NEW YORK — Ever since former NBC CEO Jeff Zucker took over as President of CNN Worldwide, the news network has made it a point to squeeze as much out of tragic news stories as possible. Now, word out of CNN headquarters is that Zucker and CNN executives have been left dumbfounded as to why the network’s ratings have been dropping.
“Zucker is panicking,” explains a source close to the CNN president. “He really thought all the coverage the network did on the Newtown shooting would help the ratings. [Zucker] even made sure reporters hounded school children to catch them crying. He was convinced crying women and children were the key to big numbers.”
One full month after Zucker officially took over at CNN, the network’s ratings fell 5% in total daytime viewers and 1% in primetime viewership. The network’s strategy of exploiting personal tragedies and showcasing emotionally distraught victims at the expense of actual news stories of worth doesn’t look like it is working. Now Zucker is left scratching his head.
“He is just waiting for another large tragedy to occur so the network can be the first to interview a close relative or loved one of a victim,” said our source. “Others have told [Zucker] that maybe people want to see more positive news stories, but he is convinced shots of crying women and children are the answer. He would personally push an old woman in front of a train if it meant higher ratings for CNN.”
People close to the President of CNN Worldwide believe he is so committed to his task that he will do whatever it takes to get that coveted footage of a tragic breaking news event, even if it means he has to do it himself.