Cable News Network (CNN) is an American news-based pay television channel owned by CNN Worldwide, a unit of the WarnerMedia News & Sports division of AT&T’s WarnerMedia. It was founded in 1980 by American media proprietor Ted Turner and Reese Schonfeld as a 24-hour cable news channel. Upon its launch in 1980, CNN was the first television channel to provide 24-hour news coverage, and was the first all-news television channel in the United States.
While the news channel has numerous affiliates, CNN primarily broadcasts from WarnerMedia’s headquarters at 30 Hudson Yards in New York City, and studios in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. The CNN Center in Atlanta is only used for weekend programming. CNN is sometimes referred to as CNN/U.S. (or CNN Domestic) to distinguish the U.S. channel from its international sister network, CNN International.
The network is known for its dramatic live coverage of breaking news, some of which has drawn criticism as overly sensationalistic. The network has also been criticized for its efforts to be nonpartisan, which have led to accusations of false balance.
As of September 2018, CNN has 90.1 million television households as subscribers (97.7% of households with cable) in the United States. In 2019, CNN ranked third in viewership among cable news networks, behind Fox News and MSNBC, averaging 972,000 viewers. CNN ranks 14th among all basic cable networks.
Globally, CNN programming airs through CNN International, which can be seen by viewers in over 212 countries and territories. The US domestic version, sometimes referred to as CNN (US) is also available in Canada, some islands of the Caribbean and in Japan, where it was first broadcast on CNNj in 2003, with simultaneous translation in Japanese. Starting in late 2010, the high definition feed of CNN US was launched in Japan for American viewers under the name “CNN/US HD”, and is distributed by Japan Cable Television (JCTV) to several different multi-channel TV providers, such as J:COM, SKY PerfecTV!, iTSCOM and the JCTVWiFi
See also: List of programs broadcast by CNN
CNN’s current weekday schedule consists mostly of rolling news programming during daytime hours, followed by in-depth news and information programs during the evening and prime time hours. The network’s morning programming consists of Early Start, an early-morning news program hosted by Christine Romans and Laura Jarrett at 5–6 a.m. ET, which is followed by New Day, the network’s morning show, hosted by Alisyn Camerota and John Berman at 6–9 a.m. ET. Most of CNN’s late-morning and early afternoon programming consists of CNN Newsroom, a rolling news program hosted by Jim Sciutto and Poppy Harlow in the morning and Brooke Baldwin in the afternoon. In between the editions of Newsroom, At This Hour with Kate Bolduan airs at 11 a.m. to noon Eastern, followed by Inside Politics with John King, hosted by John King at noon Eastern, and CNN Right Now with Brianna Keilar at 1 p.m. Eastern.
CNN’s late afternoon and early evening lineup consists of The Lead with Jake Tapper, hosted by Jake Tapper at 4 p.m. Eastern and The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, hosted by Wolf Blitzer at 5–7 p.m. ET. The network’s evening and primetime lineup shifts towards more in-depth programming, including Erin Burnett OutFront at 7 p.m. ET, and Anderson Cooper 360° at 8 p.m. ET, followed by Cuomo Prime Time with Chris Cuomo at 9 p.m., and CNN Tonight hosted by Don Lemon at 10 p.m. Eastern. Overnight programming consists of reruns of the primetime lineup, and an overnight simulcast of the CNN International version of CNN Newsroom from Atlanta.
Weekend primetime is dedicated mostly to factual programming, such as documentary specials and miniseries, and documentary-style reality series (such as Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown and United Shades of America), as well as acquired documentary films presented under the banner CNN Films. The network’s weekend morning programming consists of CNN Newsroom (simulcast from CNN International) at 4–6 a.m. ET, which is followed by the weekend editions of New Day, hosted by Christi Paul and Victor Blackwell, which airs every Saturday at 6–9 a.m. ET and Sunday at 6–8 a.m. ET, and the network’s Saturday program Smerconish with Michael Smerconish at 9 a.m. Eastern and replay at 6 p.m. Eastern. Sunday morning lineup consists primarily of political talk shows, including Inside Politics with John King, hosted by John King at 8 a.m. Eastern and State of the Union, hosted by Jake Tapper at 9 a.m. Eastern and replay at noon Eastern, and the international affairs program Fareed Zakaria GPS, hosted by Fareed Zakaria at 10 a.m. Eastern and replay at 1 p.m. Eastern, and the media analysis program Reliable Sources, hosted by Brian Stelter at 11 a.m. Eastern.
