Will Soledad O’Brien survive new CNN overhaul?
Veteran TV exec Jeff Zucker spent over two decades at NBC, starting as a researcher in 1986 and ending as the President and CEO of NBC Universal before he left in 2010 amid the network's merger with Comcast.
After a stint producing Katie Couric's new daytime talk show, he was announced in November 2012 as the new president of the ratings-challenged CNN, with his run to begin Jan. 1. So far, he's set in motion a flurry of changes, according to the Wall Street Journal, that appears to threaten the morning gig of longtime CNN contributor Soledad O'Brien.
Aside from confirming the departure of CNN's managing editor Mark Whitaker's departure, CNN said Tuesday that it had hired Chris Cuomo for a "major role in a new CNN morning show," expected to be launched this spring. He is the third reporter that Zucker has poached from ABC News or its cable sibling, ESPN, since coming on board. ABC and ESPN are both owned by the Walt Disney Co.
O'Brien, who anchors CNN's current low-rated morning show, will remain at CNN, reports the Wall Street Journal, and is in discussion about her future role, according to a CNN spokeswoman.
CNN is also overhauling its lineup of political pundits, with the departure of be the husband-and-wife team of political commentators, James Carville and Mary Matalin, CNN confirmed. Conservative commentator Erick Erickson also confirmed on his blog that he was also moving on from CNN.
Whitaker, a former Newsweek editor and NBC News executive who had been at CNN since 2011, was regarded as a champion of international reporting.
Under Whitaker, there was a belief that CNN should differentiate itself from the cable news pack by focusing on the one thing it could do that its rivals couldn't: deliver hard news, instantly, from anywhere in the world.
But CNN in the past couple of years has fallen further behind its more opinionated rivals, Comcast Corp.'s MSNBC and News Corp's Fox News Channel, in prime-time ratings.
Current and former CNN employees believe Whitaker's departure, combined with the recent hires, signals that Zucker is looking to pull back CNN's international reporting somewhat and focus more on the kinds of stories that Americans are talking about on any given day.
"News is about more than just politics and war," Zucker told reporters in November when he was named for the CNN job. "In order to stay relevant in the times when there is not breaking news, we have to understand that news can be defined in different ways."
Zucker, who has a background in news as the former longtime executive producer of NBC News' "Today" show, will take over the editorial functions formerly handled by Whitaker.
+ Top Story
Russell Baze’s is stuck in a dead-end job at a rural Pennsylvania steel mill rumored to be closing soon. He’s not in a position to abandon the Rust Belt in search of greener pastures, between having to care for his terminally-ill, widowed father and a kid brother, Rodney Jr., suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
At 10:30AM on Tuesday morning, Kim Fields said hello to the latest addition to their family; a baby boy. Fields kind of stole the spotlight from Halle Berry over the summer, who surprised many by announcing she was pregnant at the age of 47.
With the Thanksgiving holiday falling about as late as possible this year, the typical year-end glut of film releases is on an abbreviated schedule. Perhaps for that reason, a healthy percentage of award-friendly movies have already come our way, including 12 Years a Slave...
Nelson “Mandiba” Mandela (Idris Elba) secretly started writing his autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom” while still serving what he had every reason to believe might very well be a life sentence on Robben Island. The lawyer-turned-spokesman for the outlawed African National Congress had been...
Naima (Jennifer Hudson) is a single-mom struggling to pay the rent on the apartment she shares with son Langston (Jacob Latimore), 15, who’s the same age she was when she had him. Back then, she was as headstrong as he is now, which explains why she ran away from a good home...
‘Science has proved that the brains of white men are superior to the brains of black men.’ ‘The Bible has revealed that God made white men to rule over black men.’ Convinced of these ‘truths’, the rulers of South Africa embarked on a radical experiment...
TV One unveiled its lineup of holiday programming, which will include the premiere of two original specials, the network’s first-ever holiday variety show, “One Christmas”, on Saturday, November 30, 8PM/ET, and Russ Parr’s latest feature film, family drama A Christmas Blessing...
Now he’s gone and done it again. “Bill Cosby: Far From Finished” finds this king of comedy onstage in Cerritos, Calif., where he rules for the 90-minute special airing Saturday, Nov. 23 on Comedy Central (8 p.m. EST). Still, it’s fair to ask: Why so long a break, and why now for his return?