Left, right or center: Time for CNN to rethink its brand

Workers prepare the stage for a debate sponsored by CNN and the Republican Party of Arizona at the Mesa Arts Center on February 22, 2012.

CNN is on our radar this morning, and that's a place they haven't been much lately. Despite being on track to having one of its most profitable years ever, CNN is looking to make a major change. The network is hunting for a new leader, and they think they found their man.

The L.A. Times Joe Flint identified him as Jeff Zucker, the producer who put the "Today" show on the map before leaving news for programming. "If Zucker takes the job, he will have his work cut out for him," Flint writes. "CNN has struggled in the ratings compared with News Corp.'s Fox News and Comcast's MSNBC. Both those channels have mixes of news and opinion, while CNN continues to try to focus exclusively on news."

CNN is looking to update its brand, says Gabriel Sherman, a contributing editor at New York Magazine who is currently working on a book about Roger Ailes and the rise of the Fox News Channel. Sherman says CNN sees Zucker as the right man for the job.

"He's going to try to define CNN across all of its programming in a very clear and distilled way," Sherman says of Zucker. But that may be tougher than it sounds. With Fox News cornering the political right, and MSNBC owning the political left, the question is, says Sherman, "How do you define yourself, if not by politics?"

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, the most widely heard program on business and the economy in the country.


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