(USNewsMag.com) – As CNN’s TV ratings continue to plummet, CEO Chris Licht is looking to new talent to attract viewers.
Licht recently told the LA Times that he wanted to broaden the appeal of the network’s prime time programing without upsetting the primary audience. He indicated that CNN is in discussions with people from the entertainment industry as well as personalities from the professional sports world in an attempt to “bring fresh and unique perspectives to the news.”
On Monday, January 30th, the network announced that Bill Maher would join their lineup with a show that would potentially air on Fridays in the 9 to 11 p.m. time slot. Licht clarified that while the program is being described as “non-traditional,” it will not be a classic primetime comedy show focused around topical news.
Other comedians reportedly considered for the new Friday night show included big names like Jon Stewart and Arsenio Hall.
Referring to his time as the executive producer of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Licht said it took over 200 people to make a comedy show and that attempting to create one on CNN would be a foolish undertaking that could damage comedy and the CNN news brand.
Bill Maher’s HBO show will continue, but “Overtime,” a supplementary segment to “Real Time with Bill Maher,” will move to CNN. It is described as continuing discussions with guests that were started during the main show with topics to include business, politics, news of the day, and culture among other things.
The CNN Press Release which announced the network’s acquisition of Maher’s post-show describes the agreement as one of several recent “partnerships between HBO and CNN.” The two networks share Warner Bros. Discovery as a parent company, making cooperation and shared talent easier.
Maher has hosted his HBO show since 2003. Prior to that, he had a late-night talk show called Politically Incorrect which aired on Comedy Central beginning in 1993 and moved to ABC in 1997 until it was canceled following public backlash to remarks Maher and his guest made in 2002.
The new prime-time program will debut on February 3rd during “CNN Tonight.”
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