‘AC360 Later’ Removed from CNN Schedule
By Jordan Chariton on February 7, 2014 11:50 AM
CNN’s “AC360 Later” and Jay Leno have something in common: they’ve both signed off for the last time. Staffers were informed this morning the 10pm news chat show will not be coming back. CNN tells TVNewser no layoffs are expected.
The show began as a late night experiment last year, featuring a more laid back discussion led by Anderson Cooper. It never aired as regularly as the rest of CNN’s primetime lineup and often disappeared from the schedule for weeks at a time with documentaries and “AC360″ 8pm re-runs in its place.
CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker is making good on his promise to shakeup CNN’s primetime in 2014. Cooper isn’t going anywhere. He signed a contract extension with CNN in November.
BLOGGER'S COMMENTARY: When I first read the above this morning I was not surprised, but I was a combination of sad and mad. I enjoyed AC360 Later and found it a smarter program than AC360 most nights. The format was much better than the panels and pundit vs. pundit segments on most CNN programs. While it had its flaws, too many of the same panel members, too many of the same guests and repeat reports from AC360, I remained hopeful that it would be given a tweaking; like its own staff with a fresh outlook/vision on the potential that AC360 Later offered the CNN line up. Looking back it seems apparent that Jeff Zucker and CNN never committed to the program, either resource/personnel wise or promotion/advertising from the very beginning. Most new programs are first given a staff for that particular program and then once the program is nearing its premiere promotion is ramped up to make viewers aware of the program and entice viewers to tune in. Neither happened at any time for AC360 Later. With the AC360 staff pulling double duty, it's no wonder that topics and reports that showed up on AC360 were repeated on AC360 Later and mostly the same stale guests/panelists and pundits from AC360 showed up on AC360 Later. I'm not sure if the AC360 staff is lazy or mandated by CNN that they need to use certain guests/pundits the majority of the time. The telling card was that when Anderson had the night off, there was no sub-anchor for AC360 Later, the show simply didn't air and AC360 was repeated. While for the first month or two it aired mostly 4 nights a week, it quickly became more sporadic in its airing for a variety of reasons including Zucker's thinking that viewers would rather see documentaries and repeats of documentaries in primetime vs. live news programs. The fastest way to kill a program is to have it not air regularly; that along with no promotion to inform viewers of its existence was Zucker's kill shot. I used to watch a lot of CNN and it was my go to network for breaking news. Unfortunately, especially since Zucker came on board and started dumbing down the news to new lows, the only time I tune in to CNN is to watch AC360 and AC360 Later, and now it will just be AC360. I hope there's a new program on the horizon for Anderson at CNN because old crime stories and panelists like Sunny Hostin and Mark Geragos talking over each other which seem to be the main stays of AC360 theses days are beneath Anderson. There are plenty of news stories to be covered, stories AC360 used to cover extensively and draw much better ratings doing so, that it's apparent that Zucker is taking CNN in a direction not consistent with what used to draw viewers to CNN. Even though Anderson's AC360 is the highest rated program on CNN, its new lows in program content and ratings leaves this blogger wondering, why oh why did Anderson re-new his contract at CNN.....WONZ.