PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — The chiefs of CNN and Fox News Channel are throwing shots at each other, each suggesting the other’s network is essentially out of the news business.
Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes struck first, saying in an interview published this week that it was interesting for CNN “to throw in the towel and announce they’re out of the news business.” It was a reference to CNN President Jeff Zucker‘s efforts to expand CNN’s offerings beyond breaking news.
“We happen to be in the business, as opposed to some other fair and balanced network,” Zucker responded at a news conference on Friday.
He suggested that Ailes’ remarks, published in the Hollywood Reporter, were silly and an attempt to deflect attention from “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” a book on Ailes and Fox by New York magazine writer Gabriel Sherman that is being published this month.
Zucker said he hadn’t read the book, but that from what he heard it confirmed that “the Republican Party is being run out of News Corp. headquarters masquerading as a cable news channel.”
A Fox News spokeswoman said that Ailes gave his Hollywood Reporter interview in December, suggesting it had nothing to do with Sherman’s book. She had no other comment on what Zucker said during a meeting with journalists who cover television on Friday.
Zucker, in charge at CNN for a year now, has taken note of flat ratings in pushing CNN to diversify. Non-fiction shows with chef Anthony Bourdain and Morgan Spurlock, ordered before Zucker came to CNN, are consistently among the networks’ highest-rated shows. CNN has also beefed up its documentary film unit.
The films drew some barbs from Ailes, as well, particularly the successful “Blackfish,” about killer whales. “I guess he’s going to do whales a lot,” Ailes said. “If I were Discovery, I’d be worried.”
Zucker said CNN had several other new non-fiction series in the works. In March, CNN will premiere “Death Row Stories,” a crime series produced by Robert Redford and Alex Gibney and narrated by Susan Sarandon. CNN is also continuing its concentration on the 1960s with a 10-part series beginning in May. Later this month, CNN will air “The Sixties: The British Invasion” in the days before the 50th anniversary of the Beatles performing on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
Despite such efforts, Zucker said CNN’s first priority remains news. A succession of CNN leaders over the past two decades have struggled to figure out how CNN could get a consistent audience during slow news periods. Fox and MSNBC, which appeal heavily to audiences on opposite ends of the political spectrum, have taken viewers away from CNN.
“CNN is not and never will abandon our first and fundamental brand equity, which is news and breaking news,” Zucker said.
He also shot down reports that CNN is looking to get into the late-night entertainment business, perhaps by hiring Jay Leno when Jimmy Fallon takes over on NBC’s “Tonight” show next month. Zucker was once Leno’s boss when he was head of NBC Universal.
“That’s really not a priority for us at this time,” he said. “We have some other things I’d like to concentrate on first.”
(AP Photo: In this March 6, 2013 file photo, President of CNN Worldwide Jeff Zucker attends a screening of “Girls Rising” at the Paris Theater in New York.)
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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