that woman.")
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To: buzzyboop
Zahn, hired away from Fox News a couple of years ago, used to be CNN's morning anchor.


Wasn't Zahn fired because she was "looking"? That's what I thought. Maybe she should have stayed where she was. Sometimes these people are so full of themselves they get too big for their boots and think they are just wonderful. Her show will be gone, yes. And soon.
9 posted on 08/16/2003 12:43:17 PM PDT by cubreporter
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To: buzzyboop
Also, while I didn't care much for her, I liked her simple, pretty, haircut. Very natural looking and nice. Now she has a new cut that does nothing for her. The cut she had was her and it was very, very becoming and youthful. This cut makes her look matronly and it is just not her. I hope she changes it back. I bet she will and she SHOULD.
10 posted on 08/16/2003 12:46:22 PM PDT by cubreporter
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To: cubreporter
They certainly are correct on the lack of media buildup about her show. . . I had no idea she was even on. Now I'll have to check out the hairdo. I don't dislike her, but CNN doesn't seem to have anyone but boring nerds. I'm either watching Fox News, or on the Web. The Networks lost me years ago, and beyond 9PM, Cable is just too loud.
I could watch Brit Hume's show 24/7. O'Reilly at least lets his viewers know what's on so they can tune out if they're not interested. I'm outta there whenever the
murder stories come on. AM NOT INTERESTED!
11 posted on 08/16/2003 1:33:54 PM PDT by SouthCarolinaKit
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To: aynrandfreak
Remeber the "zipper sound" when CNN was promoting her initially? Makes you wonder if Klinoooon was behind that!
12 posted on 08/16/2003 1:45:57 PM PDT by mrtysmm
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To: SouthCarolinaKit
Is it just me or does anyone else hold the view that this woman been the most over-hyped woman to ever hit the airwaves? Her morning show with Harry Smith didn't do too well at CBS, then FOXNEWS were she bombed, then CNN's morning show, and now CNN's evening show, neither of which are ratings winners either. Nonetheless, CNN continues to promote this babe as being some sort of journalistic heavyweight. Reinforces my view that this woman has some "connections" somewhere out there in liberal medialand.
13 posted on 08/16/2003 1:50:35 PM PDT by Cookie123
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To: mrtysmm
I "remeber": it was a source of much hilarity at FNC. Can you imagine a promo for Brit Hume featuring a zipper...although I think FOX started it all with pictures of Wendall Goler on his Hawg and a shirtless Juan Williams...(neither of whom are my type...but that Bill Sammon...RRRROOOWW)
14 posted on 08/16/2003 2:23:43 PM PDT by Dutchgirl (Another Friendly Floridian.)
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To: martin_fierro; reformed_democrat; Loyalist; =Intervention=; PianoMan; GOPJ; Miss Marple; Tamsey; ...

Schadenfreude

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


15 posted on 08/16/2003 2:35:44 PM PDT by Timesink
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To: buzzyboop; Timesink
Zahn has been on vacation most of this week, though she returned Thursday night to help anchor the news during the blackout in the Northeast

Yes, saw that... funny as he**. I turned over to CNN to see how quickly they would blame Bush for the blackout. No make-up, hair looked hideous; she looked like she just got done cleaning out her garage ;-) I used to think she was a pretty, opportunistic, brainless liberal... now I just think she is an opportunistic brainless liberal.

16 posted on 08/16/2003 2:52:28 PM PDT by Tamzee (I was a vegetarian until I started leaning toward the sunlight...... Rita Rudner)
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To: Tamsey
No make-up, hair looked hideous; she looked like she just got done cleaning out her garage ;-)

I noticed that too. She looked absolutely like a frumpy middle-aged housewife. It was hilarious.

I didn't actually bother to listen to anything she said.

17 posted on 08/16/2003 2:53:54 PM PDT by Timesink
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To: DavidBrown
This is very sweet. Sweet cosmic justice. Bet Paula wishes she was still on at 10pm on Fox.

