8. Jon Klein, President of CNN/U.S.
Ken Jautz, Executive VP of CNN Worldwide
Jim Walton, President of CNN Worldwide
Last year’s rank: 10
Why they were chosen: CNN doesn’t need to retake first place from Fox News Channel in the ratings to make what insiders describe as lots and lots and lots of money for Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting division. Its International, Headline and dot-com components add up to much more than the sum of its parts — the oldest of which is Larry King.
At 75, he still ranks as the high point of CNN’s ratings day, and he still has no likely successor who can guarantee to pull in more than a million night after night, month after month, year after year and century after century.
“Anderson Cooper 360” has found its footing, but CNN can’t seem to decide whether he is its voice, its merchandisable pinup boy or its entertainer for loan, emceeing HBO’s Comedian Award presentation to Jerry Seinfeld or sitting in as Kelly Ripa’s guest co-host on “Live With Regis and Kelly.” This might be too lite to attract the new and presumably serious news viewers he needs if CNN is to grow a stronger next generation that can fend off the prime-time demographic assault from MSNBC. Remember: The last news person to sit at the desk of an entertainment show was Katie Couric in a 2003 job-exchange stunt with Jay Leno.
Lou Dobbs, on the other hand, is cultivating a less likable persona as he rails against any guest on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” or the “town hall” meetings staged for TV who dares disagree with his journalistic jihads against outsourcing of jobs and illegal immigration.
Mr. Klein finally confronted a dramatic ratings decline on “American Morning” by replacing Soledad O’Brien and (no relation) Miles O’Brien with CBS alumnus John Roberts and Fox News alumna Kiran Chetry. CNN.com logs more than 20 million unique visitors per month, and more than 1.4 billion average monthly page views, which CNN says is ahead of all of its competition, including the portals.
CNNMoney.com, a joint venture between Turner and Time Inc. launched only a year ago, is already the leading stand-alone vertical finance site.
Last week brought the announcement that Mr. Cooper was getting a “360” podcast. What took so long? Mr. Jautz’s role has been expanded to include oversight of the administration and operation of the CNN Group’s international networks.