TV Exclusive: John Gotti, Jr. sits down with CNN host Michael Smerconish
February 28th, 2015
11:00 AM ET

TV Exclusive: John Gotti, Jr. sits down with CNN host Michael Smerconish

In a TV exclusive, John Gotti, Jr. sits down with CNN host Michael Smerconish to discuss his new memoir Shadow of My Father. In this self-published book, the son of the notorious John Gotti – who headed the country’s largest organized crime family – reveals how he entered the life of crime, and then with his father's permission, left it for a legitimate one.

Smerconish discusses these revelations and gets a rare look inside the mafia with John Gotti, Jr., who has largely remained silent as he withstood four trials and a parole violation hearing in four years.


Topics: CNN
February 27th, 2015
11:41 AM ET

CNN International Commercial Names Sebastian Laver Director of Content Sales and Partnerships for Latin America


February 27, 2015 – CNN International Commercial has hired industry veteran Sebastian Laver as its new Director of Content Sales for Latin America.  Laver joins CNN International Commercial from Reuters News Agency to oversee the Company’s pan-regional content sales business across broadcast (radio) and digital platforms.  Laver will be based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, reporting directly to Greg Beitchman, Vice President of Content Sales and Partnerships for CNN International. FULL POST

Topics: CNN
CNN serves up a menu of top chefs to taste  the wonders of world cuisine
The first episode features Italian chef Massimo Bottura
February 26th, 2015
06:26 AM ET

CNN serves up a menu of top chefs to taste the wonders of world cuisine

~ Episode #1 of Culinary Journeys follows Massimo Bottura on a quest to London for a new twist on a traditional Italian dish  ~

CNN International is celebrating world cuisine with a new series that explores a different destination each month through the dish that has helped put it on the map.

Starting on March 6, each episode of Culinary Journeys will feature a different world-renowned, respected chef on a journey to explore the cuisine of one of the world’s food hotspots. In each 30-minute show, this cookery travelogue broadcast on CNN International will see a chef leave the bustle of their own kitchen to discover the ingredients, techniques and heritage that contribute to a culinary experience in another country.

First up is Massimo Bottura, the three Michelin-star chef from Modena, Northern Italy, who combines inspiration from contemporary art with Italy’s rich gastronomic heritage to create dishes that play with Italian traditions. Bottura travels to London to explore the British art scene and visit one of the city’s most famous restaurants, St John, to meet the renowned chef Fergus Henderson. His ‘nose-to-tail’ approach to cooking – using as much of every animal as possible – has helped to shape the British capital’s dining scene. Together, they will visit the ancient Smithfield meat market and cook one of St John’s most iconic dishes, ‘Roasted Bone Marrow & Parsley’ before Bottura returns home to Modena inspired to add a new twist to one of the region’s most-loved dishes, ‘Passatelli in Broth’  FULL POST

Topics: CNN
CNN's Ratings Momentum Continues; Network Posts Big Gains Over Last Year
February 24th, 2015
02:28 PM ET

CNN's Ratings Momentum Continues; Network Posts Big Gains Over Last Year

CNN Beats MSNBC for Eighth Straight Month 

New Day Outperforms MSNBC’s Morning Joe Again; Tops by Largest Demo Margin Ever 

MSNBC Sheds Viewers by Large Margins; Hits Decade Lows; 

Lost 55% of Primetime and 66% of Daytime Audience

CNN’s ratings momentum continued in February, with the network ranking #2 in cable news in total day in both total viewers and the demo 25-54, easily topping MSNBC. CNN also beat MSNBC once again in both M-Su and M-F primetime (demo 25-54) this month.  The network has now outperformed MSNBC for eight straight months in total day (among both viewers and demo) and in M-Su/M-F prime (demo) - the longest streak across these dayparts in over six years (since November 2008).

