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CNN is planning to replace Soledad O’Brien’s “Starting Point” with a new morning show, Politico’s Dylan Byers reports. The new program would be co-hosted by Chris Cuomo, who joins the cable network from ABC. O’Brien’s show has suffered low ratings, as has CNN generally, but a spokesperson tells Byers, “Soledad is very important to the network, and we’re discussing various options with her.”
The news comes one week after Jeff Zucker started as CNN’s new president. Zucker, who was formerly NBC’s president and chief executive, reportedly planned to start focusing on O’Brien’s show after assuming his new role.
In a Q&A last month, The New York Times’ Andrew Goldman asked O’Brien if she was scared about the changes Zucker could make to “Starting Point.” “Not at all,” she said. “He was my boss years ago when I worked at the ‘Today’ show. I’m absolutely thrilled to have him back.”
When asked about reports that Zucker was thinking of moving Erin Burnett from evenings to mornings, O’Brien responded: “Listen, I have been doing this gig for a while. People go crazy with speculation every time there’s a shift in leadership. I can’t comment on every rumor, but so far I’ve read reports on me, Anderson, Piers, Ann Curry and Erin Burnett, and all that’s clear to me is that somebody’s busy dialing Page Six.”
O’Brien told TVNewser’s Gail Shister last month that she “longs to be on a team that strategizes how to win,” and that she has looked forward to working with Zucker: “He knows news. He knows winning. He knows morning TV.”
O’Brien, who has been anchoring “Starting Point” since January 2012, gained attention last fall after her contentious interview with former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu. When she was at Poynter in October 2011, O’Brien said other journalists thought she was “crazy” for moving from network TV to cable after she started at CNN in 2003. For her, she said, it was a no-brainer.