How bad of a week was State of the Union week for CNN’s struggling morning show, New Day?
When measured against the “Big Three” cable news networks’ morning shows and prime time programming, New Day was last or second-to-last in the prized ratings demographic of viewers aged 25-54 all week long. It also finished last in total viewers every day except one.
Those numbers don’t fare well against the viewership of CNN’s daytime programming either. New Day was below the network’s daily average in demo and total viewers every single day of the week.
To make matters worse, Morning Express—the morning show for CNN’s sister network, HLN—beat or tied New Day in demo every day but one.
An awful week like that will only add to the rumored behind-the-scenes disarray at the show. If you believe the blogs, co-anchor Chris Cuomo wants co-anchor Kate Bolduan replaced, while other co-anchor Michaela Pereira wants to move back to Los Angeles. Rumors or not, the fact remains that New Day is a mess.
What can be done to fix the problem? CNN could do plenty if they decided to cut the losses, take a wrecking ball to the show, and start from scratch. However, based on the network’s seeming determination to build CNN mornings around Cuomo, replacing Bolduan with strong presence who will counteract his semi-stiff, alpha maleness is essential.
3. Option #1: Brooke Baldwin
Brooke Baldwin has been doing a great job of holding down the fort at CNN in the late afternoons for a while now. She’s a solid anchor who can manage a fun celebrity interview. Most importantly, Baldwin can improvise confidently on the air, a skill that is absolutely necessary to neutralize/capitalize on Cuomo’s often cringe-worthy attempts at spontaneous humor. Balwdin may not be the Katie Couric-style answer that Zucker is ultimately looking for, but she has the skills to stabilize this sinking ship and has definitely earned the chance to surprise everyone and turn the show into a winner.
4. Option #2: Robin Meade
If Brooke Balwdin doesn’t work out, HLN’s Robin Meade could fit the bill quite nicely. Since CNN has sunk untold millions into New Day, the chances that they’d make a splashy hire outside the network’s family are very slim. So, why not look to the host of the very morning show that, without the help big interviews and an intensely expensive advertising campaign, is making New Day look bad by keeping pace in the ratings?
5. And what about Kate Bolduan?
The current co-host New Day has all the tools needed to be a successful host on CNN — they just need to put her in a broadcast situation where she’s not paired with another man. The network’s experiments that have seen the 30-year-old sharing a desk — first with kind older man Wolf Blitzer, then with attractive frat guy Chris Cuomo—prove that Bolduan either needs to have her own show, or another co-hosting experiment with someone who is not a straight, white dude. With or with out a co-host, dropping Bolduan into Baldwin’s old daytime slot, or giving her Wolf’s extra hour at 1 P.M., makes the most sense.
6. What else could be done to get New Day on track? All hands on deck.
CNN’s other talent should be making regular appearances on New Day, like, yesterday. Give a segment to Anthony Bourdain here, and a big interview to Piers Morgan there. Have Anderson Cooper and Erin Burnett do a human interest story once a week. These things can recycled endlessly later on their own primetime shows so they can’t complain about all the extra work. Something has to be done to make the CNN family feel more like a family, and what better place to do it than over the day’s first cup of coffee.
7. And finally, a wild card solution: Dennis Rodman.
The show could use a jester and a villain. Why not kill two birds with one stone and hire Cuomo’s new bff, Dennis Rodman. Throwing a former pro athlete like Rodman into the mix with top dog Cuomo would at the very least be entertaining, and imagine the fun we’ll all have when Worm gets bored and takes over the New Day Twitter account.