CNN had big ratings gains this month, with all dayparts up significantly from year-ago levels, posting the largest growth in cable news.  MSNBC continued to shed viewers, decreasing double-digits in all three key dayparts among P2+ and 25-54, posting the largest declines.  CNN also posted the largest increases in daytime (9a-4p) among both total viewers and demo, while MSNBC daytime is down a whopping -66% to 36k in the demo, its lowest delivery in over 15 years.


(click graph above to view full size)

CNN’s weekday primetime programs all ranked second in cable news (demo), registering impressive growth this month especially in the demo (Erin Burnett Outfront  up +102%,  AC 360 up +58%, CNN 9pm programming up +111% and 10pm programming (mostly CNN Tonight) up +66%); while MSNBC lost a staggering -55% of its weekday primetime audience.  CNN has now topped MSNBC across the M-F 7p, 8p, 9p and 10p hours in the demo 25-54 for seven straight months.  CNN’s D.C.-based and Sunday morning programming all posted significant growth and easily topped MSNBC this month.

Over its five Thursday 9-10pm premieres-to-date (1/22-2/19/15) in season three, the CNN Original Series Morgan Spurlock: Inside Man ranks #2 among 25-54 across cable news in its time period, ahead of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow ShowInside Man is tracking to have its strongest season yet among both total viewers and the demo 25-54.

CNN Program Highlights:

  • CNN’s New Day (6-9am) beat Morning Joe once again this month in both total viewers (388k vs. MSNBC’s 327k) and the demo 25-54 (132k vs. MSNBC’s 79k).  New Day has now topped Morning Joe for the 5th straight month in both demos, the 8th straight month in 25-54 and the 5th straight month in total viewers.  These are the longest streaks since the program’s debut in June 2013.  New Day is also posting its largest monthly demo advantage on record over Morning Joe. While New Day is up +67% in both demos, Morning Joe ranked 3rd in total viewers (declining -14% from a year ago) and placed 4th in the demo (down -38%).
  • The Lead with Jake Tapper (4pm) ranked #2 in cable news at 4pm, easily topping MSNBC in both total viewers (592k vs. MSNBC’s 312k) and the demo 25-54 (145k vs. 49k).  The Lead also posted significant growth this month, increasing +67% in total viewers and +56% in the demo.  MSNBC was down -25%/-55% respectively.
  • The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer (5-7pm) also had a very strong February, easily topping MSNBC in both total viewers and the demo.  The Blitzer-led program was also up +72% in total viewers and up +94% in the demo 25-54 vs. a year ago.  MSNBC’s The Ed Show (5pm) was down -59% and Politics Nation (6pm) declined -55% in the demo from a year ago.
  • Erin Burnett Outfront (7pm) easily beat MSNBC’s Hardball in the demo (202k vs. 128k).  EBOF grew triple digits in both total viewers (+109%) and the demo (+102%) vs. last year.  Hardball was down -46% in the demo and -25% in total viewers.
  • Anderson Cooper 360 (8pm) ranked #2 in cable news, topping MSNBC’s All in with Chris Hayes in both total viewers (637k vs. 602k) and in the demo (202k vs. 113k). AC 360 also posted significant growth vs. a year ago, increasing +51% in total viewers and +58% in the demo. MSNBC’s Hayes decreased -24%/-53% from a year ago.
  • CNN programming at 9pm ranked #2 in the demo in cable news this month, increasing +71% in total viewers (597k) and +111% in the demo (213k) from a year ago.  MSNBC’s flagship primetime program The Rachel Maddow Show trailed CNN again this month, ranking #3 in the demo (147k), shedding -51% of its audience from a year ago.
  • CNN programming at 10pm (mostly CNN Tonight) topped MSNBC in the demo this month (176k vs. MSNBC’s 106k).  At 10pm, CNN increased +57% in total viewers and +66% in the demo – while MSNBC declined -26%/-51%.
  • Smerconish ranked #2 in total viewers and the demo – increasing +83% in total viewers and +66% in the demo on Saturdays at 9am.  At 6pm, the program ranked #1 in the demo with 154k, Fox News followed with 131k and MSNBC had 125k.
  • Fareed Zakaria GPS ranked #2 in both total viewers and the demo 25-54 at 10am and 1pm.  GPS grew double-digits in both demos, both hours; while MSNBC declined double-digits.
  • Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter ranked #2 this month in both total viewers (603k) and among 25-54 (170k) at 11am.  RS increased +66% in total viewers and +59% in the demo vs. last year. 

