A.M.: R.I.P.? After noting that American Morning co-hosts John Roberts and Kiran Chetry have seldom been seen behind the AM desk together lately and that a host of substitute co-anchors have been paraded before the AM audience, last week Carpe Diem asked, “AM: Shake-up Looming?” Yesterday, TheWrap.com answered in the affirmative–or, at least, indicated that it appears to be in the works. According to media expert Dylan Stableford (former Mediabistro.com managing editor and contributor to Salon, New York, and Rolling Stone), an inside source indicated that “CNN is testing a concept that would include personalities with dueling political ideologies and opinions” for “a new morning show pilot.”
Apparently, CNN/US prez Jon Klein has finally taken the blinders off. After trying to revitalize American Morning’s anemic ratings three years ago by bringing in seasoned journalist John Roberts and Fox News’ rising star Kiran Chetry, Klein’s endeavor has met with dismal disappointment. In fact, based on TVbytheNumbers.com’s figures and the author’s calculations, the total viewer ratings of 2010 (1st quarter) are identical to those of 2007 (1st quarter). Even more troubling, TheWrap.com reports that Nielsen numbers show that AM has declined 30% in 2010 in both total viewers and the prized 25-54 demographic.
According to Stableford, it is unclear what the purported changes mean for Roberts or Chetry. In the last few weeks, Roberts has been temped for by T.J. Holmes, Jim Acosta, and Christine Romans whereas Chetry has been filled in for by Sara Sidner and Kate Bolduan. In doing so, Klein has seemed to substitute AM regulars for Roberts and new faces for Chetry. Perhaps, he will keep this part of his formula but acribe to a more provocative, zanier, and, yes, “Friendlier” approach. [N.B. Roger Ailes' Fox & Friends shellacked Klein's American Morning by 4:1 (overall viewers) and by 3:1 (25-34 demog) in the latest numbers (03/09/10)]
As to Roberts and Chetry’s respective futures, a Klein canning could actually inure to their benefit ultimately. Roberts would be in a position to stake his claim anew to Uncle Walter’s seat if the old Tiffany network does not renew Katie Couric’s costly contract. And, Chetry may finally find redemption with her many fans at the top-rating cable news network if she is but granted Ailes’ absolution.
[Author's aside: Since Chetry's absences have been fewer than those of Roberts, Klein may be considering whether to keep Chetry. If so, he could use the former Fox & Friends (First & Weekend) co-host to guide CNN's version of FNC's morning news juggernaut.]
Hat tip to J$P (Johnny Dollar’s Place).