After years of taking a beating in the ratings, CNN has had enough and is ousting Jon Klein as president of its U.S. operations, the cable news network said. He is being replaced by Ken Jautz, who runs CNN sister network HLN, FTVLive first reported. Klein had held the role for the past six years and presided over a period of ratings erosion in primetime, as rivals Fox News and MSNBC (NYSE: GE) took viewers away with opinion-oriented programming. Klein had long resisted positioning CNN to reflect a more intense mix of partisan hosts and has defended the network’s performance on the revenue end, saying that advertisers tended to value its middle-of-the-road stance. But the changing desires of what viewers want from cable news has changed and Klein’s departure was expected for some time.
Aside from ratings woes, in recent months primetime anchor Campbell Brown tendered her resignation after a downward spiral in the ratings, while CNN warhorse Larry King also announced he was stepping down amid a loss of viewers. Meanwhile one of its star correspondents, Christiane Amanpour, left a few months ago to take over hosting duties on ABC (NYSE: DIS) News’ Sunday talkfest This Week.
Although Klein’s successor, Jautz, is a long time CNN executive, he’s of a different bent than the man he’s replacing. He’s managed the rebranding of Headline News from a placeholder channel to the HLN network, which has often beat the main CNN network in the ratings. Jautz has managed several networks for CNN and with Time (NYSE: TWX) Warner’s larger Turner Broadcasting unit in both Europe and the U.S. including HLN, CNNfn, and n-tv, a German national news channel. Since taking over HLN, Jautz has been credited as doubling the network