MSNBC Monthly Lows:

  • In Total Day, MSNBC’s demo delivery (81k) is its lowest since May 2005 and total viewer delivery (313k) is the lowest since December 2007;
  • In M-Su Primetime, MSNBC’s demo delivery (122k) is the lowest since July 2005;
  • In M-F Primetime, MSNBC’s demo delivery (120k) is the second lowest since July 2005;
  • In Dayside (9a-4p), MSNBC’s demo delivery (36k) is its lowest in over 15 years (since October 1999) and total viewer performance (232k) is the lowest since December 2007;
  • Weekday mornings (6-9am), MSNBC’s Morning Joe had its second lowest demo delivery (79k)  in over seven years (since November 2007) and fourth lowest in total viewers (327k) since August 2008;
  • All in with Chris Hayes, which debuted in April 2013, had its second lowest monthly demo delivery (113k) on record (after October 2014).  In the M-F 8pm hour, MSNBC had its second lowest demo delivery since August 2005 (after October 2014);
  • The Rachel Maddow Show had its second lowest monthly demo delivery (147k) on record (after October 2014) this month.
  • The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, also averaged its second lowest monthly delivery (109k) on record (after October 2014) and the network’s lowest 10pm delivery since May 2005.

Data is a blend of Nielsen Live+SD and the more inclusive Live+3 and final Live+7 data when available.


Topics: Ratings
February 23rd, 2015
02:41 PM ET

CNN Announces Acquisition of GLEN CAMPBELL…I’LL BE ME from PCH Films

CNN Films Presents broadcasts planned for June and November 2015 through exclusive sponsorship with Eli Lilly and Company

CNN announced today the exclusive acquisition of the domestic broadcast rights for the critically-acclaimed feature documentary GLEN CAMPBELL…I'LL BE ME from PCH Films.

Featuring the Grammy Award®-winning and Academy Award®-nominated song, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” sung by Glen Campbell himself, the heartbreakingly beautiful, funny, inspiring film directed by James Keach and produced by Trevor Albert and Keach follows the long goodbye that is Alzheimer’s disease as Campbell, and his family, struggle with the diagnosis and progression of the illness through his poignant “Goodbye Tour” in 2011 to 2012.

The network intends the CNN Films Presents broadcast of GLEN CAMPBELL…I'LL BE ME to premiere on CNN in June, and then encore in November of 2015.

“We look forward to having the Campbells’ brave story – unfortunately familiar to too many American families – on CNN. This partnership will guarantee that millions of people will have the opportunity to see our movie and understand just how important it is to both raise awareness – and find an end – to Alzheimer’s disease,” said producer Trevor Albert.

“Eli Lilly and Company has been committed to advancing Alzheimer’s research and treatment for over 25 years,” said Katrina Cukaj, executive vice president, CNN Ad Sales. “Through this thoughtful partnership, we are proud to align our efforts around this powerful film.”

Director/producer James Keach added, “Here’s a guy, an iconic musician, who was faced with having to hang up his guitar, his career over, but instead, he says, ‘I ain’t done yet. I’m going out to show what this disease is,’ because he wants to change the conversation. If that ain’t a hero, I don’t know what is.”

In 2011, Campbell set out on an unprecedented tour across America. Having just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Glen Campbell went public about his diagnosis, and together with his wife Kim, launched the Goodbye Tour. Originally planned for a five week run, his health – and popular demand – enabled the tour to expand to 151 spectacular sold out shows over the next year and a half. The Campbell family also together lobbied Congress for more funding for a cure. The film documents this amazing journey as Campbell and his family and friends attempt to navigate the wildly unpredictable nature of Campbell’s progressing disease using love, laughter, and music.

