Paula Zahn Leaving CNN

Paula Zahn will be leaving CNN when her contract expires next week. She will be replaced by Campbell Brown.

The estimated 558,000 viewers her program has been drawing, on average, each weeknight this year, according to Nielsen Media Research, represents less than a quarter of the nearly 2.3 million who watch “The O’Reilly Factor” with Bill O’Reilly on Fox News. Ms. Zahn’s program also draws about 100,000 fewer viewers a night than “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” on MSNBC.

[…]

“We worked so hard to maintain a high quality of objective reporting on the air,” she said of her show, which recently featured a series of special reports about intolerance, including racial bias. “Yet what has become clear when you look at the landscape, particularly in the 8 o’clock hour, it seems pretty obvious the audience is drawn to opinion-driven shows. That is not what I do.”

It’s been quite some time since I watched any of the television talk shows not involving sports; I can simply get better content more efficiently online. Still, this strikes me as an odd move by CNN.

Zahn’s show was up against the signature programs of the competition. Why not simply counter-program with another pundit driven show (or put on a low budget show, conceding the time slot) and move Zahn to a different time?

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    What’s going on here, is Zahn recognizes that CNN’s version of “objectivity” leaves and with no chance whatever to cut it in the ratings.

    Of course, whether not their version of “objectivity” actually is, seems another matter.

    Personally, I would look for her to reappear on Fox, sometime in September.

  2. Triumph says:

    Why not simply counter-program with another pundit driven show (or put on a low budget show, conceding the time slot) and move Zahn to a different time?

    Zahn is over the hill Campbell is a young, good looking bird.