“We're all regurgitating the same information. I want people to say, ‘You know what? That was interesting. I hadn't thought of that,’” Zucker said. “The goal for the next six months, is that we need more shows and less newscasts.”So when CNN incorrectly reported that the Supreme Court killed the individual mandate, was that done in the spirit of not just regurgitating the same information? Or when it claimed there had been an arrest in the Boston Marathon bombing two days before there was actually an arrest? Hey, there's an idea for a new show: An alternate-reality look at how the world would be today if things CNN reported had really been true. In that vein, maybe a show demonstrating the zany world in which there's "no clear winner" in a debate CNN's own poll found Obama won, 48 percent to 40 percent.
Zucker—“rhymes with hooker,” he likes to say—also expanded on comments he has made about breaking CNN out of a mindset created by historic rivalries with MSNBC and Fox. He wants the network to attract “viewers who are watching places like Discovery and History and Nat Geo and A&E.”Why not expand that list of networks to TLC and Bravo? I'm sure people would line up to watch Here Comes Wolfie Boo-Boo, and Anderson Cooper has been a guest on Watch What Happens Live often enough to be able to helm a boozy gossip show of his own. And while I know Zucker wants to move beyond competing with Fox News, maybe a reality show with George Zimmerman's racist buddy, already a frequent guest on CNN and HLN, would pull in some regular Fox viewers in addition to reality television fans. Although it's possibly not a good idea to mix a racist defender of killing black teens and domestic violence with A&E's redneck hunting show formula.
The move toward non-news shows puts the decision to have host Chris Cuomo interview his big brother, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in context, meanwhile. As in, maybe Zucker is laying the groundwork for some sort of family drama program? Similarly, the decision not to have ethics rules for Crossfire hosts lays the groundwork for a juicy look at all the ethically dubious things Newt Gingrich is almost certainly getting up to.
Here's a thought: Maybe if you're looking to bring in a new and different audience, it would help if your network wasn't the industry leader in white men as guests.