What’s The Matter With CNN?

by Shelt Garner

It seems to me that the crux of problem with CNN is there is No Center. One side wants me to believe the sky is green while the other side sees that the sky is blue.

Pick a side, CNN. Or a side will be chosen for you.

If they went all-in with MAGA, then they would be really popular. If they went all-in with anti-MAGA, they would be popular. But this issue of trying to play it straight down the middle is bulshit.

Things fall apart. There is no middle. Any attempt to square the circle of modern American politics by doing such a thing is a fool’s errand. Get with the program. CNN needs to accept that Blue and Red are receding away from each other at an alarming rate.

If they keep trying to place themselves in “the center” they’re just going to be fools. Like I said — pick a fucking side. Only by doing that, CNN, will you find any success. I’m serious. You’re fooling yourself to think there is some magical “center” you can reside in that will make you respected by both sides.

It just isn’t going to happen.

Make up your mind one way or another.

The Case For Selling CNN

by Shelt Garner

Usually, when people start to talk about a media property being for sale and you have to deny it — that means said media property is for sale. So, apparently, there is some chatter surrounding CNN.

Let’s see what the case would be selling it.

Its current owner, Warner Bros Discovery has a massive amount of debt. And it’s pretty easy to imagine a bidding war over CNN if it was put up for sale. Instead of the estimated $1 billion, CNN might sell for $3 or $4 billion.

But question is, who would have the means, motive and opportunity to buy it and why?

My first guess is someone like Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk. Remember, the United States’ democracy has one foot in the grave, and as such, our new autocratic state sure would like CNN under the ownership of someone like Musk who would probably turn it into a Fox News clone. Meanwhile, if Bezos owns it, he could do something with it and The Washington Post.

Then, of course, there are a few women billionaires who might be interested in buying CNN. Everyone from Laurene Powell Job to MacKenzie Scott might want to buy CNN.

In a sense, CNN is the TV equivalent of The New York Times when it comes to a name brand news property that everyone assumed would never be for sale. I have my doubts that Rupert Murdoch could get his hands on CNN, but I could see our new autocrat President Ron DeSantis allowing some sort of other crazed conservative plutocrat to serve as Murdoch’s proxy.


The Media Football That Is CNN

by Shelt Garner

Given that Warner Bros. Discovery has some $50 billion in debt, the company is going to face a lot of pressure to not just cut costs but to merge again. And to me at least, the ideal company for WBD to merge with is NBCUniversal.

But by definition, doing this throws the fate of CNN up in the air because of the obvious existence of MSNBC. The only way the two companies could pass anti-trust concerns would be CNN being sold off.

There are a number of different scenarios one could think of as to the fate CNN. One possibility is some MAGA plutocrat buys it and turns it into a Fox News clone. Another is someone like Jeff Bezos buys it and makes it his play thing along with the Washington Post.

Then, there is the possibility that Elon Musk could swoop in and buy CNN. Remember, CNN was built upon the ego of Ted Turner. So, it would be a return to its origins for it to be the plaything of something like Musk.

But the key thing you have to remember is, given how important CNN remains to be, there’s a good chance that it’s current drift towards MAGA is going to accelerate.

Holy Shit, This Kara Swisher Interview With Chris Licht

by Shelt Garner

If you want a masterclass in dealing with powerful media types, just listen to the amazing “On” podcast interview between Kara Swisher and CNN’s Chris Licht.

It was very illuminative and combative. Licht reminds me of the extremely powerful executives of Media General and The Richmond Times-Dispatch that I once, long ago, hung out with when I was desperate to get a job at the TD.

Anyway, I was very impressed. It was interesting to see how a VERY POWERFUL dude struggled to weasel his way out of answering tough questions. I came away with a serious case of unease, however. Nothing Licht said made me feel any better about the fate of CNN on either editoral or business sides.

I think CNN is going to veer Right to the point that when it’s inevitable sold, it might get sold to some Right Wing plutocrat who will turn it into a Fox News clone. (This would likely happen in the context of the United States turning into a MAGA themed fascist autocracy.) The logical person to buy CNN, if a Right Wing plutocrat doesn’t buy it, would be Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. He already owns The Washington Post and the two media properties would make a nice fit.

