CNN unveiled a new prime-time schedule to advertisers Thursday that further moves the cable channel away from a reliance on hard news and political chat.
Most significantly, CNN is getting out of the talk show game in the 9 p.m. hour, a crucial time slot for cable news channels and one where the network has struggled for years. Instead, CNN will rotate between original series and documentaries.
CNN once owned that hour when "Larry King Live" was a must for politicians and newsmakers. But Fox News and MSNBC developed their own loyal audiences and King's ratings tumbled. King's successor, Piers Morgan, fared even worse and he was pushed out earlier this year.
New shows for the 9 p.m. hour include "Somebody's Gotta Do It," hosted by Mike Rowe, best known for his Discovery Channel series "Dirty Jobs." CNN said Rowe's new program will be a tribute to "innovators, do-gooders, entrepreneurs, collectors, fanatics -- people who simply have to do it."
Also slotted for 9 p.m. is "The Jesus Code," which the network said "will take viewers on a forensic and archeological journey through the Bible." John Walsh, the host of the long-running "America's Most Wanted," is getting his own CNN show called "The Hunt" about ongoing criminal investigations. Lisa Ling, who previously had a documentary series on OWN, the network co-owned by Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications. will have her own series as well.
CNN also said it will air a documentary in that hour once a week.
"The best journalism is, at its core, great storytelling," CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker said.
The network will continue to air "Erin Burnett Outfront" at 7 p.m. and "Anderson Cooper 360" at 8 p.m. At 10 p.m., CNN will launch a new one-hour program called simply "CNN Tonight."
Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times