Sam Schechner at Wall Street Journal:
CNN is considering replacing Kathleen Parker, co-host of its new evening program “Parker Spitzer,” according to people familiar with the matter, as the network struggles to reverse a steep slide in its evening audience.
The conservative columnist could be replaced by a new co-host to serve alongside former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, as executives mull a shake-up of the show, the people said, adding that no decision has been made. “Parker Spitzer” hasn’t been able to significantly build its audience since its debut just over three months ago.
Juli Weiner at Vanity Fair:
Middling cable network CNN may dispose of one half of the Parker Spitzer team. Guess which half? “CNN is considering replacing Kathleen Parker,” according to today’s Wall Street Journal. Rumors of a Parker departure have been swirling since as early as December 1, when the New York Post reported that the conservative columnist simply did not care for Eliot Spitzer. At the time, we suggested some possible Parker replacements, including Christine O’Donnell, George W. Bush, and Julian Assange. As those options are under police investigation, presumably unwilling, and under police investigation, respectively, other speculators are now recommending a new roster of potential backups. For example, Gawker proposed that “a piece of string” fill in for Parker. We like it … but think big: what about several pieces of string fashioned together to create a doll?
Flashy replacements aside, a CNN spokesperson declined to confirm or deny the rumors, telling the Journal that “the show continues to improve.” Presenting a similar sentiment last week, Phil Kent, chief executive of Turner Broadcasting, which owns CNN, characterized Parker Spitzer as “a work in progress.”
Mark Joyella at Mediaite:
CNN’s primetime programs performed poorly in 2010, which marked the network’s worst ratings performance in fourteen years.
Max Read at Gawker:
But who could bring the same ability to sit there and not talk? Ashley Dupre? Piers Morgan? Ted Williams? A piece of string?
Glynnis MacNicol at Business Insider:
The problem of course isn’t all Parker. While her mother hen-like clucking at Spitzer – likely conceived to make viewers feel safer with the disgraced ex-governor — is interminably annoying it is far from the only problem
The show, initially taped and edited ahead of time, often feels awkward and the terrible graphics that float behind the anchor’s heads throughout are irritating and distracting.
But the real problem continues to be that Spitzer never seems to be allowed to be Spitzer: the unpredictably, fiery person New Yorkers heard so much about when he was governor. Airing the show live, and capitalizing on the unpredictability that would come along with that would be the easiest way to grab some attention.
Meantime, who to replace Parker with. The NYPost hears it may be E.D. Hill a former Fox News anchor and co-host of “Fox and Friends” who got booted for her “terrorist fist jab” remark.
But I think CNN needs to go big here in order to reconvince people to tune. Someone like Michelle Malkin might work — she has a wide audience, could probably hold her own with Spitzer, but is not so extreme in her views (a la Ann Coulter) as to turn off mainstream viewers.
But perhaps she’s not mainstream enough to solve the problem. Before Parker Spitzer first went on air CNN did the regular audience testing and discovered Spitzer wasn’t as nationally recognized as they had assumed.