So, Who Will Ultimately Buy CNN When Warner Bros. Discovery Merges With NBCUniversal?

by Shelt Garner

In the ever consolidating media world, it seems to me that just as Disney bought Fox’s entertainment properties, NBCUniversal is going to merge with Warner Bros. Discovery. And, yet, that opens up a very important question — who will buy CNN?

The most obvious answer is Amazon. Jeff Bezos owning both the Washington Post and CNN would make a lot of sense. And, yet, I think it was malignant goober Josh Hawley who said, “Nope!” Some of CNN’s fate would be determined by if we were an autocracy or not when it was being shopped around.

If it’s President DeSantis we’re talking about, then I could see some wealthy MAGA dickhead swooping in and buying it so they can turn CNN into more of Fox News clone than it already is. I suppose if magically we managed not to either have a civil war or turn into an autocracy that maybe Laurene Powell Jobs might get into the act.

The thing about it is, I don’t think any of us realize how things we taken for granted might be either be paused or thrown up in the air between now and January 2025. We have to start factoring in what a fucking shit show late 2024, early 2025 is likely to be. Everything could change to the point that “Who is going to own CNN?” will seem rather quaint.

Is It Inevitable That Warner Bros Discovery Will Merge With NBCUniversal?

by Shelt Garner

It seems to me that we have one more round of media consolidation and it will involve Warner Bros Discovery in some way merging with NBCUniversal. I think this because the two services compliment each other a great deal. As I understand it, Warner Bros Discovery owns the DC comic books and I think NBCUniversal — which has a reputation for being well managed — could do a lot with that.

But there is an obvious problem: CNN.

The reason for this problem is the existence of MSNBC. So, one of two cable news channels would have to go and it makes sense that it would be CNN. There are some real political problems with CNN being sold. The obvious potential buyer would be Amazon because then they could cross pollinate with the Washington Post.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) gestures toward a crowd of supporters of President Donald Trump gathered outside the U.S. Capitol to protest the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral college victory Jan. 6, 2021 at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Some demonstrators later breached security and stormed the Capitol. (Francis Chung/E&E News and Politico via AP Images)

But because of goobers like Josh Hawley would block any sale of CNN for any reason unless it was to FOX (despite the conflict) it would all be a lulz. Such a merger can’t happen because of that unless you could get past that political objection.

It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out.

Kenan Thompson Could Save CNN’s 9 p.m. Primetime Slot

by Shelt Garner

I get why CNN is so obsessed with hard news interviews at 9 p.m. on weekdays. I get it. The soft interviews at that time slot that were the backbone of CNN from its inception, just isn’t how CNN views itself these days.

But given how shitty Chris Cuomo was at that hour, for this old fart at least, it would be nice to sit down and watch someone like SNL’s Kenan Thompson just be himself and have a laid back, friendly chat about the days news.

Thompson has been with SNL for about 20 years now and it’s unlikely he would leave the Peacock Network for any reason, but, ideally, this would be his show’s format five nights a week:

It would open with a cold open that Thompson produced with some SNL-like players about the day’s news. It would open the show and set its tone. Then the rest of the show would be three or so very casual, soft interviews that were very Larry King in nature.

Thompson is, in real life, a very soft spoken guy and I think audiences would love watching him learn about the days news with them. It would be a relaxing change of pace from the We’re All Going To Die tempo of most primetime cable nets primetime line ups.

But, lulz, what do I know.

The Streaming Wars Could Force The Sale Of CNN

by Shelt Garner

It seems almost inevitable at this point that NBC Universal will try to bulk up against Disney and buy Discovery Warner Brothers once it finally comes into existence. Since NBC Universal owns MSBNC, something would have to be done with CNN.

Who’s going to buy CNN?

The obvious candidate to buy CNN — which would cost, at a minimum, $1 billion — would be Amazon. But our favorite fascist nutjob Josh Hawley has already been very public about his opposition to such a thing.

