If there is anyone left who doesn’t believe CNN is circling the bowl, The Wall Street Journal has burst your bubble this evening.
CNN executives have held talks in recent weeks with representatives from Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, a 24-hour news and entertainment network, about a potential joint venture to overhaul HLN, according to people familiar with the matter. Those discussions came after Vice’s talks became public in June. CNN and The Blaze representatives couldn’t agree on terms, the people said.
Among the possible deals considered was an arrangement similar to the one being discussed with Vice Media, according to a person familiar with the deal: forming a new venture between CNN-parent Time Warner and The Blaze that would replace HLN’s current programming with Blaze programming.
The talks illustrate Time Warner’s eagerness to find a solution for the problems at HLN, which has seen its total viewership decline 22% for the season to date, and a 19% decrease in viewers 18 to 49 years old, the demographic that advertisers pay a premium to reach, according to Nielsen.
Although The Blaze has managed to get on Dish Network and a number of other small cable providers, Beck clearly aims to gain a larger platform for himself and his various lackeys who all seem to have their own shows.
While it is true that Beck’s special brand of insanity did previously air on HLN’s precursor for three years (2006-2008), there is a major difference between giving this man 5 hours per week and giving him 50% editorial control of an entire network.
CNN has always been a commercial venture, but it was once among the most respected news gathering organizations in the world. Since Jeffrey Zucker took the reigns as president of CNN Worldwide at the beginning of 2013, the brand’s transformation into the butt of jokes has become complete. The fact that this proposed merger has apparently failed does nothing to make CNN look better.