Brooke Baldwin‘s CNN Newsroom airs weekdays from 2-4pmET and won the key A25-54 demo for the month of January. The last time CNN won the 2-4pm block in the demo was in July 2013 during the George Zimmerman trial. Prior to that was July 2009 when Michael Jackson suddenly died.
We caught up with Baldwin to discuss her success, reporting from the field vs. behind a desk and even her upcoming travel plans.
TVNewser: Your show was No. 1 in the demo on cable news in January. What do you think was key to winning two hours in the afternoon?
Baldwin: It’s a combination: my fantastic Atlanta-based team, my EP Eric Hall, who is my work hubs and is phenomenal with story selection and pushing me. And I think a little ‘special sauce.’ Plus, I think viewers know CNN delivers time and time again on the most important stories. And… I think viewers want to get their news from someone who’s real.
TVNewser: How do you think moving the show from Atlanta to New York is making a difference to viewers?
Baldwin: I run into viewers all the time who have no idea I’ve moved to NYC. I think for many of them a studio is a studio is a studio. What has changed is the access I have to newsmakers, commentators, analysts, etc in New York. Speaking with them in person on set makes all the difference. It forces me to be more on my game, a great thing, and being able to look someone directly in the eye leads to a better interview which translates to more compelling TV.
TVNewser: You started as a correspondent and moved to the anchor desk, but you still go out into the field and report. Which do you prefer?
Baldwin: I’m answering this question on a train heading home after a 14-hour day covering the Boston blizzard — including anchoring my two-hour show in the snow without TelePrompTer. The answer is — I’m a reporter at heart. In every job I’ve ever had starting in Charlottesville, VA some fifteen years ago, I’ve always done both. Reporting makes you a better anchor and vice versa. That said, I pinch myself everyday knowing I hold down two hours of the 24 at CNN. But just ask my boss — any time a major story breaks, I’m banging on his door to send me. He’s probably smiling as he’s reading this.
— Brooke Baldwin (@BrookeBCNN) January 27, 2015
TVNewser: You’re heading to Tanzania to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro later this month. Is this business or pleasure?
Baldwin: Can my answer be pleasure/insanity? Just kidding… sort of. The idea to climb Kili was hatched on the F train to Brooklyn one weekend afternoon with a girlfriend. I’d moved to NYC last summer… did stand up comedy last fall and was kinda like: “what’s my next challenge?” I’m going with a gal pal from my high school in Atlanta. It’s a 6-7 day hike to the top. It isn’t gonna be pretty — but I know it will be worth it. And did I mention there’s barely any cell service or Internet — ahhhhh.
Editor’s note: Baldwin advises anyone who has ever flirted with doing stand up comedy just once, to “DO IT!”
TVNewser: What will you do when you make it to the summit?
Baldwin: Cry. And dance. Not necessarily in that order.