REVEALED: Secret CNN memo outlining new ratings strategy
The Daily Caller has exclusively obtained a confidential memo that CNN President Jeff Zucker circulated Monday. The memo is reprinted here for the first time, in its entirety, and without comment:
To: CNN executives, reporters and other staff
From: Jeff Zucker, president, CNN Worldwide
Date: March 23, 2014
Subject: Programming changes
Since taking the helm of CNN some 14 months ago, I’ve learned a lot about the cable news business, often through failure. Today, I would like to announce some major changes to our programming line-up that I think will return CNN to the top of the ratings mountain:
1.) Wolf Blitzer’s out. Since joining the network in 1990, Wolf’s served CNN with great distinction — yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah. The short of it we can’t justify his salary given his ratings. Effective immediately, “The Situation Room w/ Wolf Blitzer” will be replaced by “The Situation Room w/ Wolf.” Now, if you read the last sentence and for a second thought we might be replacing Wolf Blitzer with an actual wolf, well, give yourself a pat on the back because that’s exactly what we’re doing. Over the last several months we focus-grouped a show hosted by a real, honest-to-God wolf and the response has been just through the roof. I’ve never seen anything like it in my nearly 30 years in the TV business. The American people have spoken and we’re going to listen. (As an added bonus, we will be able to reuse our promotional material for “The Situation Room” by just whiting-out “Blitzer.”)
2.) We are revamping our morning show “New Day,” which has grossly underperformed. Some of this is my fault. While I believe my initial instincts for the show remain correct, I screwed up the execution. Yes, we should build the show around a scion of a great American political family, but no, Chris Cuomo is not the right scion. Starting Monday, President Obama’a illegal immigrant uncle will be our new morning star. Over the last several months, I have had the pleasure of meeting with Uncle Omar dozens of times and he’s frankly blown me away. I don’t believe Uncle Omar was sober in a single meeting he had with our executives, but the fact of the matter is he’s changed my life in ways I never thought possible. I’m a better man – I’m a better father — for having met him. But forget me, he literally cured one of our vice presidents of his gout. I kid you not. I’m confident America will fall in love with Uncle Omar and his politically incorrect, scientifically questionable homespun wisdom, slurs and all. We trust he will revive America in a way his nephew has failed to.
3.) Rick Sanchez is back. He will host a 1:00 p.m. show called “Tasing Rick Sanchez.” The title explains itself. Considering our past experience with Mr. Sanchez, we made it very clear to him that under no circumstances would he be covering actual news. We are confident that this show will be far more appealing to young Americans than its competition, such as the insufferable MSNBC show starring Frank Sinatra’s kid in the same time slot.
4.) Alex Jones will be joining CNN next week as our new news director and chief correspondent. I think I speak for all our executives when I say we were generally impressed with his performance on Piers Morgan last year. We immediately knew he would be perfect at CNN.
5.) Finally, we are getting rid of our entire primetime line-up. Burnett, Cooper and of course Morgan — all gone. That block will be replaced by a 4-hour show hosted by Jones. Over the last two weeks, CNN has seen a major ratings boost following the missing Malaysian Airlines flight. While the situation is obviously tragic, we must not let the lessons we learned go to waste. We will use the money we save from axing our entire prime time talent to orchestrate a series of plane hijackings throughout the year. My expectation is CNN will lead the way in covering these manufactured crises. And I think we can all agree that there is no one better to lead the coverage of these missing/hijacked flights than our own Mr. Jones, who has proven throughout his career that he is willing to probe the most ludicrous theories, on-air, with absolutely no trace of concern for his credibility or dignity. Let him serve as an example to the rest of you.
As you know, nothing matters to me more than CNN’s well-earned reputation as the place to be when news breaks. I would like to think that these changes only enhance that reputation, though I admit my psychiatrist says I often lie to myself in order to get through the day.
As always, if you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to keep them to yourself.
Editor’s note: If you somehow have read to this point without realizing it, this is satire.