CNN's lone-Wolf strategy
Cabler axes shows, expands Blitzer
By MICHAEL LEARMONTH
CNN is reorganizing its daytime programming, creating a three-hour program anchored by Wolf Blitzer that will replace both "Crossfire" and "Inside Politics."
"Crossfire" had been put on notice by newly installed CNN U.S. prexy Jonathan Klein as an example of the kind of shoutfest he thought turned off viewers.
"Inside Politics" is anchored by Judy Woodruff, who announced that she will retire at the end of the May.
The moves -- the most significant since Klein took the helm of CNN late last year -- came of a challenge he issued to CNN staff to come up with new ideas on how the network could report on politics.
The winning proposal came out of the Washington bureau, where producers David Bohrman and Sam Feist proposed building a show around Blitzer that will address the day's top stories in politics, business, national security and world affairs.
Klein declined to say when the new show would debut, but part of the reorganization will begin Monday, June 6, when CNN replaces Blitzer's midday show, "News From CNN," with a simulcast of CNN International's "Your World Today."
The shift will free up Blitzer for an extended three-hour newscast in the afternoon and showcase some of CNN's international reporting, an asset Klein believes differentiates the net from the competition.
"We cover international news better than anyone, and we want to show it across the news group," Klein said.
A spokeswoman said it's unclear if jobs will be eliminated or shifted as a result of the changes.
In an internal memo, CNN EVP of operations Cindy Patrick said the changes could "eventually affect Atlanta staffing levels." The changes will cut a half-hour from "Life From ...," which is produced in Atlanta. The other shows affected are produced in D.C.
Memo also says the net is considering moving the control room and some staff positions for "Larry King Live" to D.C. from Atlanta. King now has a staff and copies of his signature sets in New York and D.C., but typically tapes his show in Los Angeles.