[Rushtalk] No Loss For CNN

Richard Whitenight rwhitenight2004 at gmail.com
Fri Feb 22 22:01:11 MST 2013

Soledad O'Brien is ending her morning-show contract with CNN and is moving
on to form her own documentary production company that will supply the
network with programming on a nonexclusive basis.

O'Brien's departure has been coming for some time. Even before president
Jeff Zucker took over in January, he said he planned to cancel O'Brien's
program, “Starting Point.”

CNN hasn't formally announced the details for a new morning show to replace

Zucker has already said, though, that the show will be co-hosted by Chris
Cuomo, who recently left ABC, and many network sources believe CNN
prime-time host Erin Burnett will join him.

O'Brien's new company, Starfish Media Group, will produce long-form content
for other networks and partners, according to a statement on CNN’s
She said the venture will allow for programming that examines
under-the-radar stories.

“The new partnership opportunity allows me to focus on what I love to do
the most, and to focus on the next stage of my career, owning my own work,”
she said, “At CNN, I am grateful to have been able to tell often
underreported stories and confront difficult topics. In the new production
venture, I will continue to shine a light on what we all find most
interesting about America.”

O’Brien expanded on her move in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter:
“We will produce movies-of-the-week, we’ll produce films, we’ll produce
scripted TV, nonscripted TV, documentaries, curriculum, public events.

“The idea is to get some of these stories that fly under the radar to be
the focus of a conversation, and we can sort of take a brand that’s been
very successful and leverage that a bit.”

She will produce two installments of her “Black in America” series for CNN,
but she is now a free agent who will produce documentaries for other

“Starting Point” was one of CNN's lowest-rated shows, attracting an average
of just around 234,000 viewers a day last year, marking CNN's smallest
morning audience in a decade.

O'Brien, though, said she was proud of the show and her tough interviews,
saying, “We became relevant in an important election.”

Republican guests and viewers, though, saw her confrontational style
differently, saying it reflected her liberal bias. John Sununu, a frequent
guest on the show, told Politico late last year he counted O’Brien as one
of the “triumvirate” of Obama spokeswomen: “There’s Debbie Wasserman
Schultz, Stephanie Cutter, and Soledad O’Brien.”

O'Brien, meanwhile, said the show never got “a ton of support” from the
network, but it was still able to drive stories. In addition, even though
she is working with the new production company, she remains open to
appearing on-camera on other networks in the future.

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Richard Whitenight
Arlington, Texas
"Show your support for the Wounded Warrior
Vietnam - Oct 68 to April 69 & Oct 69 to Oct 70
God bless America and our men and women in uniform.
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