So, it’s very possible that someone unexpected would have to buy CNN. Disney owns ABC, but it doesn’t own a cable news outlet, and neither does Paramount CBC. So, it seems as though either one of those two could be willing to shell out the vast sum of money necessary to buy CNN.

Though, if you wanted to think outside the box, The New York Times Company might be interested, as would MacKenzie Scott or Laurene Powell Jobs.

Anyway, the fate of CNN is something to keep in the back of your mind. I have long thought Turner Broadcasting had long outlived its purpose and should be folded into Warner Brothers as part of a massive corporate re-org. There’s no need to have any of CNN left in Atlanta. It should all be out of NYC.

What do I know. No one listens to me.

CNN Should Replace Chris Cuomo With Someone More Like Larry King

by Shelt Garner

Larry King was a hallmark of CNN for decades. And then he just vanished. It was kind of weird. And, even stranger, CNN has completely ignored that for a lot of long-term viewers like me, having a breezy, value free chat show on during CNN’s weekday primetime was a rather comfortable thing to see.

Chris Cuomo just doesn’t do it for me. He’s strangely off putting for some reason, nowhere near as affable as Larry King was in his prime. I struggle to think of who CNN could replace him with, however.

The first person who comes to mind is Joe Rogan. I think Rogan can be a real idiot at times, but he is affable and given his alt-Right lite credentials, I could see his presence on the network doing a lot to bridge the gap between CNN and the rabid, bonkers MAGA shitheads who hate it so much. (Yet, who am I kidding — MAGA hates CNN because it’s objective and they crave to be fed the party line. But, luz.)

I suppose someone like Jon Stewart might be able to do the type of show I’m looking for, but that just doesn’t seem very practical. Neither Stewart nor Rogan seem really all that interested in being on CNN for various reasons.

Now that I think about it, given how King was not a traditional journalist and, as such, you could even draw from an unexpected place: SNL. There are a number of SNL-connected people who would be great as a potential Larry King-like interviewer. Kenan ThompsonĀ or Tina Fey would be just the right mix of regular person and interviewer-with-an-interesting-personality to bring back the same vibe as Larry King.

But, who am I kidding. No one listens to me.

Trump’s Coming Second Term Purge of Late Night Hosts

by Shelt Garner

Form follows function, so it would make a lot of sense that once Trump brazenly steals a second term that one of the first things he’s going to do is purge late night of all the hosts he doesn’t like.

Remember, by this point, Trump will have crossed a number of Rubicons in his successful efforts to steal the 2020 election, so he’s going to do some pretty jawdropping things that even he might not have thought about doing before. There are two ways I could see him getting rid of late show hosts he didn’t like.

One would be direct — he tells the heads of the majors media companies to do it or else. He’ll take their broadcasting license or whatever. This probably will happen behind the scenes, but when the boom is dropped it will happen very rapidly. We’ll all find out what he did, but lulz, nothing matters.

There’s another way he might do it — he might convince “German Industrialists” to buy up stock in various media companies and get them to pressure media execs to get rid of the hosts that way.

Whenever this happens — and it WILL happen — there will be a lot of gnashing of teeth by media types. We’ll learn all about the Smothers Brothers and LBJ. There might be some isolated protests. Many a “successful” meme will be launched on social media that “destroys” Trump. (Ugh.) But, in the end, nothing will happen. Absolutely nothing. Trump will win and there will be a new crop of late night hosts. It could be a number of these new hosts will be women or minorities in a sop liberals. But, oddly, none of these new hosts will talk about politics at all.

Meanwhile, the purged late night hosts will get new deals on Netflix or Disney+. They will all start a number of successful podcasts.

But an era will be over.

Soon enough, a similar purge will take place in TV newsrooms across the country. It’s even possible that Rupert Murdoch will be encouraged to buy The New York Times and or CNN. By the time Trump ramps up his efforts to get a Constitutional Convention called up to “pass a balanced budget amendment” the media in the United States will be nothing more than a lap dog to House Trump.

I believe barring a pretty enormous self-own on the part of Trump himself (which is obviously always possible) this is our future. It’s an absolute law of nature at this point.