This isn’t CNN’s prime time

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Campbell Brown felt a mounting sense of futility as average viewership for her prime-time CNN show sank to around 500,000 this year.

So several months ago, Brown took an unusual step and asked CNN to be released from her contract. She announced her decision this month, releasing a strikingly candid statement saying CNN needed to try something else at 8 p.m. Eastern time.

“I had real clarity about it,” Brown, who plans to remain on air until the network picks her successor, added last week. “I feel it was not only the right thing for me but the right thing for CNN.”

But the right move for CNN remains an open question. The pressure is on the network to come up with a successful program in a time slot that has been a thorny problem for the last decade. While Fox News and MSNBC showcase their top talent at 8 p.m., CNN has cycled through three hosts since Greta Van Susteren left for Fox News in 2002. She was followed by Connie Chung, whose show was canceled after less than a year by new management who viewed it as too tabloid, and then Paula Zahn, whose low-performing newscast was dumped in 2007 when Brown was lured from NBC News.

Full story: This isn’t CNN’s prime time – latimes.com