what is it? Chris Cuomo, former CNN primetime host, is reprising his career as host of another primetime show with Chris Cuomo. When a stranger arrives in San Francisco, he talks about homelessness. This is… Bill O'Reilly is a former Fox News host.
"They do a lot of damage," O'Reilly said of the city's homeless. "You are destroying the city, don't you understand?"
Cuomo says he certainly understands the situation, and here we go. The two men struggled and discussed the matter for several minutes before agreeing that the people on the street needed help. Cuomo took a few calls and allowed O'Reilly to pocket the newspaper and his latest book.
Self talk — the ghosts of cable news — takes place every Wednesday during Cuomo's weekly talk show. But "Cuomo" doesn't air on CNN, MSNBC or Fox News like his new show. It's a flagship show for NewsNation, the new network's return to the less divisive era of cable news, featuring some old faces from the outlets it seeks to compete with.
At a time when the cable news industry is struggling to retain viewers, this may be a problematic business plan. NewsNation launched in 2020, and while the CNN veteran, who joined the network in October, has gotten a bit of a boost, it's still reaping the brunt of the mistakes. It will average 63,000 viewers per night in 2022, ranking 107th among national networks. By comparison, even CNN, which has controversial ratings and lags behind Fox News and MSNBC, regularly draws more than 10 times the number of nightly viewers.
Now, even news isn't NewsNation's main draw. Last year's top-rated daytime rerun was "Blue Bloods," the Tom Selleck crime drama, part of NewsNation's WGN America.
Still, owner Nexstar Media Group — the Dallas-area company that owns the CW broadcast network and The Hill newspaper — says it wants to create the next news brand by attracting viewers who say they're not traumatized. Partisanship
Nexstar ranks NewsNation as a medium and medium source for news and discussion, which CNN has been and is trying to be again. The target audience is the "middle majority," says Dan Abrams, a former anchor and former MSNBC executive who now hosts NewsNation's 9 p.m.
NewsNation Chief News Officer Michael Korn said, "CNN and Fox have become home to passionate audiences who believe in the same things as the networks' anchors and producers. Their playbook is 'We'll interview five people who agree with us.'…We think there's a large audience that other channels aren't serving."
The new CNN is more personal and emotional. Can it still be "the most trusted name in news"?
It is not always clear what "neutrality" means in practice at NewsNation. True, his nightly newscasts don't have debaters lined up to make political points. Popular reporting seems hard-hitting and focused, but it focuses on contemporary true crime stories, such as the murders of four students at the University of Idaho and the drama surrounding a missing wife and mother in Massachusetts.
But it is not difficult to find opinions and points of view online. NewsN anchor Leland Werth recently discussed Rep. George Santos' many lies and asked his guest: Do they have a track record of defeating Republicans and this amazing track record? »
Knowing the veteran's reputation is also part of the strategy. As a first-year expansion franchise, NewsNation's night block, which runs weekdays from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, is filled with people who defect from other teams.
Wittert, a former Fox News weekend anchor, will maintain the 7 p.m. slot, followed by Cuomo, followed by Abrams (who still serves as ABC News' senior legal analyst). Ashley Banfield, who previously hosted shows on MSNBC and CNN, will follow at 22:00. The political editor is Chris Stewart, formerly of Fox News.
Coming soon: Elizabeth Vargas, former host of ABC's World News and 20/20, is set to host a new weekday news show in New York. (NewsNation is headquartered in Chicago.)
Corn himself is an alumnus of ABC News. In the year He was a senior executive at "Good Morning America" when he joined NewsNation in early 2021.
Just like Cuomo, who was fired from CNN last year for trying to cover up the governor's sexual harassment scandal, Korn comes with baggage. The former "GMA" producer left ABC in 2015 before allegations that she and another employee were assaulted. The allegations have been denied by Korn and Disney. A judge dismissed the lawsuit last year, citing statute of limitations, but not before the lawsuit caused an uproar at ABC News.
NewsNation declined to comment. But people at the network point out that Coren has had no problem hiring experienced staff: More than 20 former ABC reporters, including Cuomo, Abrams and Vargas, now work for him.
Of course, whether this will appeal to viewers is another question, especially since the news and cable model itself seems to be breaking down as viewers ditch the cord and switch to streaming services. Several other startups that tried to enter the market in recent years, including Fusion TV, Al Jazeera America and Black News Channel, never took off and were shut down or bought by other companies. CNN recently retired most of its original news programs on HLN spin-offs, replacing most of them with true crime programs. Many cable media outlets in the region have also been disrupted in recent years.
There seems to be a basic question: Does "political neutrality" attract news audiences, no matter how it is interpreted? Although people say they are driven by political tribalism, what they see is very different. For years, cable news outlets have built loyal audiences by asking for ideological loyalty, not offering one-size-fits-all value.
"It's hard to imagine the old model being successful at any network," says the former CNN anchor, who now studies journalism at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. "People don't watch the news like they used to. I don't see anything special about News Nation.
He added, "I applaud NewsNation for trying. It's challenging [and] teaching what journalism is today and why it's important. I'm incredibly disappointed."
While NewsNation has no plans to challenge the Big Three for viewers any time soon, the cable news market remains a large and profitable place, as many of its viewers have left. Creating a small footprint can also work.
According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, research firms Fox, CNN and MSNBC generated nearly $5.7 billion in advertising revenue and rights for cable and satellite operators last year. That number was a modest 3% increase from 2021, but it shows that News Nation is looking to join a richer club — one that's less crowded than the entertainment space it dominated when WGN decided to restructure.
Despite the challenges, NewsNation began with clear advantages. One of them is the resources of the parent company; Based in Irving, Texas, Nexstar is the largest owner of local television stations in the country, with nearly 200 networks including locations in New York, Los Angeles and Washington. The stations employ more than 5,000 local reporters to cover the national news that NewsNation can cover.
That power was evident, for example, when NewsNation was ordered to ground domestic flights by the FAA in January due to technical problems. His report, which spanned more than 12 minutes of the one-hour nightly newscast, included testimony from NexStar reporters in Los Angeles, New Orleans, Miami and other cities.
NewsNation saw dramatic increases in viewership as NewsNation aired candidate debates produced by Nexstar stations in Pennsylvania, Texas and Georgia.
"It's safe to say what cable news is doing," Abrams said in an interview. "The hardliners on the left and the right don't like my offer. But there is a gap in the market and we're trying to fill it… We want to be the antidote to the scam machine."