CNN Axes More Jobs Amid Biden-Era Ratings Slump

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February 5, 2024

CNN on Monday axed one of its morning shows, resulting in a loss of jobs amid a ratings slump that has seen cable news networks contend with their worst viewership numbers since before the political rise of former president Donald Trump.

"We will no longer produce morning programming in New York and will be disbanding the team that currently produces CNN This Morning in that city," CEO Mark Thompson told staffers on Monday, according to Variety. "Our New York-based primetime and weekend programming will continue."

The network's cancellation of the show, which Poppy Harlow and Phil Mattingly cohosted, is part of a broader shakeup in its morning news slate, per Variety.

"What we are announcing today is a change in strategic direction and not a reflection on the talent, expertise, and dedication of the New York-based editorial production and operations teams who’ve worked on our morning output—they’re among the best in the business," Thompson added in his memo, according to CNN's business division. "We will be strongly encouraging them to apply for the many new open roles that we are making available this week in Atlanta and Washington, DC, along with a number of other open roles in New York in other programming blocks."

It is unclear exactly how many roles the changes will impact.

President Joe Biden's time in office has seen cable news outlets, especially CNN, suffer some of the poorest ratings since before the Trump era. Both Fox News and MSNBC beat out CNN, which averaged an audience of 481,000 viewers in 2023, its lowest since 2014, the Los Angeles Times reported in December. Even Fox News, the nation's most-watched cable news network, had its worst ratings year since 2015 after the departure of prime-time host Tucker Carlson. Of the three networks, only MSNBC saw an increase in viewership last year.

CNN has made the news in recent years for the departures of some of its top talents. The network fired Don Lemon in April 2023, months after he garnered controversy when he said Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley "isn't in her prime," a comment critics said was sexist. It also canned media correspondent Brian Stelter and parted ways with White House correspondent John Harwood the next month as part of an effort to reduce partisan coverage. Former CEO Jeff Zucker resigned in February 2022 after he failed to disclose a romantic relationship with another senior executive at the network. Zucker's successor Chris Licht, under whom Lemon, Stelter, and Harwood departed, stepped down himself in June 2023 amid sagging ratings.

Published under: CNN , Joe Biden , TV News