Marc Maron is revealing he dodged a bullet with failed streamer CNN+.
The “WTF” podcast host revealed that he was approached by the short-lived streaming platform to host his own show for a “lot of money,” but he turned it down due to the timing of the offer.
Maron’s partner, filmmaker Lynn Shelton, died suddenly in 2020 of undiagnosed acute myeloid leukemia. Maron noted he “started doing Instagram Lives compulsorily on a daily basis” as part of the grieving process.
“It was me just kind of mumbling around and doing stuff around my house and ranting and raving about this or that, experiencing grief, and people were watching it and a lot of people got a lot out of it,” Maron told Vulture. “I got a lot of peculiar fans from that.”
The social media appearances caught the attention of the budding Warner Bros. Discovery flagship streamer.
“But it did engage me with an audience on a daily basis to the point where CNN offered me, on their defunct streaming service, a lot of money to do it on there,” Maron said, “and I was like, ‘I’m not gonna do it.’ Thank God I didn’t! But I knew that I needed to engage my voice that was performative, and that’s how I did it.”
CNN+ launched March 29, 2022, and subsequently shut down April 30 of the same year. Only 150,000 subscribers joined, with CNN Worldwide CEO and chairman Chris Licht issuing a statement at the time.
“We have therefore made the decision to cease operations of CNN+ and focus our investment on CNN’s core news-gathering operations and in further building CNN Digital,” Licht said. “This is not a decision about quality; we appreciate all of the work, ambition and creativity that went into building CNN+, an organization with terrific talent and compelling programming. But our customers and CNN will be best served with a simpler streaming choice.”
CNN+ included a Don Lemon talk show, a Jake Tapper book club, an Anderson Cooper show on parenting, plus CNN documentary films from “RBG” to “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice.”
Licht said in January 2023 that CNN as a whole needs to “restore trust” in the brand.
“You can talk to a lot of different people as to why that has eroded, but as opposed to looking back I will say one of our missions is to restore our reputation as the most trusted name in news,” Licht told The Los Angeles Times. “We certainly have research that shows that [trust] has eroded.”
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