The five-time Grammy Award®-winning artist sold more than 50 million albums in a singular career that includes extraordinary vocals and music like “Gentle on My Mind,” “Southern Nights,” and “Rhinestone Cowboy.” Campbell also artistically collaborated with Elvis Presley, Stevie Wonder, Frank Sinatra, the Beach Boys, and so many others, using his renowned perfect pitch and flawless guitar skills to help usher country music into the mainstream. Artists including Bruce Springsteen, Blake Shelton, Paul McCartney, The Edge, Kathy Mattea, Sheryl Crow, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, and many others including President Bill Clinton, contribute their memories of Campbell to the film.

The acquisition deal between CNN Films and PCH Films was negotiated by Courtney Sexton and Stacey Wolf of CNN, and by Lisa Callif of Donaldson+Callif on behalf of the filmmakers.

The soundtrack for the film is available on Big Machine Records.

Recent CNN Films broadcast premieres include WHITEY: United States of America v James J. Bulger, directed by Joe Berlinger; IVORY TOWER, an exploration of the value of a traditional college education, directed by Andrew Rossi; DINOSAUR 13, about paleontologist Peter Larson’s multi-year odyssey to bring his history-making find of the Tyrannosaurus rex “Sue” to the world, directed by Todd Miller; and LIFE ITSELF, a biographical profile of renowned, Pulitzer prize-winning film critic, Roger Ebert, directed by Steve James.

About CNN Films

CNN Films produces and acquires documentary feature films for theatrical exhibition and distribution across CNN’s multiple platforms.  Amy Entelis, svp of talent and content development and Vinnie Malhotra, svp of development and acquisitions, oversee the strategy for CNN Films.  For more information about CNN Films, please visit and follow @CNNFilms via Twitter.


About CNN

CNN Worldwide is a portfolio of two dozen news and information services across cable, satellite, radio, wireless devices and the Internet in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. Domestically, CNN reaches more individuals on television, the web and mobile devices than any other cable TV news organization in the United States; internationally, CNN is the most widely distributed news channel reaching more than 271 million households abroad; and CNN Digital is a top network for online news, mobile news and social media. Additionally, CNN Newsource is the world’s most extensively utilized news service partnering with hundreds of local and international news organizations around the world. CNN is division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company.


About PCH Films

PCH Films, based in Los Angeles, California, is a multimedia company founded by James Keach, Jane Seymour, and Trevor Albert in 2007. The company develops, produces, and finances feature film, TV, documentaries, animation and music. The partners’ extensive credits include Walk The Line, Groundhog Day, League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Because Of Winn Dixie, National Lampoons Vacation, Dr Quinn Medicine Woman, award-winning documentary Disease Of the Wind and many others.  PCH has numerous projects in development including an animated feature adaptation of the best-selling children’s book Skippyjon Jones written by Judy Schachner and adapted by Pete Goldfinger and Josh Stoleberg. They are also developing an adaptation of the Bram Stoker award-winning author Peter Straub’s short story “Mr. Clubb and Mr. Cuff,” which is being written by Bill Fitzhugh.


February 22nd, 2015
03:03 PM ET

Gov. Kasich: fighting ISIS "at some point it will require boots on the ground"

CNN’s State of the Union features Gloria Borger’s exclusive interview with Ohio Governor John Kasich (R-OH) about his possible presidential campaign, the Republican Party platform, and U.S. foreign policy.



Kasich on the 2016 election: “a Republican can't be elected president without winning Ohio, and if they're going to come to Ohio, extremism isn't going to work.”

