CNN's Morning Moves: Who Are These People?

If you are unable to name the three people pictured above, then you are probably not alone.

The question is: How important is the relative fame of TV personalities to the success of a morning TV show?

The question arises because the three are about to become the “stars” (to apply the term loosely) of a new CNN plan for weekday mornings.  

From left to right, they are Sara Sidner, John Berman and Kate Bolduan -- currently co-anchors of CNN’s mid-morning news show, “CNN News Central,” seen weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon Eastern.

Later this month, on a date that has yet to be announced, the show will move to 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and thereby become CNN’s morning show. 



It is a morning-show switcheroo that has long been part of the morning TV playbook, mainly for those networks that have struggled to find an audience in the time period.

The strategy is to switch from a conversational approach in which the co-anchors act more like co-hosts to a straight-ahead news approach.

The chatty co-hosts throw it to a news anchor to summarize the day’s headlines, generally at “the top of the hour” or maybe even on the half-hour.

But the rest of the airtime is spent bantering with each other, and/or interviewing actors with TV shows or movies to flog, or chefs with cookbooks to promote. Cue the cooking segment.

On some networks, this doesn’t always work. In times past, CBS traditionally had this problem and now, CNN apparently has it. 

One of the problems is too much supply and not enough demand. There are morning shows all over the place. 

The broadcast networks dominate (“Today,” “GMA,” “CBS Mornings”), local stations have them in all-sized markets, and on basic cable, there is “Fox and Friends.”

It is a crowded field. With all those other shows, it is a pretty safe bet that there are not that many people left over who think of CNN when they think about watching a typical get-the-kids-off-to-school morning show.

With its new plan, CNN is conceding that that isn’t working work for them either. 

So, under the assumption that the CNN brand still has credibility when it comes to news delivery and reporting, they have chosen to counter-program against the rest with a traditional news show in the morning time period.

Many people hear news like this and say, “At last! Someone on TV is going to do real news -- something we all need these days.”

But the reality is that people who cheer for what they perceive as “real news” often don’t show up to actually watch this “real news.”

Which is to say: Real news is a great idea, and if it made money for the news channels and networks that traffic in news, everyone would be doing it. But they are not.

By counter-programming, perhaps CNN can draw an audience of people in sufficient numbers who really do want to watch a sober newscast at the start of their day and feel underserved by all the other morning shows.

If they do, then maybe they will get to know the three co-anchors well enough to remember their names. 

Photos courtesy of CNN.

2 comments about "CNN's Morning Moves: Who Are These People?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 13, 2024 at 9:13 a.m.

    Adam, it all hinges on whether the anchors will express strong views about the political and moral aspects of the news  they are covering---in which case---they mey eventually attract some frequent viewers who agree with them on such issues---or whether they will merely regurgitate the same news that is covered in headline fashion by everyone else. As the plan is to go all-news---presumably, this means devoting more than a few seconds to each news item but no commentary---then I doubt that there will be an uptick in CNN'c early AM Nielsen ratings.

  2. Ben B from Retired, February 13, 2024 at 7:52 p.m.

    It will flop and new co-host will be named within a year as that is what CNN does with the morning show it's just changing chairs on the boat deck. Hoping that it will work this time around which I doubt it will in my opinion.

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