CNN adds SC GOP reality show to Fall schedule

by William Moultrie

Atlanta – CNN, the once-dominant force in cable news, is turning to reality programming in an effort to stem the tide of lost viewers. Beginning in early August and continuing through the November election, CNN will be airing “The Real GOP Consultants of South Carolina,” a weekly hour-long show featuring some of the Palmetto State’s more prominent Republican political consultants.

gop-consultants-of-scDana Franks, CNN’s newly-hired director of non-emergent reality programing, says the show isn’t about pandering to television trends in an effort to boost ratings.

“Don’t think for a minute that this show isn’t about news,” said Franks. “Politics is news and what happens behind the scenes is of interest to all of us. Sure we picked South Carolina because of their history, but that doesn’t mean we’re trying to sensationalize the process — to the contrary, we’re looking for the truth.”

“Of course they picked the South Carolina Republican Party,” said Professor Ben Tillman, of Furman University. “The SC GOP has a rich history of dirty tricks and crooked schemes. This Haley thing is just the latest one, but you have to remember, this is the place where John McCain’s first presidential run died at the hands of deceptive push-polling and that’s only the one people know about. Hell, this is the home state of Lee Atwater, father of the Willie Horton ad campaign that sunk Dukakis in 1988. This stuff happens all the time, but usually nobody finds out who was behind it. I’ll be interested to see how in-depth the show manages to get or if it will just be a puff piece.”

The press kit for the show indicated that the primary focus would be on the team behind the Republican running for Governor as well as two or three of the Congressional races.

“We obviously won’t be able to completely nail down the format until after the June 8 primary and likely run-offs,” said Franks, “but we’ve had preliminary discussions with most of the key players and everyone seems interested. Outside of the major campaigns, we’ll also be following several of the more prominent conservative bloggers such as Will Folks, who recently claimed to have had an ‘inappropriate physical relationship’ with current GOP gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley. Other bloggers and consultants will likely come and go as the we approach the election.”

“We considered covering the Democrats as well,” Franks continued, “but frankly, they’re just not as interesting. Plus, if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past ten years, it’s that cable news no longer needs to show the objectivity that we once did. And besides, we think there’s a fair chance that showing the inner workings of the GOP will be just as beneficial to the Democrats as it will be to the candidates we’re following.”

CNN was once the undisputed leader in cable news, but as it’s celebrating 30 years on the air, it is finding itself with an ever-dwindling audience in the face of increased competition from Fox News and MSNBC. “The Real GOP Consultants of South Carolina” will air Sunday nights at 11.

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Posted in Features, Politics
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