CNN was founded in 1980 by American media proprietor Ted Turner as a 24-hour cable news channel. Upon its launch, CNN was the first television channel to provide 24-hour news coverage, and was the first all-news television channel in the United States.
Driven by live coverage of the year’s US presidential election, 2016 was CNN’s most-watched year in its history. Throughout the campaign, the network aired unedited coverage of many of the Trump campaign rallies. Aides for Republican candidates Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Ted Cruz accused CNN president Jeff Zucker of undermining their candidates during the Republican primaries. Zucker acknowledged that it had been a mistake to air so many of the campaign rallies. CNN also drew criticism during the election for hiring former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who was still being paid by and was effectively working on behalf of the campaign.
The network’s morning programming consists of Early Start, an early-morning news program hosted by Christine Romans and Dave Briggs at 4–6 a.m. ET, which is followed by New Day, the network’s morning show, hosted by Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota at 6–9 a.m. ET. Most of CNN’s late-morning and early afternoon programming consists of CNN Newsroom, a rolling news program hosted by John Berman and Poppy Harlow in the morning and Brooke Baldwin in the afternoon. In between the editions of Newsroom, At This Hour with Kate Bolduan at 11 a.m. to noon Eastern, followed by Inside Politics with John King, hosted by John King at noon Eastern, and Wolf with Wolf Blitzer at 1 p.m. Eastern.
CNN’s late afternoon and early evening lineup consists of The Lead with Jake Tapper, hosted by Jake Tapper at 4 p.m. Eastern and The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, hosted by Wolf Blitzer at 5–7 p.m. ET. The network’s evening and primetime lineup shifts towards more in-depth programming, including Erin Burnett OutFront at 7 p.m. ET, and Anderson Cooper 360° at 8–10 p.m. ET, followed by CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, hosted by Don Lemon at 10 p.m. to midnight Eastern.
The network’s overnight programming consists of CNN International program CNN Newsroom, Monday at 2–4 a.m. ET, and Tuesday through Friday at 12–4 a.m. ET.
CNN launched new series in the 9p.m. ET timeslot for the 2014–15 season, such as John Walsh’s The Hunt, This is Life with Lisa Ling, and Mike Rowe’s Somebody’s Gotta Do It. Jeff Zucker explained that this new lineup was intended to shift CNN away from a reliance on pundit-oriented programs, and attract younger demographics to the network. Despite this, Zucker emphasized a continuing commitment to news programming, as the 9 p.m. hour can be pre-empted as needed for expanded coverage of news events.
These changes coincided with the introduction of a new imaging campaign for the network, featuring the slogan “Go there”. In May 2014, CNN premiered The Sixties, a documentary miniseries produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman which chronicled the United States in the 1960s. Owing to its success, CNN would produce sequels focusing on the 1970s and 1980s for 2015 and 2016 respectively.
In August 2016, CNN announced the launch of its new initiative, CNN Aerial Imagery and Reporting (CNN AIR). It is a drone-based news collecting operation to integrate aerial imagery and reporting across all CNN branches and platforms, along with Turner Broadcasting and Time Warner entities.