New York -- Cable News Network will give its new primetime
newsmagazine shows a chance to build audience, and the network is being conservative with
its ratings projections for them out of the box, officials said last week.
"We are very patient, as long as a program shows
growth," Rick Kaplan, president of CNN/U.S., said during at a press briefing here on CNN
NewsStand, which is being done in conjunction with sister Time Inc. magazines.
"This is not just something for the upfront season where we'll change our minds
by Election Day."
CNN on June 7 will debut the first of its three NewsStand
shows, NewsStand: CNN and Time, airing Sundays and Mondays at 10 p.m. NewsStand:
CNN and Fortune premieres June 10, and it will air weekly Wednesdays at 10 p.m. And NewsStand:
CNN and Entertainment Weekly will launch June 11, then air weekly Thursdays at 10 p.m.
The talent that will anchor the shows includes Willow Bay, Jeff Greenfield, Bernard Shaw
and Judd Rose.
CNN is currently averaging a 0.6 Nielsen Media Research
rating for the 10 p.m. time slot, according to Larry Goodman, president of CNN sales and
marketing. Both he and Kaplan said they don't expect NewsStand to open with
big ratings, projecting an average 0.6 for primetime and late-night repeats of the shows.
And they stressed that Time Warner Inc., parent of both CNN and Time Inc., has a long-term
commitment to the project.
"We have been conservative in our estimates" to
advertisers, Goodman said. "We don't want to overbuild or overpromise."
Sources close to the matter estimated that CNN will
generate more than $30 million in ad revenue from the NewsStand shows this season.
Officials from both CNN and its corporate siblings, the
three Time Inc. magazines, explained how they will work together on their respective
shows. CNN is trying to build appointment viewing with its three newsmagazine programs and
to lure an audience even when big news isn't breaking. As such, this marks
Kaplan's biggest undertaking since he joined CNN last year.
"We want to make CNN a place where they [viewers]
should turn to all of the time," Kaplan said.
However, he made a point of stressing that CNN is not
abandoning its primary mandate: covering hard news.
"These are appointment-viewing programs, but our most
important appointment is with breaking news," Kaplan said.
Tom Johnson, chairman of CNN News Group, pointed out that
his unit and Time magazine have been cooperating on projects -- including a poll
and the show Impact -- for more than a decade, long before the merger of Time
Warner and Turner Broadcasting System Inc.
CNN will launch a print-, TV- and radio-ad campaign to
promote the series, as well as doing cross-channel promos on CNN and other Turner
networks, Kaplan said.
The NewsStand shows are meant to reflect the tone
and substance of the magazines, but not to be literal translations of them to television.
"These shows are not video dumps of the
magazines," Kaplan said.
CNN also plans to create more newsmagazine shows based on
the Time Inc. stable, according to Kaplan.
"We are not finished with NewsStand," he
said. "There are other nights for other shows."