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CNN gives up on news; starts reality shows?

Published time: August 13, 2012 16:24
Edited time: August 13, 2012 20:47
Ethan Miller / Getty Images / AFP

Ethan Miller / Getty Images / AFP

Anderson Cooper’s bedroom isn’t quite equipped with 24-hour infrared surveillance cameras just yet but that might not be too far away: CNN is seeking ideas for reality television programing amid their worst ratings in 20 years.

Following ongoing reports revealing a ratings disaster at CNN, the network is now negotiating plans for bringing onboard reality TV programing, the New York Post reports. According to the newspaper, CNN is now scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of television content, hoping to bring on board as many as five new reality shows to air on the weekends beginning early next year.

The rumors come amid the network’s worst ratings in 20 years, which is believed to be the catalyst, at least in part, of CNN President Jim Walton’s recent admittance that he will walk away from the network after three decades at the end of 2012.

Upon announcing his planned departure last month, Mr. Walton wrote to his colleagues at the network, “CNN needs new thinking. That starts with a new leader who brings a different perspective, different experiences and a new plan, one who will build on our great foundation and will commit to seeing it through.” Only weeks later, though, it looks as though CNN is already adjusting their format in order to find an audience anywhere they can.

The Post reports that CNN’s higher-ups are searching for ideas from producers responsible for programming at Bravo, Discovery and History, and will be hoping to launch a new late-night talk show panel that will enter its 11 p.m. timeslot.

An outside producer speaking anonymously to the Post says that the change is on par with “that moment when MTV decided to stop playing music videos, because it wasn’t working more.” If true, the programming changes rumored to be on the way to CNN could essentially mean the end of the network’s news gamut.

It’s “Kind of difficult to make the argument you're a news network when you want to do this,” New York Magazine contributing editor Gabriel Sherman writes in a tweet send to her Twitter followers early Monday.

Earlier this month, television ratings indicated that CNN’s viewership for July 2012 was about one-fifth of what the network brought in one year earlier.

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