For CNN, the birth of the Royal Baby (complete with His or Her own royal hashtag) is a royal opportunity.
Sure, everyone in the media muck will be diving into coverage of a story that nobody in the U.S. will actually admit to caring about, but which apparently a lot of people actually do. (Unfortunately for TV — which needs pictures to flesh out marathon coverage — the Royal Family is being appropriately circumspect, when what producers would really like is for them to pull a Michael Jackson and dangle the baby over a balcony.)
Still, CNN has the best profile and chance of cashing in on the US Weekly-style coverage — due to its stronger international presence, its talent lineup and the priorities of its two principal rivals.
Fox News Channel and MSNBC will feel obligated to weigh in, obviously, but likely with a nod to their ideological filters. So Fox will have to point out the inadequacies in the British socialized heathcare system — with an eye toward bashing Obamacare — while MSNBC won’t be able to stay focused for long without wondering whether Republican obstructionism is blocking the Royal birth canal.
Finally, CNN has made clear under new management it has no problem piling on lighter news in an effort to get noticed. And the channel already employs several high-profile Brits — most notably Piers Morgan, whose positively giddy coverage of the Royal Wedding and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee were ripe fodder for “The Daily Show.” (Incidentally, having John Oliver sub in for Jon Stewart this summer suddenly seems particularly well timed, doesn’t it?)
CNN has historically been reliant on major news events to bring viewers to the channel, its main challenge being that it has struggled to hang onto them after those events begin to fade. And while a lot of the news this summer has been terrible, there’s been enough of it to provide the channel (and indeed all the news nets) an at least temporary boost.
So is CNN destined to enjoy its own baby bump? Based on the coverage Monday morning, it certainly looks like they’re counting on one. The trick now will be to see if they can sustain it until the kid starts teething.