CNN is undergoing a makeover: the beleaguered cable news network is reaching out to Hollywood talent agencies amid a new push to create new programming including a late-night show, the New York Post reports.
Earlier this month, CNN saw its primetime ratings hit a new 20-year low.
According to the Post, citing sources, network executives have been soliciting concepts for reality shows as well as checking out new talent in an effort to revamp a nightly lineup that includes anchors Piers Morgan and Anderson Cooper. They’re also talking to producers who’ve worked on reality fare for Bravo, History and Discovery, the Post reports.
In fact, CNN has been taking pitches from unscripted producers for the past several months, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter. Last May, the network announced a deal with Travel Channel star Anthony Bourdain that will have the globe-trotting chef fronting a weekend program on the network in early 2013 as well as contributing to other CNN broadcasts. And the cable news network has been down the late-night path before, producing a short-lived weekend show hosted by comedian DL Hughley in late 2008.
“CNN, which recently announced the hiring of Anthony Bourdain as a contributor, is continuing to explore other non-fiction original series for the weekend,” a CNN representative said Monday in a statement to THR. “We routinely pursue new talent and programming concepts within the news category and often shoot pilots for any number of our networks.”
And network insiders stress that any unscripted series will be more in the vein of Bourdain’s Emmy-nominated No Reservations rather than the type of train-wreck reality TV that populates much of cable television.
Among the projects being bandied about: an 11 p.m. late-night talk show akin to ABC’s The View and five weekend reality series to program alongside Bourdain’s Sunday-night show, which kicks off in early 2013. (After canceling Glenn Beck‘s Fox News program in June 2011, Fox News replaced it with the multi-host discussion show The Five, which regularly wins its 5 p.m. time slot among cable news competition.)
CNN Worldwide President Jim Walton announced his imminent departure from the network on July 27, after which CNN posted its lowest-rated weekly showing in two decades with Piers Morgan Tonight hitting a low in both total viewers and adults 25-54 at 9 p.m.