Left-wing cable news network CNN has been struggling to maintain relevancy as Fox News has dominated the ratings for years. But things have become increasingly dire for CNN in the wake of Chris Cuomo’s firing and the unexpected departure of CEO Jeff Zucker.
In 2022, CNN’s ratings were undeniably abysmal, while Fox News continued to prove itself a force to be reckoned with, especially after Greg Gutfeld dethroned Stephen Colbert as the “King of Late-night Television,” and his show became the first-of-its-kind program to be number one, defeating decades-long late-night mainstays like The Tonight Show, The Daily Show, and Jimmy Kimmel Live.
In light of Fox News’s success, CNN has apparently decided that the answer to their problems is hiring a comedian to host a primetime show. According to reports, Jon Stewart, Trevor Noah, and Arsenio Hall were among the names being considered for such a program, but on Monday, it was revealed that Bill Maher, the host of “Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO, would be added to CNN’s Friday night lineup to host a non-traditional program during the 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. time slot.
But according to CEO Chris Licht, CNN has no plans to produce a “topical comedy show in prime time.”
“I worked on a comedy show,” Licht told The Los Angeles Times. “And it took over 200 people to produce an actual comedy show. So no, I would not be so foolish as to, in one fell swoop, hurt the brand of comedy and news by trying to do a comedy show on CNN.”
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Of course, what does CNN have to lose at this point? Licht has said that CNN will no longer be home to “partisan hackery” or “ideological talking points,” but there’s little evidence that this is actually sincere. Chris Cuomo and Brian Stelter may be gone, but raging lunatic leftist Don Lemon is still with the network, even though he’s been moved to mornings. Bringing in Bill Maher doesn’t exactly signal that the network is moving away from “partisan hackery” and “ideological talking points.”
Licht says he is “casting a wide net to help broaden the appeal of our prime time” without offending “our core audience of news junkies,” and that’s pretty much what Bill Maher does. Yes, he’s made headlines in recent years for being anti-woke and daring to question woke ideology, and even some leftist narratives. For example, last year, Maher raised doubts about the left-wing narrative that Trump is a Putin pawn. “If Putin thought Trump was really that supportive of him, why didn’t he invade [Ukraine] while Trump was in office?” he asked. “It’s at least worth asking that question if you’re not locked into one intransigent thought.”
Maher has also spoken out against the left’s overt racialization of everything and has criticized how teachers are making kids “hyper-aware of race in a way they wouldn’t otherwise be,” in an apparent criticism of critical race theory. He’s also spoken out against cancel culture, and raised questions about the unnatural increase in the number of kids identifying as LGBT.
“If something about the human race is changing at a previously unprecedented rate, we have to at least discuss it. Broken down over time, the LGBT population of America seems to be roughly doubling every generation,” Maher quipped last year. “I’m just saying that, when things change this much, this fast, people are allowed to ask, ‘What’s up with that?’”
I give Maher a lot of credit for daring to contradict the prevailing leftist narrative, but he’s still a raging leftist, and bringing him in isn’t going to broaden CNN’s appeal outside of its core left-wing audience.