CNN scored a coup with a high-profile interview with Angelina Jolie last week, attracting 1.33 million viewers, more than double the audience for anchor Anderson Cooper's typical newscast.
Since the news network does not usually traffic in the game of big celebrity interviews, it also drew its share of criticism for journalistic stargazing. Network chief Jonathan Klein defended the interview.
"I don't know of any news organisation that would not have talked to Angelina Jolie," Klein said, "and I also don't know of any other news organisation that would have aired that interview as the apex of a day's worth of coverage ... Of that important issue. It was both good journalism and well within the brand of CNN."
The day before the interview aired, CNN telecast several reports on the humanitarian crisis in Africa. That is the issue Jolie has focused on in her humanitarian work and was the focus of most of her interview with Cooper.
Since it was Jolie's first TV interview since gave birth to her baby with Brad Pitt, part of it included baby talk. CNN contends that material would have dominated any other TV interview.
That did not stop the critics, particularly given CNN's history as a low-frivolity network where news is supposed to be the star.
"News may still be a star at CNN today," wrote Scott Collins of the Los Angeles Times, "but I'm guessing it might be on the verge of throwing a tantrum about the reduced size of its dressing room.