NEW CNN CHIEF HAS TIME TO RESTORE RATINGS

By | July 18, 2001 | Feature

Journalist Walter Issacson (49), a former managing editor of Time magazine has been named chairman and chief executive officer of the CNN News Group. The appointment comes only days after Tom Johnson resigned the position.

Isaacson, who is reportedly expected to take a much more active role in running the channel, will report to Jamie Kellner, the chairman and CEO of TBS Inc, the expanded division that includes CNN and all the Turner Broadcasting properties. He says his mission is to instil “great journalism,” he wants CNN to “broaden the definition of news.”

CNN is about to implement a radical make-over to its CNN Headline News channel, including hiring former NYPD Blue actress Andrea Thompson as an anchor. Reese Schonfeld, who with Ted Turner founded CNN, says CNN in the United States is being beaten in the ratings by Fox News. “The upstart Fox News has edged past CNN and to save itself CNN has turned to the establishment, Time Warner. Time has chosen one of its most establishment journalists to attempt the task.”

Reporting to Isaacson will be Phil Kent, president and COO of CNN News Group. Reporting to both Isaacson and Kent will be Eason Jordan, CNN’s chief news executive and president of news gathering. Flagship show Larry King Live will continue to report directly to the chairman. Kellner has been working on the Headline News revamp for some time, and the new look is designed to attract younger viewers and to attack the increased importance of Fox News which has no problem attracting a younger demographic. Reports say this will mean more live material, less repetition in each half-hour and more correspondents, including an expanded news desk regularly featuring two or more anchors


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