- Last Updated: 11:47 PM, June 30, 2012
- Posted: 11:42 PM, June 30, 2012
Abysmal ratings at CNN have insiders pointing fingers over who’s to blame, and sources say a big problem is friction between managing editor of CNN Worldwide Mark Whitaker and CNN President-US Ken Jautz.
Ratings at the cable channel fell to a 21-year low last week, with viewership particularly disappointing at Soledad O’Brien’s morning show and Piers Morgan’s nighttime talker.
Sources were quick to cite “misaligned management” within the top ranks as a major reason for the dysfunction. Jautz, who previously ran HLN, replaced former CNN US head Jon Klein two years ago — but some of Klein’s duties were given to Whitaker.
“When Jon was there, the structure was more linear,” said an insider, adding that Jautz and Whitaker, “have competing ideas for what we should do.”
The insider further told us: “Ken is not an editorial guy. He really is an operations guy. Mark’s strong suit is editorial, but he doesn’t know as much about television.”
Sources pointed to O’Brien’s show, which Whitaker oversees, as an example of competing, confusing philosophies. One insider said: “Ken does not like all of the ‘conversation on camera’ on the morning show. Mark does, because his vision is to make it that go-to conversation piece that ‘Morning Joe’ has become. It’s a constant battle.”
Making matters more unclear, both execs report to CNN honcho Jim Walton, and chatter’s swirling on how long he’ll remain.
On top of the ratings lows, Whitaker also was “disgusted” after CNN at first mistakenly reported Thursday that the Supreme Court had struck down ObamaCare.
Although CNN wasn’t alone in the goof, Whitaker expressed his disappointment in a Friday management conference call: “Mark sounded disgusted and made it clear we can do better,” a source said.
A CNN rep denied any clash between Jautz and Whitaker: “Mark and Ken have a great relationship, and they work closely together every day.”Follow @PageSix