Turner Broadcasting CEO Phil Kent spoke at the Nomura U.S. Media & Telecom Summit today, and he spent a good deal of his time answering questions about CNN, according to B&C’s Jon Lafayette.
Kent said that he is “very unhappy” with the network’s ratings situation, and laid some groundwork for changes ahead. As we noted last week, don’t expect Erin Burnett, Piers Morgan or Anderson Cooper to see any major changes to their shows, but there will be changes coming, beyond the recently announced additions of John Berman and Anthony Bourdain.
The self-inflicted problems stems from the fact that “we haven’t put the best shows on the air,” he said.
Kent said CNN’s current primetime lineup still has “very high potential.” He called Anderson Cooper a television news star who “at this moment is not getting a star’s ratings and that’s because of lead-ins.”
Of the rest of CNN’s lineup, “we have some other shows that probably need to be replaced. This is an execution issue and to me, this is TV 101.”
“The pressure on all of us, on me, on the CNN management from me is to raise the quality and the consistency of the quality,” he said. “I am a firm believer that if we raise the quality of these shows and make them a little surprising — sometimes also it’s also a little repetitive throughout the day — if we raise the quality and we do it with consistency the ratings will be just fine. I can’t tell you that we’ll beat this one or that one. But they’ll be a hell of a lot better than they are right now and we’ll be fine.”