“None of it, none of it, is working,” Daily Show host Jon Stewart said last night about the various efforts of CNN management to revamp its lineups and freshen its offerings to better compete in the crazy cable-news market. Here’s how he abridged the changes: “They cancelled their international show, they moved Ashleigh Banfield from 11 to noon, they axed Anderson Cooper’s 10 p.m. hour, they took the other talented people [read: Soledad O’Brien] off the schedule, they sent two reporters to the same parking lot for no good reason … they added a second Wolf Blitzer show ’cause one show’s not enough for Wolf Blitzer.” And so on.
Now for the solution, which Stewart says CNN tripped upon by accident: Last week, in a bit of unplanned craziness during the network’s 11 a.m. hour, famous boxing promoter Don King appeared on air to discuss allegations that the Ali-Liston fight was rigged. It wasn’t, protested King, who began raving and joking about the hosts — John Berman and Michaela Pereira — as they were trying to segue into the next story. So Stewart suggested that to solve CNN’s woes, the network should have King do side commentary on a wide array of CNN programming.
Now back to the real world. As of right now, CNN has seven reporters in Ukraine — Anderson Cooper, Matthew Chance, Anna Coren, Claudia Rebaza, Michael Holmes, Diana Magnay and Ben Wedeman. They can do their original reporting secure in the knowledge that Stewart will lampoon whatever slip-ups may arise.