CNN+ anchor Chris Wallace said Sunday he does not know what the future holds for him following the short-lived streaming platform announcing its shutdown, but said he is in “good shape whether it’s at CNN or someplace else.”
During a Common Ground Committee livestreamed event on “Media, Politics, and Polarization,” former CBS News correspondent and moderator Jacqueline Adams brought up the “elephant in the room.”
“Are there already enough choices for news sources out there and are the days of streaming already over?” she asked after noting CNN+’s demise.
“Wow that was quick,” Wallace remarked. “It’s an interesting thing and I’ve been a victim of all of this in the last week.”
He went on to say that when he came to CNN+, “smart people” such as Jeff Zucker touted streaming as the future of news, since people aren’t “getting these big, expensive 50-channel cable deals anymore.”
“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,” Wallace continued. “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.”
“I have absolutely no idea which is right and wrong, but the Discovery people are in charge and so they made the decision,” Wallace said.
He noted that ABC, CBS and NBC all offer ad-supported free streaming, but that it will be interesting to see since “a number of streaming services including Netflix [are] deciding that maybe you need a cheaper service where you do have to pay a subscription fee but you’re going to have ads as well.”
“You’re not just going to be able to watch, oh what, ‘Squid Game,’ for an hour uninterrupted,” he said.
Asked about his future plans, Wallace said he does not know yet.
“I mean my gosh, Jackie, it just happened on Thursday. Give me a couple days,” Wallace said.
“I will say this, I am going to be fine. I’m in good shape whether it’s at CNN or someplace else,” he added. “Frankly, what I’m mostly concerned about right now and very, is my team and the hundreds of other people. Because, you know, there were 300 people I think that had jobs at CNN+. Some of them had left CNN to go to streaming, some of them had left other places, moved across the country.”
After Wallace noted how CNN+ anchors have been working to help their teams find jobs at CNN or elsewhere, ABC’s Jonathan Karl chimed in that many of the producers and anchors hired for the service he has worked with and are very talented.
“There’s some very good people and I applaud your efforts to make sure that your team finds a good landing place,” Karl said.
Watch above, via YouTube [at the 27:30-minute to 32:45-minute mark].
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