ATLANTA — A shakeup in television news is forcing James Earl Jones back into the sound studio where he will record the channel’s new tagline, “This is CNN, Jr.”
In his first one-on-one interview since becoming the network’s worldwide president in January, Jeff Zucker indicated that the channel’s “goal for the next six months, is that we need more shows and less newscasts.”
Zucker envisions more shows “with an attitude and a take,” shows that will attract “viewers who are watching places like Discovery and History,” and especially “young and animated networks like Nick Jr.”
Nick Jr.’s lineup of lighthearted programming aimed at children between 2 and 6 years old has been the envy of CNN’s executives for years, who watched helplessly as droves of viewers flipped past CNN in search of trustworthy and informative voices that made more limited demands on their attention.
“At first we tried fighting it, but if viewers want someone like Dora the Explorer to teach them about the world, wait until they see what Wolf Blitzer looks like wearing a backpack and bangs,” crowed Zucker.
Blitzer is reportedly taking “Spanglish lessons” to increase his Latino appeal, a crucial market segment for the flailing network’s future viability.
Zucker noted, “The overall cable news audience has not grown in the last 12 years,” a finding also reflected in his audience’s stunted scholastic and cognitive development.
After CNN’s attempt to push more worldly and informative programming fell flat, the network brass decided a complete reboot was deemed necessary.
New shows under development at CNN Jr. aim to provide “a constant drip of stimulation that will obviate the audience’s need to take Ritalin or immediately change the channel,” read a network press release.
“Reliable Sources” will be replaced with “I Think I Read Something on Twitter…,” Candy Crowley will host “Schizophrenic States,” and Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” will cohost “The Situation Room” with Blitzer.
The top-rated show on CNN at the moment, “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” will be expanded and re-imagined as the network’s evening news broadcast, hosted by the noted bad boy celebrity chef.
“Anthony Bourdain: News Unknown” is described as an interactive newscast that encourages viewers to drink a shot of bourbon whenever they learn something new. This program, along with most others on CNN Jr., will be rated “TV-MA-ADHD” according to the TV Parental Guidelines system.