CNN Launching Fake News Comedy Show

Interesting news today out of Los Angeles. Looks like CNN is going to try and tap the political entertainment market that was formerly served by the departed "Half Hour News Hour." My comments below the fold:

Headline News will be sacrificing newsmakers to the comedy gods with "Not Just Another Cable News Show," a half-hour skein set for the 7 p.m. timeslot Saturdays and Sundays starting April 5. It will re-air at 9 p.m. and midnight. [...]

"News Show" will pull footage from CNN's archives as well as from recent news.The first episode will feature commentators including Time.com's Washington editor Ana Marie Cox, L.A. Times columnist Joel Stein, Republican strategist Amy Holmes, Huffington Post media editor Rachel Sklar and comic Hugh Fink.

The model they've picked here is interesting and very much in keeping with the long-term marketing strategy that CNN Headline has established--going for the younger news consumer who doesn't have time for the normal theatrics of television news, at least not unless they're presented as such. It could definitely work provided the material is funny and politically balanced. Jon Stewart pretty much has the lefty crowd sewn up so "News Show" is going to need political fairness in order to have long-term success.

It definitely has one advantage over "Half Hour," though, and that is that it repeats so much. My sources tell me that the main reason FNC didn't renew its comedy brand wasn't because it did poorly in the ratings, but that it wasn't making enough money off the show (especially compared to "War Stories," the show it temporarily replaced). That's in large part thanks to the fact that it didn't repeat enough, exposing more viewers to the show initially and ensuring a broad fan base.

CNN seems to have learned from this mistake. We'll have to wait until April 5 to see what else they've learned.

Update 16:43. Looks like the show might be trying to get some  "Best Week Ever" mojo as well:

 The show will use nearly 28 years of archived footage to take a look back at the biggest political blunders of all-time, as well as celebrity scandals, pop-culture fads and other things ripe for examination.

“Our CNN news group is in the fortunate position of having nearly 28 years’ worth of archived news footage, and this new series is a unique way of showcasing some of those clips,” said Ken Jautz, executive vice president of CNN Worldwide, in a statement announcing the show. “It’s an entertaining way to recall some of the more memorable news moments captured on video.”

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013