Kasich on ISIS policy: “I'm just suggesting to you that at some point, in dealing with ISIS, you mark my words, whether John Kasich, you ever hear from him again, at some point it will require boots on the ground from the world to be able to deal with this problem. And I would rather deal with it sooner than later, but you just don't go running over there. You've got to have a battle plan, you've got to figure out exactly what you're going to do, but I would never suggest that we should engage in nation building, or trying to convert all these people to our way of life. We need stability, and we need to stop this.”

Kasich on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress: “Well I'd have a meeting with him. We'd have a cup of coffee, why not? This is, they're making such a big deal. And the guy, you know, been invited to come speak to Congress. Let him speak, and the president can have a meeting with him, they don't have to have a photo op or anything but of course you go and you talk to him. I mean that's the way I look at it. I mean, but I'm not president again and I'm not sure I will ever be president, because I haven't decided whether I'm even going to try for that yet. 24:29 But what I would tell you is use common sense. You got a foreign leader coming, a great ally of ours, he's coming here. Was it handled in maybe a clumsy way? Okay, so it was. But look, get beyond that. See that's our problem, Gloria, we spend too much time either trying to be politically correct, play to the cameras, play to our base. 24:50 I worry about America. For the first time in my lifetime, I'm worried about us. I'm worried about how our values to some degree have been eroded, of personal responsibility and compassion, and teamwork. I worry about it, I worry about the fact that we're so divided. But do I think it can be fixed? I have no doubt, because I saw Ronald Reagan do it, and I've seen other great leaders throughout history. Harry Truman, whatever party they are they can bring us together, it can happen.”

Topics: CNN Politics • Gloria Borger • ISIS • Israel • State of the Union
February 22nd, 2015
02:47 PM ET

On GPS: A public dispute between U.S. & Israel

CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS features a political panel about ISIS and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East with Graeme Wood, the author of What ISIS Really Wants, Shadi Hamid, a fellow at the Brookings Institution Center for Middle East Policy, and Peter Beinart, an associate professor of political science at the City University of New York and a CNN political commentator.


Beinart on Obama’s approach to ISIS: “From the point of view of American foreign policy, we, as a nation, have done best when we have defined our enemies narrowly. We did not fight a war - a cold war - against communism, or when we, and when we tried - for most - for our most effective periods of the Cold War, we allied with Yugoslavia, a communist country, against the Soviets. We allied with China against the Soviets. We narrowed our enemies and therefore put more strength on our side. What’s important about what Obama is doing is he's trying to keep our enemies narrow. We are going to need to ally with people who we call - maybe call themselves Islamists in order to defeat ISIS, maybe even people who call themselves Salafi jihadists, whatever that means, just as we allied with communists against the Soviet Union. We didn't fight all fascists in World War II. We never declared war on Franco's Spain. So I think the ideological part, while it's important, shouldn't be what drives American foreign policy.”

Wood on Jerusalem’s reaction to ISIS propaganda: “Certainly ISIS is no fan of Israel. But Israel's main point for ISIS is certainly its propaganda value, but also its place in the apocalypse. ISIS believes that it’s foretold that the armies of Islam will eventually rally around Jerusalem after being defeated, actually. So they believe that they will, after conquering a large area of land, eventually be reduced to a core of 5,000 fighters around Jerusalem. That's one of the most common ways that Jerusalem is referred to in the propaganda of ISIS.”

Hamid on ISIS’s targets of anger: “Where al Qaeda was obsessed with the West, ISIS is focused on Iraq, Syria, the immediate surroundings. They hate Arab rulers more than they hate Israeli leaders. And that does, that should affect how we react to them and how we think about the threat that they face. So in that sense, they're less of a direct threat on the American homeland, but they are very much a threat to Middle East stability.”

