CNN’s Klein Is “Addressing Fundamentals” — And Reshaping The Entire Network

By Brian 

It’s hard to underestimate the significance of CNN/U.S. prez Jon Klein‘s latest moves. Yesterday he revamped virtually the entire network, leaving only a few hours of programming untouched. “We’re addressing fundamentals,” he says. The changes:

> On Friday, Crossfire concludes after 22 years. Inside Politics loses its anchor, and will disappear completely. The noon-hour’s News From CNN also signed off.

> On Monday, the simulcast of CNNI’s Your World Today began. “It reminds me of CNN in the glory days, when they took time on a story and realized the world was larger than 50 states, a missing teen in Aruba, and a lunatic from Neverland,” an e-mailer said. If it spreads to the rest of CNN/U.S., and sends the “message” Klein hopes it will, THAT’s the most significant bit of all.

> American Morning needs a shot in the arm, and Klein hopes Miles O’Brien will do it. (A new studio, too.) Pulling Miles off Live From means a new co-anchor for Kyra Phillips — are changes coming to that program, too?

> Klein announced a three-hour block of Wolf Blitzer’s “Situation Room.” Ostensibly, it means “more news, less debate,” as USAT says. It’s a huge facelift for mid-afternoon, and a gateway into primetime. Klein is handing Bohrman and Feist three hours…

> Klein has “hired new top producers for virtually every major program on the network,” and yesterday’s appointments were among the most important. Doss and Neufeld are “award winning veteran network producers,” TV Week notes. They will bring newsmagazine thinking to 360 and PZN. “We believe the best years of these shows are ahead of them,” Klein says.

The best headline about all this comes from the Hollywood Reporter: “New ‘Morning’ Dawns At CNN.” “Whatever else Klein is, he’s bold,” an insider remarked this morning. The CNN of November 2004, when Klein was appointed, will hardly resemble the CNN of November 2005. Will it work?