Why is CNN so obsessed with the town hall format?

By MixDex Article may include affiliate links

CNN has made a name for itself as the “town hall network” — producing multiple events on a wide variety of topics over the past year or so.

  • While the town hall format is not new nor unique to CNN, it is notable that the network has “latched on” to the format of late.
  • In its latest series of town halls the network has been featuring people running for president (or, in the case of Howard Shultz, people who may run for president).
  • “CNN is essentially casting itself as a kingmaker during these very early stages of the 2020 presidential race, offering town hall events to particular candidates that result in substantial promotion and on-screen countdown clocks,” writes Fox’s Brian Flood.
  • Although interest in the town halls varies greatly by the person being featured, the splashy events are still heavily promoted by the network.
  • It’s worth noting that the town hall format hasn’t done well in the ratings, either, with Schultz’s and Amy Klobuchar’s events both coming in third place among competitors Fox and MSNBC.
  • CNN sells commercial time during town halls, something that it typically can’t do during formal presidential debates such as the two night affair it will air in July.