Beinart on Obama-Netanyahu rift: “The reason this clash is so fierce is it goes to the heart of the legacies of both men. Benjamin Netanyahu sincerely believes that he is Winston Churchill in the 1930s - the only person wise enough and brave enough to sound the alarm about a potential - about a potential Nazi-like threat. Barack Obama sees himself as much more akin, I would say, to Richard Nixon in the 1970s, trying to make - look at the possibilities of making an opening to Iran, which would be like an opening to China, which would rejigger the entire power balance in the Middle East and allow America to solve problems they can't solve now and put itself in a much stronger position. It's not just that these guys don't like each other. It's not just that Obama is a Democrat and that Netanyahu plays footsie with the Republicans all the time. It really goes to the core of the way they see themselves historically.”


Topics: Fareed Zakaria GPS • Iran • Iraq • ISIS • Israel
February 22nd, 2015
02:42 PM ET

"I didn't see anything like that happen" says CBS Correspondent with O'Reilly during the Falklands

Today on CNN’s Reliable Sources hosted by Brian Stelter, Eric Engberg, a correspondent for CBS News for 26 years, shared his account of Argentina during the Falklands War.  As a former colleague of Bill O’Reilly, Engberg disputes the Fox Anchor’s description of Argentina as a ‘war zone’. A transcript and videos from the show are available below.


Engberg on O’Reilly’s description of the protests in Argentina: “I didn't see that happen.  I didn't see anything like that happen.  I don't know of any American foreign correspondent who had a weapon pointed at him.  But the important thing is, I didn't hear any gunfire.  Not only did I not hear any gunfire, as I say, I didn't hear any sirens.  I would - I came to Argentina from years of experience in Washington covering anti-war demonstrations against Vietnam War in Washington.”

Engberg on O’Reilly’s story about the CBS correspondents: What he just said was a fabrication, a lie.  There were five CBS correspondents, including him, assigned to the bureau.  They were under the direction of Larry Doyle, one of our very first field producers.  You marines out there will understand what I was saying.  He was a lurp in the marines in Vietnam before he went to CBS.  He's a very skilled operator in combat and dangerous situations.   He sent all five of the correspondents and all 10 or 12 of the camera crew members out into the street.  Nobody stayed in their hotel room because they were afraid.  We were all working and we saw what looked - what was a moderate size riot.  It was a couple thousand people attacking Casa Rosada, or the area around the Casa Rosada, by waving their arms, by clapping and chanting and singing songs.   Nobody attacked the soldiers.  Nobody attacked the police.  There was nobody lying on the ground when it was over that I saw.”


February 22nd, 2015
02:31 PM ET

Wolfowitz: Jeb Bush "is his own man"

On CNN's State of the Union Iraq war architect Paul Wolfowitz discussed the fight for Iraq a decade later and the role of radical Islam with Gloria Borger. A full interview of the transcript is available after the jump.


February 22nd, 2015
09:59 AM ET

DHS Sec: "very concerned" about independent terrorists in the US

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson joined Gloria Borger to comment on al-Shabaab’s recent terror threat, tension in Congress between immigration and the Department of Homeland Security’s funding, and Rudy Giuliani’s comments about President Obama.


On the nature of al-Shabaab’s recent terror threat: “We’re in an environment right now where I suspect these groups are competing for attention.  ISIL has received a lot of attention through their very effective use of the Internet, social media.  And we’re now seeing, for example, AQAP in its most recent addition of "Inspire", a whole chapter on how to build a nonmetallic device, as well as this most recent public cotton buds.  So, my concern is these groups were actually competing for attention and for fundraising and recruitment.”

On the safety of the Mall of America: “I would say that if anyone is planning to go to the Mall of America today, they’ve got to be particularly careful”

On appealing a federal judge’s decision to prohibit the processing of illegal immigrants: “We will appeal and we will seek a stay so that we can go back to implementation of our efforts to build accountability in the non-documented community.”

On Rudy Giuliani’s comments about Obama: “His comments were not helpful.  And I’m sorry to see statements like that coming from the former mayor whose response to 9/11 in 2001 I admired very much.  His response to me is a model for how government leaders should respond in times of crisis.  I think his most recent statements are very regrettable.”


Topics: Gloria Borger • ISIS • State of the Union
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