CNN Axes Ratings-Challenged Morning Program

Source: Wikimedia/Josh Hallett

CNN is abruptly canceling its struggling weekday morning show CNN This Morning after failing to gain traction in the ratings just months after a messy launch. The cable news network is initiating a major programming shake-up under new leadership, scrapping the show entirely.

Sudden Cancellation Follows Short, Chaotic Run

The swift demise of CNN This Morning comes on the heels of just a few short tumultuous months on air since its premiere. The fledgling show quickly unraveled behind the scenes, with non-stop chaos erupting between its original hosts and a whirlwind of anchor changes before ratings struggled to ever take flight.

Source: Wikimedia/Brad Fallin

Launched late last year to lofty expectations as a replacement for years-long morning staple New Day, CNN This Morning instead struggled intensely from the start. Signs of trouble began early as tensions emerged publicly and privately between original hosts Don Lemon, Poppy Harlow, and Kaitlan Collins over Lemon’s inappropriate, unprofessional comments.

Lemon Firing Sets Off Downward Rating Spiral

Within a matter of months, Don Lemon had been embarrassingly fired for good from CNN This Morning over multiple controversies regarding his behavior behind the scenes. But axing the polarizing host failed to salvage the flailing show.

Source: Wikimedia/Manuel

Collins was soon after shifted to primetime, hastily replaced by Phil Mattingly alongside anchor Harlow. Even with the hosting merry-go-round, however, the morning show remained severely ratings-challenged, continuing to flatline as viewers stayed away.

Major Programming Shake-Up Announced Suddenly

With fortunes not improving, CNN chief executive Mark Thompson dropped a bombshell this week, announcing a major sudden revamp of the network’s entire programming lineup and schedule across multiple days and time slots.

Source: Wikimedia/Mcav558

As the first domino, ratings-deprived CNN This Morning will shutter for good in just two short weeks, ending a stint that can only be described as complete turmoil from start to finish.

New York Production Shut Down Entirely in Major Rethink

As part of the broader changes, CNN is also set to no longer produce any morning programming whatsoever in New York anymore in what amounts to a wholesale strategic shift.

Source: Wikimedia/King of Hearts

The decision to abandon New York morning production comes after a failed $300 million investment in studios and facilities there specifically designed to take on the lucrative morning ratings race. All weekday AM shows across the network will now be relocated to come out of Atlanta going forward over the next six months, completely ending previous efforts and significant financial resources poured into New York-based morning programming over the past few years. Only primetime and weekend shows will continue from New York for the foreseeable future.

Harlow, Mattingly Left Unemployed After Abrupt Cancellation

For abruptly axed anchors Poppy Harlow and newer co-host Phil Mattingly, their futures at the network remain cloudy at best at this point. Both veterans are reportedly in talks for potential new roles, but nothing solidified yet after being publically embarrassed by the show’s instant failure.

Source: Wikimedia/Financial Times

The bigger immediate blow lands on the current New York-based production team of over 50 staffers behind the scenes at ratings-deprived CNN This Morning who now all face sudden unemployment. Many of these vital roles are being outright eliminated rather than relocated. Open positions do frustratingly exist in Atlanta and Washington DC and former New York staff are being encouraged to apply, but likely without seniority or matching compensation.

CNN This Morning Flopped Against Strong Competitors

While the internal dysfunction certainly did not help matters, CNN This Morning ultimately severely floundered in garnering anything resembling an audience over its short lifespan when compared to established competitors.

Source: Wikimedia/Fox News

The ratings-deprived show was completely unable to put any sustainable competitive pressure on juggernauts Fox and Friends and Morning Joe in the vital morning ratings race. Fox draws well over 1.5 million viewers and Morning Joe over 900,000 viewers daily, dwarfing CNN’s average audience. Initial promises and potential were never fulfilled as viewers overwhelmingly tuned out or opted for other choices.

Leadership Changes Made Revamp Inevitable

The newly announced sudden programming changes across CNN also underscore larger recent leadership turmoil within the company itself.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The quick launch and demise of CNN This Morning came under former chairman Chris Licht, who brought in and touted the show before his shocking exit last year. Current chief executive Mark Thompson has now taken over CNN’s reigns, putting his swift stamp on the lineup with this urgent schedule shake-up.

What’s Next for CNN Mornings After Failure?

As CNN This Morning now rapidly sunsets for good, enormous high-stakes questions linger over what CNN’s next morning lineup mutation will bring after repeated failure.

Source: Wikimedia/Brad Fallin

While anchor Kasie Hunt does see her marginal early show unexpectedly expand, CNN overall has been sent back to the drawing board once again to reinvent its entire morning strategy in terms of programming and hosts. But the pressure could not be higher to finally deliver sustained ratings success in the competitive space after so much turmoil.

Morning Woes Worsen Mounting Issues at Embattled CNN

The embarrassing morning show struggles and inability to build an audience further pile onto ongoing deeper issues plaguing the embattled cable news giant CNN.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Like competitors, CNN has faced overall ratings drops and cultural friction as audiences move online. But the network has seen particularly recent backstage turmoil between leadership and talent changes, scandals, and programming shakeups – making this cancellation appear almost inevitable.

Uncertainty Remains After Swift Cancellation

The swift demise of CNN This Morning has brought some momentary clarity but only long-term uncertainty for CNN in terms of editorial vision, talent, and especially ratings.

Source: Wikimedia/Mcav557

Substantial time is still needed to repair the reputational damage and assess whether this latest strategic shift finally leads to improved competitive viewership and smoother internal sailing at the troubled network. For now, dropped anchors and staffers alike are left twisting in the wind, their futures deeply unclear as CNN scrambles to enter its new era.

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Matty Jacobson

Written by Matty Jacobson

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