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 (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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