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"This is CNN."

More commonly known as CNN, this is the first of the full-time American cable news networks. In fact, it was one of the first cable networks, period. Founded in 1980 by Atlanta-based media mogul Ted Turner, CNN is now a subsidiary of Time Warner and the world's second largest network (behind The BBC).

When not reporting breaking news, CNN mostly features a plethora of talking heads, discussing the ramifications of said news. Whether the network is unfairly biased toward Democrats or Republicans is a classic dispute. Enough people believe that CNN is biased toward one side or the other that its rivals, Fox News and MSNBC, have been quite successful in their overt attempt to pull away, respectively, more conservative and liberal viewers. Some (particularly Jon Stewart) have accused it of putting a fast-paced feel with an overabundance of Yet Another Baby Panda stories above serious discussion and investigative journalism.

Lately, to differentiate itself from its partisan rivals, CNN has been downplaying its ideologically charged, pundit-focused talk shows in favor of allegedly more sober reporting. This is best evidenced by the way that it cancelled the talk show Lou Dobbs Tonight, which many people feel is the result of the controversy that the show had been garnering in recent years due to Dobbs' outspoken views regarding immigration, President Obama's citizenship, and the supposed "North American Union". However, they have kept the outspoken liberal Joy Behar on their payroll on HLN, and some of their straight news hosts have been accused of bias.

Current programming includes American Morning; The Situation Room; State of the Nation; Erin Burnett Out Front; Fareed Zakaria GPS; Anderson Cooper 360, and Piers Morgan Tonight.

Trope Namer/inspiration for Alphabet News Network.

The channel has a number of spinoffs and international versions:

  • CNN International airs outside the United States, and has a reputation for featuring more news and fewer talking heads. It is the second most-watched news network in the world, behind BBC World News, its main competitor.
  • HLN, formerly known as CNN Headline News, which once aired just that. Lately, however, it's suffered from a bad case of Network Decay, catering to news/current affairs talk shows (during primetime and late night/early morning hours), pop culture/celebrity reporting, and Missing White Woman Syndrome.
  • CNN Airport Network, a channel seen only in airports, which shows mostly CNN rebroadcasts and looping weather and airport delay forecasts, but specifically removes all mention of stories such as plane crashes or other events which might make wary travelers panic before they get onto a plane, along with stories that shouldn't be shown on a public channel with children around.
  • Two Spanish-language channels:
    • CNN en Español, focusing on Latin American news but also seen in Spain.
    • CNN+, a channel just for Spain.
  • CNN Türk, the Turkish version of CNN. Notable for being CNN's first foreign version, and for being the first Turkish TV channel to be established in partnership with a foreign media company.
  • CNN-IBN, the Indian version of CNN.
  • CNNj, the Japanese version of CNN.
  • CNN Chile, the Chilean version of CNN.

Former spinoffs include:

  • CNN Sports Illustrated or CNNSI, their answer to ESPN's Sports Center, which had the misfortune of coming into being around the same time as ESPNEWS. After years of struggling for an audience and cable coverage, it went off the air in 2002.
  • CNN Italia, the Italian version of CNN. It went off the air in 2003.
  • CNNfn, their answer to CNBC. It encountered the same problems as CNNSI, and went off the air in 2004.