CNN will never divulge their ratings problems on the air, but something is afoot in the land of falling viewership. AT&T officials are reportedly looking at selling off some of Time Warner’s key assets once they acquire the company. Number one on the priority list may be CNN, along with celebrity news website TMZ, according to Deadline Hollywood.
AT&T brass is hoping for the all-clear signal to sell once the Justice Department approves the $85 billion acquisition of the company. It could be as soon as year’s end.
It appears the communications giant doesn’t see a future with the cable news network. However, rumor has it that CBS is interested in taking over the operation, according to the website. It appears CBS CEO Leslie Moonves has long been interested in CNN.
At least that is what Moonves thought when he was interviewed by Adweek last month. He said, “CNN is a very worthy news organization. It’s something that could enhance CBS. But I don’t think that’s on the table right now. If it came up later on, it would be something we would look at.”
Words like that are usually construed by Wall Street as a bargaining position. It is not the first time Moonves has entertained the CNN acquisition idea. As far back as 2014, Moonves addressed the possibility, according to USA Today.
It is no secret that television’s first 24/7 news network has been in a shouting war with President Trump since the beginning of his presidency. On more than a few occasions the president has accused the network, among other media outlets, of being “fake news.” The reason for CBS’ possible interest is it would enable them to eliminate duplication of the news.
But in reality, CNN is in financial trouble. Viewership has been slipping badly the past few years, being far out shadowed by their arch rival Fox News. CNN is usually a distant second in the cable news ratings game. The cocksure businessman Moonves casually says, “We’ll see. It’s something I’m sure we’ll look at if it (CNN) becomes available.”
More than likely CNN executives and their stockholders are jumping for joy at the thought of a big three network bailing them out. It is uncertain if TMZ would be part of the deal or be dealt to a private equity company.