I am waiting for Ken Jautz to take me to lunch. Jautz is the new head of CNN. I helped get him his job. I wrote a column in the August issue of Vanity Fair asking why his predecessor, Jon Klein, who had seen CNN's ratings fall, still had his.
I answered the question in a way that, I understand, senior executives at Time Warner, CNN's parent company, seemed to find sensible and accurate: Klein hadn't been fired because CNN, despite its weak primetime ratings, was still making lots of money and nobody wanted anybody to do very much with it.
Still, bureaucracies, even if they know they can't change, have to pretend they really want to, even if they don't, and so, with the question about Klein posed so clearly, they fired Klein and hired Jautz, who has been running CNN's sister station, Headline News.
Jautz, who has spent much of his career in the CNN and Time Warner bureaucracy, is really just like Klein. The only difference is that Jautz hired Glenn Beck and Nancy Grace at Headline News. The premise is that maybe he can make CNN prime time a little more like Headlines News ... even though that is the last thing anybody wants him to do. Remember CNN is the network that fired Lou Dobbs because he was too ... too.
"We want to make prime time a little more compelling, engaging, lively," he told Mediaite yesterday. This is something that could have been said--that has been said--by every television network executive in the history of television. It is like a stockbroker saying I'd like to make a little more money.
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