But you can be damn sure Fox is glad she's gone. The moment they dumped her, ratings in that slot went up, even before they signed on Greta.

18 posted on 08/16/2003 2:55:14 PM PDT by Timesink
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To: buzzyboop
Is this the same Paula who said, immediately after the planes flew into the Towers, there will be serious political implications regarding this.

Paula: Hoping is one thing; missing the biggest story in years is another.
19 posted on 08/16/2003 3:14:03 PM PDT by Loyal Buckeye
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To: Tamsey
No make-up, hair looked hideous; she looked like she just got done cleaning out her garage ;-)

I e-mailed my kid in NJ (who wasn't part of the blackout) and said Paula's hair had TUFTS. My daughter was kind enough to point out that Paula couldn't take a shower--and could only bathe if she took a dunk in the East River--and my kid figured the hair & make-up people were hoofing it over the Brooklyn Bridge or waiting for hours at the ferry terminal or were curling up for a night of sleep in front of the post office (or someplace). And yes, my kid noticed the TUFTS and chuckled.

Ashleigh Banfield did a better job on 9/11, even with a few pounds of ash in her hair. Of course, what happened after that to Ashleigh is all too evident--some sort of degenerative brain softening, I presume.

20 posted on 08/16/2003 3:24:17 PM PDT by Catspaw
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To: Dutchgirl
Can you imagine a promo for Brit Hume featuring a zipper...

OMG - I'm breaking out in hot flashes here ;-) I love Brit: he's definitely a hunk in a mature way, but somehow he doesn't strike me as beefcake.

21 posted on 08/16/2003 3:27:45 PM PDT by Inspectorette
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To: Inspectorette
Initial ratings suggest more than a catchy name may be needed.

I think I have figured out the problem at CNN. Their catchy name department got promoted to management.

Gum

22 posted on 08/16/2003 3:43:00 PM PDT by ChewedGum ( http://king-of-fools.blogspot.com)
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To: Timesink
Thanks for the good news ping.

The NY Slimes and ABCNNBCBS continue to have problems with less readers and viewers. Rat Slime bags like PZ become expensive pieces of fluff.

One day the bean counters will say "Zahn, you have been Zeroed. You are out of here!"
23 posted on 08/16/2003 3:43:28 PM PDT by Grampa Dave (Gray Davis = Bill Clinton without the conscience + Al Gore without the charm = Total Recall Time!)
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To: Catspaw
Ahhhh, good way to explain it.... TUFTS!

I couldn't think of a good way to describe the locks just sticking out all over her head :-) I still think she could have pulled herself together a bit better, though. I used to do a great deal of traveling and public speaking... and ALWAYS had a butane curling iron, hairspray, toothbrush and basic make-up with me in case of flight glitches, lost luggage, or sudden weather. I would have assumed that basic styling tools, umbrellas, flashlights, etc would be part of the equipment that a CNN camera crew would either carry around or keep tucked away at the office so it would all be available.

Anyways, Paula just gave me a chuckle to make up a teeny bit for Hillary's vile accusations about Bush :-(
24 posted on 08/16/2003 3:57:25 PM PDT by Tamzee (I was a vegetarian until I started leaning toward the sunlight...... Rita Rudner)
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To: Tamsey
I still think she could have pulled herself together a bit better, though. I used to do a great deal of traveling and public speaking... and ALWAYS had a butane curling iron, hairspray, toothbrush and basic make-up with me in case of flight glitches, lost luggage, or sudden weather.

My great aunt, a globetrotter into her 90's, also added a change of clothes (knit material & rolled up tight) and undies, along with a wet wash cloth in a plastic bag--and later, wet wipes. I like to carry Shout wipes to get stuff off my clothes, because I *know* I'm going to spill something on myself.

I can understand that she had to come into the city & that, in & of itself was an ordeal, and it is easier for a guy to look good, but sheesh--a brush or comb & some heavy duty hair spray would've helped.

