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December 14th, 2010
11:17 AM ET

Piers Addresses CNN Staff: "Intersection Of Interest And Importance" – And Why Ratings Matter

Every Friday, CNN staffers gather in conference rooms across the bureaus, and use teleconferencing to conduct a brainstorming session. In mid-November, Piers Morgan and Executive Producer Jonathan Wald took part in the Q&A – and for the first time ever, we're releasing clips of the meeting.

In the video above, Piers and Jonathan discuss the "intersection of interest and importance" – and the importance of ratings.

"I look at this show as the intersection of interest and importance," said Wald. "And I tend to skew heavily toward interest, and if that happens to be important, that's great too."

He also talked about the CNN brand. "Leveraging everything that's here, and the power of CNN, which is easily the most important brand in television news, I think can go a long way," he said.

Piers discussed the importance of ratings. "Ratings are what matters, to me," he told the staff. "There's no point producing great television that you all think is brilliant, if no one is watching."

Coming up later this week – more behind-the-scenes videos from Piers and the show.

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soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. What's the point

    of white font on a bright blue canvas? Or am i the only one...

    December 14, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Jiggered

    What a load of mumbo-jumbo.

    December 14, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. PJ

    I find Morgan obnoxious and would never watch him. He is probably the worst choice to replace Larry King.

    December 14, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. neilson

    Ratings are extremely inaccurate and have nothing to do with how many people are watching. Popular shows get cancelled all the time because of the horrible way ratings are calculated. Look at what happened to Family Guy, it was by far Fox's most popular cartoon, I was in Highschool at the time and it was the most talked about show on TV. Yet because ratings are calculated by a handful of extremely limited neilsen boxes with extremely limited diversity Family Guy ended up getting cancelled because not enough grandmas were watching it. Who has ever known anyone with a neilsen box? Who has even heard of a neilsen box? They are ridiculously uncommon and are not distributed to certain types of communities and skip entire cities. Almost one hundreth of a percent of the american population take part in these "ratings", people are not even chose at random.

    Ratings are a farce, until cable and satellite companies report ratings from their own systems then they mean absolutely nothing.

    December 14, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Li Tai Fang

      Lesson number 1 in statistics: the percentage of the sampled is not important. It's the number that's important. If Nielsen samples 1000 *random* families, that's enough to do a good statistical analysis.
      Lesson number 2 in statistics: the sampled must be a good representation of the population. That, I do not know much about and you may argue a bit, but don't argue "it's only a tiny percentage of the population." The percentage is irrelevant.

      December 14, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • Fooglmog

        That's simply not true. Percentage absolutely is important, as it determines the range of error.

        Surveying 1000 in 10000 will get you a more accurate result than 1000 in 1,000,000... and to know what 1000 out of 300,000,000 people are doing is not useful to anyone. This is especially true when you start dissecting those respondents by demographic factors.

        December 14, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bloodhound24

        Percentage does matter. The smaller the percentage, the greater the margin of error. And the sampling is very much in question. Using satillite, and cable boxes to get a larger sample would be an excellent.

        December 14, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • dude

        Nielsen has less than 25000 members, thats not enough to get a sample of over 100,000,000 people. Neilsen also only samples specific areas. With so much programming and so many people its impossible for every show to get an accurate rating with only 25,000 boxes recording ratings. Its statistically impossible, 25000 is fine for a random poll with a question with 3 choices, it becomes completely insignificant when there are thousands of choices like with TV programming. They would need millions of boxes to accurately rate every program otherwise most shows except the really popular ones will receive a 0 score.

        December 14, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Nina

    Sorry, but I can't stand him at all!

    December 14, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Judgement

    I couldn't have said it better myself. Piers: "There's no point producing great television that you all think is brilliant, if no one is watching."

    This is the issue with most of the liberal networks they don't understand that people don't agree with their slant of the news, and instead of being objective it becomes an opinion piece. They omit important facts and always put conservative ideals and leaders in an unflaterring light. All they need to do is look at the ratings and see themselves getting killed in the ratings everyday by Fox news.

    December 14, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Drew

      Pot – Kettle – Black?

      Fox news is the most slanted opinionated news out there. Not that CNN isnt Liberal (they are not as bad as MSNBC) but come on.

      You think Fox news isn't slanted because they represent YOUR opinion, just like Liberals will probably defend MSNBC for the same reason.

      The fact that news organizations are more concerned with ratings and being sensational then actually reporting the news should be abhorrent to us. I would rather hear a robot simply reading facts then watch ANY mainstream media outlet.

      December 14, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. portalpunk

    content drives ratings, but ratings matter more than content. No $ No show

    December 14, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Wang Chung

    Really CNN you couldn't find anybody that could add to the diversity of faces on TV. Did we need another middle aged white guy on television as if there was a shortage. This is/was an important time slot on TV/cable and look what you are presenting to the world. It matters little if there is diversity behind the scenes and camera, what people see on TV/Cable actually matters as it sends the visual message. How about the "intersection of diversity of views and faces that the world sees on TV/Cable"

    December 14, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Jeffrey Allen Miller NY

    More important than ratings.... I'd love to know why cnn could not find one man or woman out of 310 million U.S. citizens who could not have replaced Larry King. It is ridiculous to me, as a veteran journalist, that the only candidate worthy of this new show came from the U.K. Thankfully, I don't have t.v. for if I did, I'd block the cnn channel in protest. Jeffrey Allen Miller NY

    December 14, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Bo

    I used to like Larry King. not sure I will be watching Piers Morgan. Dont quite like him.Could CNN not find anyone better than Morgan to fill that post ?

    December 14, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. edward

    whoopie doo! I wasn't crazy about Larry and Piers will probably stink too.

    December 14, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Jace

    Well count me as one viewer I rarely ever watched LKL except in election coverage, and I watched him last night. But I think Piers show will be interesting, and Piers I hope you get good guests like Pres. Obama, Hillary Clinton. And then fun people to.

    December 19, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse | Reply

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