NEW YORK — CNN has canceled its highly promoted “Spin Room” and is reshuffling its primetime lineup yet again.
The nightly political talkshow aired its last episode on Friday.
“Greenfield at Large,” a new show hosted by CNN senior analyst Jeff Greenfield, will replace “Spin Room” weeknights at 10:30 beginning June 4. In the meantime, “CNN Tonight With Bill Hemmer” will temporarily expand to an hour until “Greenfield” launches.
“Spin Room” co-host and conservative wunderkind Tucker Carlson will join “Crossfire,” replacing Mary Matalin, who left the program in January to join the Bush administration.
CNN/U.S. exec VP and general manager Sid Bedingfield said the move was motivated by the desire to add Carlson and his “Spin” co-host Bill Press full-time to “Crossfire.” Press had been dividing his time between “Crossfire” and “Spin Room.” Carlson will join “Crossfire” on Thursday, alternating with Robert Novak.
” ‘Spin Room’ was a wonderful experiment that came out of our election coverage, but after looking closely at ‘Crossfire’ and ‘Spin Room,’ we decided we wanted to build ‘Crossfire,’ ” Bedingfield said.
More changes ahead
Insiders said that other programming changes are in the works at CNN, including the possibility that “Crossfire” will expand a half hour and air at 7 p.m. It’s also possible that “Lou Dobbs Moneyline” will shift to 6 p.m. so it will begin at the same time as rival CNBC’s “Business Center.” “Inside Politics” would be reduced by a half-hour to make room for an earlier “Moneyline.”
Bedingfield declined to confirm or deny the scheduling changes, except to say, “We’re always looking at our programming schedule and our programs.”
CNN’s attempt at the sort of politically provocative programming that has helped Fox News flourish, “Spin Room” officially launched Dec. 18 after airing throughout November in various timeslots. In April, the show averaged 428,000 viewers, a drop of 3% from last April, when the canceled “CNN NewsStand” was on the air. Meanwhile, Fox News’ “The Edge With Paula Zahn” averaged 446,000 total viewers in the timeslot, up 94% over last April.
CNN is in nearly 20 million more homes than Fox News.
Bedingfield characterized “Spin Room’s” ratings as “not bad at all for that half hour.”
When CNN first announced the Greenfield show in February, the net said it would launch in April in a 6 p.m. timeslot. Bedingfield said the program was pushed to a later slot because “it’s going to a be a smart and intriguing show, which will work better in a later timeslot.”
During the 6 p.m. slot it would have faced tough competition. Fox News’ “Special Report With Brit Hume,” which averaged 461,000 viewers in April, is up 68% from the same period a year ago. But Bedingfield said the competish wasn’t a consideration.
“Greenfield at Large” will feature guests from all walks of life addressing the compelling issues and news stories of the day.