Ken Jautz on CNN’s New Lineup: ‘It’s a clear strategy. It’s not a holding pattern’

By Alex Weprin Comment

CNN/U.S. executive VP Ken Jautz talks to Ad Week about the new lineup, which sees Anderson Cooper move to 8 PM–and featuring a replay of Cooper’s show at 10 PM. As we noted when the changes were announced, the mover will mean that CNN is the only of the three general news channels to have a replay on at 10 PM. Jautz vigorously defends the move, citing Cooper’s success in the period, and adds that it is not a placeholder decision. CNN intends to keep the new schedule intact.

But your primetime slate features re-airs very prominently [for example, under the new lineup, Anderson Cooper 360 airs at 8 and again at 10]. Do you have plans to change that? It seems like an unusual primetime lineup.

I’m going to dispute the premise on several different fronts, actually. But before I do that, let me say that it is a lineup that we look forward to building. We’ll build it and attract a greater and greater following. That’s one.

Two, I would say that Anderson Cooper has long been at ten as a flagship show … in this day and age, the program that a news channel runs at 8 PM basically showcases what the network stands for. And you look at Anderson Cooper; it is quality journalism, reporting-based program. And you compare that to a more conversational talk show on offer at competitive news networks at 8 o’clock, you see a real difference. It makes sense for us to put it on at 8 o’clock. It also makes sense for us to continue Anderson Cooper—he’s been at 10 for many years he has a loyal following at 10 o’clock. Lastly, another reason I dispute the premise is, it suggests that [having re-airs in primetime] is unusual. I would say that it isn’t.

So this lineup is part of a clear strategy.

It’s a clear strategy. It’s not a holding pattern. It’s a focus on experienced journalists and on journalism. Also,  [the 10 O’clock re-air of Anderson Cooper] has live elements as well. So what runs at 10 O’clock is not exact same thing that runs at 8 O’clock.