What would you do if I told you that your friend, who is serious 24/7, was going to try stand up comedy? Perhaps you’d cringe a little, but ultimately you’d be interested. Thoughts of “could they actually pull it off,” would be too much for you to turn away. Well guess what? That scenario is turning into a reality, thanks to CNN’s new plan to add comedy to their roster.
It seems apparent that network executives are finally realizing that millennials (and even their gen X counterparts) like their news delivered with smart humor. The launch of Fusion earlier this week confirmed this, and New York Post’s Page Six reported last week that CNN is throwing their hat in the ring to go up against current heavyweight champions Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart, with CNN’s new prize fighter being former ABC newsman Bill Weir. Taking on Comedy Central’s heavy hitters is a tall order, but could CNN pull it off and take down comedy news’s current dynamic duo? Not likely, unless they had a heavy hitter of their own, like John Oliver, for example. The Post reported that CNN actually tried to get Oliver, but since he’s still committed to Comedy Central, that’s off the table.
While this whole idea is intriguing, nothing is for sure yet. One insider told The Post “Bill Weir hasn’t even joined CNN yet. He doesn’t start until November. But Weir is a news guy. He’s not a comedian.” Another inside source said, “CNN has always been straight news. This would be a big gamble.”
I suppose the only thing that is for certain is CNN is struggling and they are looking to pursue any avenue that gets them back in the right direction. The question is, can comedy really save a 24-hour news channel from sinking? And if so, will a rookie comedy show be enough to hold off or even slow down Comedy Central’s titans of comedy news?