You don’t necessarily have to be a dyed-in-the-wool journalist to get your own roost on CNN.
The Warner Bros. Discovery-backed network is considering working with talent from across the parent company, according to a person familiar with the matter. These people might contribute segments, digital projects, series or documentaries, this person says. CNN CEO Chris Licht is said to be engaged with conversations with as many as a dozen people about ideas related to health and lifestyle, comedy and sports. The concept, this source says, has the support of David Zaslav, CEO of the parent company.
More from Variety
CNN declined to make executives available for comment.
One of the ideas under consideration is having CNN use after-show segments from Bill Maher’s HBO series, “Real Time.” These segments, titled “Overtime,” have streamed for several years on YouTube and feature Maher talking with the bulk of that evening’s guests. The streaming segments help Maher’s “Real Time” gain traction with a wider audience, since his show is only available to subscribers to HBO or its streaming counterpart, HBO Max. They would potentially be used as a segment on CNN, not as a stand-alone program.
A spokesperson for “Real Time” was not able to provide immediate comment. Puck News previously reported on the discussions around use of Maher’s post-show segments.
Zaslav has encouraged more collaboration across the company in recent weeks. TCM, for example, intends to make use of popular personalities from Food Network, HGTV and other venues to create discussions related to classic movies. CNN has had visits in recent weeks from people like Food Network celebrity chef Bobby Flay and “White Lotus” star Jennifer Coolidge.
Indeed, Zaslav recently saw a vignette on the company’s TCM network that called attention to popular actors, directors and more who died in 2022, and asked for the video to run across all of Warner Bros. Discovery networks in the U.S. over a recent weekend. The company recently announced it intended to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Warner Bros. studio throughout 2023.
CNN has relied on outsiders in the past. Larry King famously held forth at 9 p.m. for more than two decades on the network, interviewing celebrities and newsmakers on “Larry King Live.” Piers Morgan did the same for CNN after King’s show ended. CNN has also launched programs led by comedian D. L. Hughley, Colin Quinn and political operative Van Jones. Executives have also mulled bringing in an outsider to lead the network’s 9 p.m. slot, historically one of its most-watched times.
Best of Variety