CNN is getting increasingly creative as it switches up anchors in an attempt to drum up a ratings increase to halt its painful slide into irrelevance, as now it has announced that host Anderson Cooper will begin hosting a weekly Sunday show in mid-April.
Currently, Cooper, who hosts “Anderson Cooper 360” on weekdays, will begin hosting a new show called “The Whole Story” on April 16th. The show will feature other CNN personalities and last an hour, covering just a single subject per broadcast.
CEO Chris Licht said, in a statement to Variety, “Powered by CNN’s unmatched global journalism operation, The Whole Story goes behind the headlines, touching every continent and corner of the planet, as we bring our viewers into the heart of the essential stories of our time.”
Describing the show in its report on it, Variety reported that the show is a new attempt to try to drum up Sunday ratings and that the network has already sketched out a few episodes of the upcoming show, saying:
Trying to make a big news splash on Sundays is a challenge others have attempted to navigate in the past. CBS’ “60 Minutes,” often boosted by viewership for the Sunday NFL games that precede it, has long been one of TV’s most-watched programs, even in an era when viewers are moving away from regular appointments with linear TV. NBC News has made several attempts over the years to mount rival newsmagazines, including “Rock Center” and “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly,” only to be thwarted by expenses and viewership shortfalls. “Whole Story” recalibrates the formula somewhat by focusing on a single topic for its entire length.
[…]Several episodes of “Whole Story” have already been sketched out. In one, Sara Sidner will travel to San Francisco to explore some of the political and social issues that plague it. In another, Pamela Brown will examine claims that attempt to link Johnson & Johnson’s now-discontinued talc baby powder to cancer. David Culver is slated to explore the psychedelic properties of psilocybin. Erica Hill will take viewers behind the scenes of the coronation of King Charles III. And Nick Paton Walsh will embed with a group of migrants as they travel from South America to seek asylum in the United States.
Why the network is betting big on Anderson Cooper is unclear. As the network is struggling with its smallest monthly audience in nearly a decade, Cooper is part of the problem, bringing in his smallest audience since June of 2014. Fox News Digital, reporting on that in late February of this year, said:
The long-struggling network is on pace to finish February with its smallest monthly audience among the advertiser-coveted demographic of adults age 25-54 since June 2014.
“Anderson Cooper 360,” “The Lead with Jake Tapper” and Wolf Blitzer’s “Situation Room” are on pace to their smallest audiences since that same month among the critical demo, while “Inside Politics” is on pace for its least-viewed month among the category since August 2005.
“CNN This Morning,” the Don Lemon-centered a.m. show that has generated a ton of negative publicity, is on pace to finish February with its smallest monthly audience among both total viewers and the demo since it launched last year.
So Cooper has a new show, though whether it will actually help CNN recover its ratings is unclear and seems doubtful.
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