Former Fox News host Chris Wallace said he’s not sure of his plans after CNN’s streaming service CNN+ collapsed and is scheduled to end after only a month amid reported dismal subscriber numbers.
“I’m in good shape, whether it’s CNN or someplace else. Frankly, what I’m mostly concerned about right now, and very, is my team and hundreds of other people … that had jobs at CNN+,” Wallace said Sunday during an event with Common Ground.
Wallace, who departed Fox News several months ago to join the CNN streaming platform, said that some of these individuals “had left CNN to go to streaming. Some of them had left other places, moved across the country.”
CNN’s executives and its parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery, announced last week that CNN+ should be shut down at the end of April amid reports that it had a low subscriber base.
Wallace, the son of CBS reporter Mike Wallace, then claimed that the collapse of the platform is “an interesting thing, and I’ve been a victim of all of this in the last week.” He didn’t elaborate.
“The idea was you’ve got to get a foothold in the streaming world because that’s where the future of news off the mainstream networks is going to be. Now you have some equally smart people that have come in with a diametrically opposed view, these are the new bosses at CNN+ because of [the Warner Bros. Discovery merger] who have come to the conclusion that to have a narrow niche product like a news streaming service doesn’t work,” Wallace said.
When announcing the service would be scrapped, Discovery executive J.B. Perrette blamed a “complex streaming market” for the move. CNN+ was launched on March 29, meaning the platform only survived about one month.
“We have very exciting opportunities ahead in the streaming space and CNN, one of the world’s premier reputational assets, will play an important role there,” Perrette also said.
There were reports, citing unnamed sources, that fewer than 10,000 viewers were watching CNN+ at any given time despite a lengthy, expensive advertising campaign. A report from The Associated Press, meanwhile, said that $100 million was spent on the development costs for CNN+, and 500 employees were reassigned.
It also featured programming from food-media host “Roman,” former NPR host Audie Cornish, former NBC News host Kasie Hunt, left-wing writer Jemele Hill, and current CNN hosts Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer, Jake Tapper, Sara Sidner, and others. Some of the shows had not started.
After the announcement, a number of pundits wrote on social media that it’s not clear why CNN would try to launch a streaming video platform when a number of its cable news programs are lagging behind Fox News and MSNBC in terms of ratings.