Does CNN’s New Direction Include Reality Television?

It’s hard to know what to make of anonymous sources telling the New York Post that CNN plans to branch out into reality television, but the lagging news network isn’t denying it.

“CNN, which recently announced the hiring of Anthony Bourdain as a contributor, is continuing to explore other non-fiction original series for the weekend. We routinely pursue new talent and programming concepts within the news category and often shoot pilots for any number of our networks,” CNN spokeswoman Barbara Levin told TPM.The Post reported Monday that CNN is developing a late-night talk show in addition to scouting celebrities who could double as political pundits. The network is reportedly in touch with outside producers who have worked on shows for Bravo, Discovery and the History Channel.

Bourdain, the foul-mouthed and charismatic travel host, turned heads when he decided to take his talents to CNN earlier this summer. His weekend program for CNN will premiere sometime next year. The Post reports that Bourdain is the “prototype” for the type of talent CNN seeks.

For what it’s worth, CNN’s Washington bureau chief Sam Feist told Politico in June that the network is firmly dedicated to “worldwide news gathering and reporting a broad range of stories without picking sides.”

But with plummeting ratings and fumbling the summer’s biggest story, the network is clearly in need of a change of direction. CNN’s president Jim Walton will step down at the end of the year. In his announcement, Walton conceded that the network “needs new thinking.”

Read the Post’s report here.