To what extent will CNN cover Donald Trump following the elections, especially if he loses? What’s going to happen to Corey Lewandowski after the elections? What are Zucker’s opinions on the AT&T/Time Warner merger? On Trump TV?
For all those questions, CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker has the same basic answer. “We’re not in the business of making any predictions to what’s going to happen in the next 13 days. We’ll see what happens and then we’ll make decisions after that,” he says in a Q&A with Hollywood Reporter’s Michael O’Connell.
As for CNN reportedly taking in $100 million more in revenue this year than it normally would, Zucker wouldn’t confirm, but his response was basically a wink: “I’m not going comment on that other than to say that NPR is a fine journalistic organization.”
Part of the reason behind Zucker’s wait-and-see comments has to do with the fact that the fate of news networks next year, following this cycle’s Trump-fueled elections growth, is unknown. “We acknowledge there’s no way 2017 is going to be 2016. It’s just not possible,” he says. But there is some historical context:
Keep in mind that, prior to this year, 2008 was the biggest year in cable news history. Second to that was 2009. We do think there will be continued interest next year. But in terms of what do we do moving forward, we have a new philosophy and strategy that we’ve employed for the last three years of going all-in on the bigger stories in a way that our competitors can’t match because of our global resources. We also have our original series. Next year we’ll have more than 12, and six CNN films.
Read the full interview here.