CNN gets a new streaming site

The wobbly relationship between CNN and its new owner may be strengthened a bit.
A new streaming hub, “CNN Max,” was announced today by Warner Bros. Discovery. When it launches Sept. 27, it will be free to people who subscribe to the Max (formerly HBO Max) streamer. Specifics are unclear, but it appears to:
— Help cord-cutters, who might find themselves without a full-time news channel. This will have separate shows, but will cover breaking news and use the regular CNN anchors.
— Be a convenient place to find past productions, including the Oscar-winning “Navalny” (shown here) and two Emmy-winning travel series with Stanley Tucci and with the late Anthony Bourdain. Read more…

CNN+: quick end to a bad idea

CNN+ now goes down as one of life’s really bad ideas.
It lasted three weeks longer than the Titanic, 13 months less than the Hindenburg. No one was killed, but lots of talent (including Chris Wallace, shown here) was wasted.
Officially, the streaming service will shut down on April 30, 32 days after it began. The cause-of-death is listed as corporate confusion: Officials went ahead with the plan, fully aware that the incoming owners (Discovery) might dislike the idea; they did and shut it down instantly.
But unofficially? This was just never a good idea. Read more…

Bourdain: a tasty life in motion

Anthony Bourdain was the guy who other guys wanted to be.
He was tall (6-foot-3) and handsome, in a craggy sort of way. He went everywhere and ate everything. He could talk easily to a master chef, a fish peddler or a rock star. Growing up, he once said, “all my heroes were musicians or writers.”
Bourdain (shown here) seemed wonderfully at ease with life, but that was an illusion; he committed suicide at 61.
This weekend (barring breaking news), CNN will look back at a remarkable life. At 9 p.m. Saturday (March 5), it has six episodes of “Parts Unknown,” Bourdain’s Peabody Award-winning series. At 9 p.m. Sunday (repeating at 11:30), it has the TV debut of “Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain.” Read more…

Zucker soared with CNN … after crashing with NBC

Jeff Zucker is following a plan embraced by politicians and poker players: Quit while you’re ahead.
Zucker announced Thursday that this will be his final year as president of CNN. Earlier, he soared as producer of “Today” … crashed as president of NBC … then bounced back. CNN has had strong ratings, forceful reporting … and lots of weekend programming — including two on Sunday (Feb. 14): “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy” (shown here) and “Lincoln: Divided We Stand.”
Both extremes – the CNN highs, the NBC lows –revolved around Donald Trump. Many things do. Read more…

King played a huge rule in CNN history

Even before there was a CNN, the world knew Larry King.
Eventually, they would entwine. For 25 years, King – who died Saturday at 87 – hosted a weeknight talk show (shown here) on CNN; at times, he was the most prominent piece of an obscure network.
“Larry King really made CNN,” anchorman Wolf Blitzer said during its coverage of King on Saturday. Read more…

It was a hard-rocking (yet peaceful) presidency

For Jimmy Carter – the sweet-faced, soft-voiced peanut farmer – many images come to mind.
Few of them involve long-haired rockers with wailing guitars – until now.
“It was the Allman Brothers who put us in the White House,” Carter, 96, says in “Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President” (shown here) a fascinating documentary movie that airs Sunday (Jan. 3) on CNN. The Allmans, he says, “were raising money when I didn’t have any.” Read more…

Conventions are over; take a breath … then rush

For a moment, TV people can pause for breath. It’s post-conventions rehab time.
The two parties have had their virtual gatherings. (The Republican finale is shown here.) People can worry about something else now … briefly. Coming soon are:
– Town halls, with candidates talking to undecided voters. ABC has set Donald Trump for Sept. 15; it has invited Joe Biden for a separate night.
– Debates. They’re set for Sept. 29, Oct. 15 and Oct. 22; the vice-presidential debate is Oct. 7. Read more…