Cable News Network, more commonly known as CNN, is the first of the full-time American cable news networks. In fact, it was one of the first cable networks, period. Founded in 1980 by Atlanta-based media mogul Ted Turner, CNN is now a subsidiary of AT&T's WarnerMedia group (the owners of the Warner Bros. movie studio) and the world's second largest network (behind The BBC).
When not reporting breaking news, CNN mostly features a plethora of talking heads, discussing the ramifications of said news. In the past, people have disputed whether the network was unfairly biased toward Democrats or Republicans, but it has shifted left in recent years. Some (particularly Jon Stewart on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) have accused it of putting a fast-paced feel with an overabundance of Yet Another Baby Panda stories above serious discussion and investigative journalism.
Around the late 2000's and the early 2010's, to differentiate itself from its partisan rivals, CNN downplayed its ideologically charged, pundit-focused talk shows in favor of (allegedly) more sober reporting. This is best evidenced by the way that it cancelled the talk show Lou Dobbs Tonight, which many people feel is the result of the controversy that the show had been garnering in recent years due to Dobbs' outspoken views regarding immigration, President Obama's citizenship, and the supposed "North American Union". However, some of their straight news hosts have been accused of bias.
After Lou Dobbs left, CNN's lineup began transforming into a revolving door: Campbell Brown resigned, Rick Sanchez (who hosted Rick's List, a Web 2.0 news program that used to just be an average hour of Newsroom) was fired after controversial remarks on a radio show, State of the Union got downsized so John King could host a new weekday show, Eliot Parker left Parker Spitzer (which got downgraded to In the Arena before it got canned), Larry King retired (and was replaced by Piers Morgan, who would become a wildly controversial member of the team and develop an infamous feud with Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson), American Morning was split into Early Start and Starting Point, and John King's show got cancelled in favor of Erin Burnett. The changes led to some of CNN's worst ratings in years.
In 2013, Jeff Zucker, who formally worked for NBC Universal, took over as the new network president. It only took him a few months before he began making major changes: Chris Cuomo was snatched from ABC to host the new morning show New Day with Kate Bolduan, Jake Tapper got a new afternoon show in mid-March, plans for a new 10:00 pm ET show were revealed, and their classic debate show Crossfire got Un-Cancelled. Zucker also brought back the "classic" ticker, and after years of "generic local news announcer guy", brought back James Earl Jones and his famous Station Ident (alongside variants featuring various personalities).
All that said, CNN is still home to some genuinely awesome news reporting; Anderson Cooper, who won a Peabody Award for his coverage of Hurricane Katrina and is generally famous for being an Intrepid Reporter with a penchant for fair, honest, hard-hitting coverage from all corners of the globe, has been broadcasting in the 8pm slot with Anderson Cooper 360 since 2003, and British-Iranian journalist Christiane Amanpour is a household name in foreign affairs correspondence who is respected by government officials and world leaders all around the globe. Recently, Jake Tapper has been gaining traction for his honest yet snarky reporting, no-hand-holding interviws, and has even been responsible for massive news with his State Of The Union show.
As CNN is a controversial subject, please keep the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgement in mind.
The channel has a number of spinoffs and international versions:
- CNN International airs mainly outside the United States with a few systems airing it in America, and has a reputation for featuring more news and fewer talking heads. Also in contrast to the American original, it also has the tagline Go without borders to emphasize its supposedly "global" view. It is the second most-watched news network in the world, behind BBC World News, its main competitor.
- HLN, formerly known as CNN Headline News, which once aired just that. Every half hour would start with the top stories, followed by business stories. At 15 minutes they would quickly recap the top stories then cover sports, and at 25 minutes they would have a short human interest piece. Then it would start over again. Starting in 2005, however, it began to suffer from Network Decay, catering to news/current affairs talk shows (during primetime and late night/early morning hours), pop culture/celebrity reporting, live court cases, and Missing White Woman Syndrome.
- CNN Airport Network, a channel seen only in airports, which shows mostly CNN rebroadcasts and looping weather and airport delay forecasts, but specifically removes all mention of stories such as plane crashes or other events which might make wary travelers panic before they get onto a plane, along with stories that shouldn't be shown on a public channel with children around; when this happens, they quickly cut to a weather map.
- CNN en Español, a Spanish channel focusing on Latin American news but also seen in Spain.
- CNN Türk, the Turkish version of CNN. Notable for being CNN's first foreign version, and for being the first Turkish TV channel to be established in partnership with a foreign media company.
- CNN-IBN, the Indian version of CNN.
- CNNj, the Japanese version of CNN.
- CNN Chile, the Chilean version of CNN.
- CNN Brasil, the Brazilian version of CNN.
Former spinoffs include:
- CNN Sports Illustrated or CNNSI, their answer to ESPN's SportsCenter, which had the misfortune of coming into being around the same time as ESPNEWS (which was created as a Take That! move by ESPN against their competition). After years of struggling for an audience and cable coverage, it went off the air in 2002.
- CNN+, a Spanish-language channel for Spain which went off the air in 2010.
- CNN Italia, the Italian version of CNN. It went off the air in 2003.
- CNNfn, their answer to CNBC. It encountered the same problems as CNNSI, and went off the air in 2004.
- CNN Checkout Channel, a version of the Airport Network, targeted at grocery stores; it wasn't successful and was only in operation from 1991 to 1993.