25 posted on 08/16/2003 4:03:44 PM PDT by Catspaw
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To: SouthCarolinaKit
Agree with everything you said. Network is history as far as this household is concerned. No murder shows either. Every show has a different title but it's nothing but the same ole stuff on all of them...they just move from one half hour or hour to the next with different hosts but the same stories. I think the murder stories are terrible. Seems like its a circus. Sad to think a young pregant woman and her unborn child were murdered and then placed in the water to simply disintigrate. Makes me sick to my stomach. We're talking about 2 human beings. A mother and her unborn baby who were brutally murdered. Somebody's going to pay big time for that one of these days. I mean from the man upstairs because we sure aren't getting anwhere with it on this earth. Imagine. Women writing notes to Scott P. It's disgusting and stuff of the gutter.

No, I don't dislike Paula either. Just wish she would have stayed with FOX. Gosh, I don't think she gave them much of a fair shot. Anyway, she kinda closed her doors. She could have been good on FOX. Yes, check out the new hairdo. It's parted in the middle and the two sides on top are sorta waved and HIGHER up. It's just not the soft, casual, youthful, smooth look that so becomes her.
26 posted on 08/16/2003 4:29:32 PM PDT by cubreporter
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To: buzzyboop
Viewers have left CNN for one reason, and one reason only. CNN LIES

Semper Fi

27 posted on 08/16/2003 5:43:33 PM PDT by river rat (War works......It brings Peace... Give war a chance to destroy Jihadists...)
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To: buzzyboop
Zahn was OK, but certainly not a heavyweight.

But she viewed herself as one, and that came across in her persona. Hoity-toity.

Being a meat & potatoes kind of guy, I always pulled out of her Fox program and went surfing. I've never watched her CNN show.

28 posted on 08/16/2003 8:42:31 PM PDT by xzins (In the Beginning was the Word)
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To: Timesink
Love it!
29 posted on 08/16/2003 9:10:30 PM PDT by lainde
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To: Hillarys Gate Cult
I understand that Martin Sheen drove the ambulance directly to the morgue as an autopsy had already been performed earlier in the day at CNN.

She is really rather boring. In fact she and the AM news crew seem to be flat lining compared to the moods at MSNBC and FOX.

30 posted on 08/17/2003 6:44:31 AM PDT by Helms (The Difference between Chapel Hill , Ithaca and Berkely is only Barometric)
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To: StarFan; Dutchy; Gracey; Alamo-Girl; RottiBiz; bamabaseballmom; FoxGirl; Mr. Bob; xflisa; lainde; ..
FoxFan ping!

Please FReepmail me if you want on or off my FoxFan list. *Warning: This can be a high-volume ping list at times.

31 posted on 08/18/2003 11:09:29 AM PDT by nutmeg (Is the DemocRATic party extinct yet?)
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To: Tamsey
No make-up, hair looked hideous; she looked like she just got done cleaning out her garage

There's something about the CNN culture that requires militant unattractiveness as a prerequisite for credibility.

32 posted on 08/18/2003 11:14:54 AM PDT by HIDEK6
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To: nutmeg
Thank you for the heads up!
33 posted on 08/18/2003 11:38:04 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl
Hi everyone, I'm new to Free Republic but I just wanted to chime in on this Zahn and CNN thing. Zahn is a terrible reporter, the only reason she has the job is because she is good looking and CNN is stupid enough to think that her looks would translate into viewers. She has no personality either.

I gave up on CNN a long time ago and am now a devoted Fox fan. Their coverage on everything is so much more complete.
34 posted on 08/21/2003 9:20:52 AM PDT by outfield
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To: outfield; nutmeg
Welcome to Free Republic, outfield!!!

You'll find a lot of people here who agree with you on FoxNews. In fact, nutmeg has a "ping list" to let us know whenever a FoxNews story is on the forum. You might want her to add you to the list.

35 posted on 08/21/2003 9:27:43 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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