For the 2014–15 season, after cancelling Piers Morgan Tonight (which, itself, replaced the long-running Larry King Live), CNN experimented with running factual and reality-style programming during the 9:00 p.m. ET hour, such as John Walsh’s The Hunt, This Is Life with Lisa Ling, and Mike Rowe’s Somebody’s Gotta Do It. Jeff Zucker explained that this new lineup was intended to shift CNN away from a reliance on pundit-oriented programs, and attract younger demographics to the network. Zucker stated that the 9:00 p.m. hour could be pre-empted during major news events for expanded coverage. These changes coincided with the introduction of a new imaging campaign for the network, featuring the slogan “Go there”. In May 2014, CNN premiered The Sixties, a documentary miniseries produced by Tom Hanks, and Gary Goetzman which chronicled the United States in the 1960s. Owing to its success, CNN commissioned follow-ups focusing on other decades. Anderson Cooper 360° was expanded to run two hours long, from 8 PM to 10 PM.
By 2019, CNN had produced at least 35 original series. Alongside the Hanks/Goetzman franchise (including the 2018 spin-off 1968), CNN has aired other documentary miniseries relating to news and U.S. policies, such as The Bush Years, and American Dynasties: The Kennedys—which saw the highest ratings of any CNN original series premiere to-date, with 1.7 million viewers. Parts Unknown concluded after the 2018 suicide death of its host Anthony Bourdain; CNN announced several new miniseries and docuseries for 2019, including American Style (a miniseries produced by the digital media company Vox Media), The Redemption Project with Van Jones, Chasing Life with Sanjay Gupta, Tricky Dick (a miniseries chronicling Richard Nixon), The Movies (a spin-off of the Hanks/Goetzman decades miniseries), and Once in a Great City: Detroit 1962-64.
CNN began broadcasting in the high definition 1080i resolution format in September 2007. This format is now standard for CNN and is available on all major cable and satellite providers.
The CNN Election Express bus, used for broadcasts.
CNN’s political coverage in HD was first given mobility by the introduction of the CNN Election Express bus in October 2007. The Election Express vehicle, capable of five simultaneous HD feeds, was used for the channel’s CNN-YouTube presidential debates and for presidential candidate interviews.
In December 2008, CNN introduced a comprehensive redesign of its on-air appearance, which replaced an existing style that had been used since 2004. On-air graphics took a rounded, flat look in a predominantly black, white, and red color scheme, and the introduction of a new box next to the CNN logo for displaying show logos and segment-specific graphics, rather than as a large banner above the lower-third. The redesign also replaced the scrolling ticker with a static “flipper”, which could either display a feed of news headlines (both manually inserted and taken from the RSS feeds of CNN.com), or “topical” details related to a story.
CNN’s next major redesign was introduced on January 10, 2011, replacing the dark, flat appearance of the 2008 look with a glossier, blue and white color scheme, and moving the secondary logo box to the opposite end of the screen. Additionally, the network began to solely produce its programming in the 16:9 aspect ratio, with standard definition feeds using a letterboxed version of the HD feed. On February 18, 2013, the “flipper” was dropped and reverted to a scrolling ticker; originally displayed as a blue background with white text, the ticker was reconfigured a day later with blue text on a white background to match the look of the ‘flipper’.
On August 11, 2014, CNN introduced its most recent graphics package, dropping the glossy appearance for a flat, rectangular scheme incorporating red, white, and black colors, and the Gotham typeface. The ticker now alternates between general headlines and financial news from CNN Business, and the secondary logo box was replaced with a smaller box below the CNN bug, which displays either the title, hashtag, or Twitter handle for the show being aired or its anchor. In April 2016, CNN began to introduce a new corporate typeface, known as “CNN Sans”, across all of its platforms. Inspired by Helvetica Neue and commissioned after consultations with Troika Design Group, the font family consists of 30 different versions with varying weights and widths to facilitate use across print, television, and digital mediums.
In August 2016, CNN announced the launch of its new initiative, CNN Aerial Imagery and Reporting (CNN AIR). It is a drone-based news collecting operation to integrate aerial imagery and reporting across all CNN branches and platforms, along with Turner Broadcasting and Time Warner entities.