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Monday, August 20, 2012

Another Pilot Shot For CNN.....

From FishbowlDC on August 13th:
By Betsy Rothstein

The dynamic CNN duo of Mark Whitaker and Amy Entelis were at it again Friday, shooting another pilot that they hope could potentially be the savior for a network going through growing pains.

Whitaker, Executive VP and managing editor of CNN Worldwide, and his hire to head program development, Entelis, are joined at the hip in trying to come up with new ideas for the network, desperately hoping the next boss will keep them around when the anticipated senior executive bloodletting comes to pass.

Who is playing Batman and Robin this time? CNN contributors John Avlon and Margaret Hoover an independent and moderate conservative on air, and off, married. That’s right, CNN is seriously thinking about launching a show with a married couple. They’re no James Carville and Mary Matalin, a big liberal and conservative. Some still find them entertaining.

Avlon, a columnist for The Daily Beast, has fast become a favorite of the CNN suits in New York, especially with Whitaker, a longtime member of the NY/DC media elite who, insiders say, would love nothing more than turn CNN into a TV version of the NYT.

Avlon is the designated independent voice on the network, even though he is a former speechwriter for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. He also has a fantastic head of hair.

Hoover, a middle-of-the-road conservative, also has the kind of pedigree that makes Whitaker salivate. She’s the great-granddaughter of former president Herbert Hoover; an author; and landed at CNN several months ago after failing to come to contractual terms with Fox News. She also brings some of that Fox News hotness, which some think CNN could stand to adopt.

The pilots generated by the program development unit at CNN have left much to be desired as of late, so Entelis reached out to the force behind the CNN Heroes initiative, Kelly Flynn, to helm the pilot. She was a former exec in the program development unit when CNN’s former Executive Director of Program and Talent Development Joel Cheatwood, who left for Fox News and is now Exec. VP of Mercury Radio Arts, ran the joint. (Boy is he missed!).

Entelis, Flynn, Avlon and Hoover spent all of Friday shooting the pilot in New York, hoping it will be good enough to impress outgoing CNN head honcho Jim Walton, and Phil Kent, head of Turner. With Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes applying the pressure to resuscitate the dying brand, the effort has an urgent feel.

But Avlon and Hoover should beware of mixing it up on the air. The last CNN married couple that was seen daily – John King and Dana Bash – later headed for Splitsville. Sure, she wasn’t a co-host on John King, U.S.A., but she was on so much when it launched that it should have been called the John and Dana Show.

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Anonymous said...

John Avlon is one of the worst anchors I've ever seen. I would rather see Rob Marciano get his own show before seeing him get one. Also, why not go with James and Mary? They are more well known, smart, and entertaining.

Anonymous said...

Time Warner man in charge Jeff Bewkes, here are your next two terminations, Mark Whitaker and Amy Entelis.

Anonymous said...

OMG, what is wrong with these CNN execs? Have they seen Avlon fill in anchor on OutFront? He's TERRIBLE! And Margaret Hoover is a member of the cabal of "panelists" that are ruining Starting Point! But we are just supposed to love them for their elite pedigree? This is just crazy.

Anonymous said...

How about hiring some liberals for a change? Why does CNN think they have to cater to right wingers now?

Soledad's been kicking conservative butt on CNN lately, I guess they're going to demote her for that.

Anonymous said...

I beg to differ about Mary Matalin being the slightest bit entertaining. More like "irritating" and "infuriating", IMO. The less of her on CNN the better.

Anonymous said...

How about hiring some journalists for change? Why does CNN think they have to cater to political opinion junkies? I don't give a damn about Avlon's or Hoover's opinions. I want the news, real news and facts. I'll see political opinions on MSNBC and Fox.

Anonymous said...

AC360 brings in Wolf Blitzer to give Mitt Romney advice on how he can win the election AND they suggest that voters shouldn't concern themselves with his religion, that their main motivation is about getting rid of President Obama? How is this fair and impartial news reporting. It seems like CNN is all about boosting Romney/Ryan and nitpicking comments President Obama makes in order to shove them into a bogus "Keeping The Honest" segment. I think I liked it better when Soledad was hosting because whenever Anderson returns, it's all about how WONDERFUL Romney is and how President Obama is disingenuous. Soledad speaks the truth about right wingers while Anderson accomodates their lies. I can imagine the heads exploding at CNN if President Obama is reelected, because they're doing everything in their power to assist Romney/Ryan in making sure he isn't. Not a single mention of right wing voter suppression on CNN.

Anonymous said...

CNN should try improving their quality of news not hire two Republican talking heads. Since CNN is so neutral and gives both parties equal time, does this mean that two married Democrats will get their own show too?

Anonymous said...

I'll second that!!!

Anonymous said...

CNN - just do news. And do it better than everyone else.

It's not rocket science !!

Fire Whitaker and Entelis.

They are taking away the budgets for reporters and camera crews to go out and cover more stories.