Date: 30th August 2000

Kaplan Out At CNN

After a rocky three-year term as president of CNN, Rick Kaplan is expected to announce his resignation today (Wednesday), according to published reports.

At the same time, the reports added, CNN also plans to announce a major management revamp. Today's New York Times and Washington Post each observed that it was not clear whether Kaplan had been fired or was leaving on his own accord.

The Times cited unnamed CNN executives as saying that the company had become unhappy with his management of budgets and "his occasionally explosive temper." (A clash between Kaplan and Lou Dobbs, anchor of CNN's highly profitable Moneyline and president of CNNfn -- "the most-watched man on cable TV," according to today's New York Post -- reportedly led to Dobbs' resignation last year.)

However, the primary factor in Kaplan's departure appeared to be CNN's unchecked ratings slide. It finished the second quarter behind CNBC, the first time ever that it lost the top spot among cable news channels.

Still, the timing of Kaplan's departure confounded many analysts, who noted that it comes during a presidential election campaign and on the eve of the Time Warner-AOL merger. (CNN is a unit of Time Warner.) "They've rearranged the deck chairs on the Titanic," one person close to the network told the online entertainment magazine Inside. "The whole place is stunned."

Source: Studio Briefing