Last night I saw Anchorman 2 (which struck me as being as much about the decline of cable news as it was about Ron Burgundy). In the movie, Ron goes to New York to take a job with a newly formed 24 hour news network called “GNN,” an obvious play on “CNN,” where he effectively dumbs down his newscasts in an attempt to score big ratings, which he does.
At one point, one of the characters — I can’t remember which, though it may have been Burgundy himself — says something along the lines of, “It’s not about news anymore; it’s about ratings.” When I heard that line immediately thought back to a couple of weeks ago when newish CNN head Jeff Zucker announced that CNN needs “more shows and less newscasts.”
Fast forward to today and a Hollywood Reporter story about Zucker courting none other than Jay Leno to host a late night talk show on CNN when his contract expires at NBC, because middle America loves Jay Leno, or something.
Reports the Hollywood Reporter:
Sources tell THR that CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker — who, while running NBCUniversal, famously set in motion Leno’s first ouster from Tonight by promising the show to Conan O’Brien in 2009 — is among those who have approached Leno for a late-night or primetime show on his network. Zucker recently visited briefly with Leno at NBC in Burbank. Also among the 10 or so outlets courting the comic are Tribune, American Idol producer Core Media Group and even former NBC chief Jeff Gaspin. But Leno, 63, and his lone representative, attorney Ken Ziffren, are said to be refusing to entertain offers until the host fulfills his obligation to NBC on Feb. 6.
When you really stop and think about it, Leno and CNN under Zucker are a match made in suck heaven. I think Elon Green summed the potential Leno/CNN pairning nicely on Twitter by saying, “I hope this happens. It’s like when two horrible people marry and take each other off the market.”
And for those of you wondering what I thought of Anchorman 2, here you go: Meh. I know a movie like this is supposed to be silly, but I thought it was a little too silly. And too long — it could have easily been 30 minutes shorter. But hey, it was something to do on a chilly Tuesday night.