Archive for the ‘Soledad O’Brien’ Category

“CNN’s Stephanie Elam” Returns to A.M.

May 5, 2013

Rob Marciano: I heard a familiar voice this morning…@Stephanie Elam nice work!” Friday, whilom CNN biz beauty Stephanie Elam returned anew as a CNN correspondent on early morning news programs Early Start and Starting Point much to the delight of her former CNN colleague and Entertainment Tonight co-host Rob Marciano and, assuredly, a myriad of her erstwhile American Morning fans.

For Early Start viewers, Stephanie came back as a friendly, familiar face invigorating the engaging new duo of  Zoraida Sambolin and John Berman: For the Starting Point audience who had not yet abandoned ship a la their star-crossed captain Soledad O’Brien, poor Stephanie was just another warm body trying to keep that sinking ship afloat until a New Day finally dawns.

Welcome back, Stephanie!

[Author’s aside: “CNN’s Stephanie Elam” refers to the repeated moniker given Stephanie by Zoraida and John when introducing Stephanie before her Camarillo, California, wildfire reports to their CNN early morning audience.]

Soledad’s Fall: CNN’s Spring?

February 22, 2013

Zucker’s “Morning in America”: O’Brien toast–again. Starting Point anchor Soledad O’Brien has been iced again as the face of CNN’s dawn according to the New York Times. Throwing cold water on Soledad’s vain hopes to finally prevail in the cable news morning ratings wars, CNN’s new chief Jeff Zucker finally cried, “No mas.”

As long-time CNN viewers may know, Soledad and Miles O’Brien co-hosted American Morning from 2003 to 2007 and were replaced by Kiran Chetry and John Roberts to revitalize flagging ratings. Over four years later (July 15, 2011), Soledad ominously returned to the show to substitute for Kiran for her first absence after AM announced Kiran’s own imminent departure from the still ratings-challenged show. Subsequently, when the ill-fated AM folded at the end of the year, Soledad was given a second chance to redeem herself and the CNN brass in the new year with Starting Point in the 7-9 a.m. ET hours. Unfortunately, for Soledad, she failed to seize the opportunity and sunk the show to even lower depths.

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that Zucker was pulling the plug on Soledad and that she would leave Starting Point this spring. According to the old Gray Lady, Zucker had “decided even before he started the job in January that he wanted to replace…[her program]…with a brand new one.” As to Soledad’s future, it added that she would create a new production company and “continue to supply documentaries to CNN on a nonexclusive basis.”

Putting a positive spin on her departure to the Hollywood Reporter, Soledad said, “I will not miss getting up that early, I cannot lie, not for a minute.” Defending her show itself, she declared, “We had a staff  of people–we never were fully staffed–where we were able to in spite of not getting a lot of support really make our show relevant. To do that, that was pretty tremendous.”

Soledad’s fall: CNN’s spring. It will be morning in Zucker’s America again soon.

“Mean Girl” Soledad: I’m Not a Refined Lady!

October 5, 2012

Roland Martin: “Work it, Soledad!” Starting Point anchor Soledad O’Brien: CNN’s Hooters honey? Not yet. Yesterday, she did declare that she was not a refined lady. But as to being “delightfully tacky,” she uttered not a word. But, that could change, especially, if her ratings do not climb out of the cellar soon.

On a more serious note, yesterday, Soledad interviewed Jennifer Livingston, the local Wisconsin news anchor, whose dressing down on air of a meddling e-mailer has gone viral.* When Soledad asked the WKBT news host if she had to obtain her boss’ approval to take out the bully (who had deemed her obese and who had indicated that she was not a good role model), she said that her news director trusted her. Elaborating, Livingston said that she and her boss both decided not to name the e-mailer on air because her response was not about him per se, rather the “critical” culture.

Ready for some vengence, Soledad exclaimed, “Oh, let’s name him anyway, Jennifer! Because, yesterday, I was thinking, ‘If I were Jennifer, I would go ahead and name him.’ So, his name is Kenneth Krause.”

Subsequently, Soledad informed her audience that Livingston had received “a ton of support” but that Krause had stood by his initial statement. Punctuating the air with her pen, she derisively declared, “Here’s what Kenneth Krause, the evil e-mailer, said in his statement.” [Italics added for emphasis.]

In response to Soledad’s hyperbole, Livingston began to chuckle. Looking up from her papers, Soledad insisted, “I know, I know. You’re, you’re refined and a lady: And, I’m not!”

From his spot in the peanut gallery, off-cam SP panelist Roland Martin interjected, as is his wont: Perhaps, envisioning Soledad as his favorite Buffalo wing server in her orange short shorts, Martin gleefully demanded, “Work it, Soledad!”

Ignoring Martin’s gratuitous interruption, Soledad continued, reading Krause’s defiant statement that Livingston should take the opportunity to “transform” herself into a good role model over the next year and that he would be glad to give her any advice or support that she would be willing to accept. When Soledad had finished, she asked, “Is there anything that he could offer you that you would accept?”

Charitably, Livingston answered, “I hold no ill will towards him. And, I hope that people don’t bully the bully….I don’t…want to…make him an evil representation of the whole world.” Kindly, she added, “I hope that, at some point, [that] he will learn that he could have approached the topic in a much more kind way.”

As the interview drew to an end,  Soledad caustically concluded, “Well, I am, I hold ill will all the time, Jennifer. So, I’ll hold ill.” Hearing off-camera snickers, Soledad stopped mid-sentence and looked to her right, protesting, “I know, I know, Will Cain [SP regular]. It’s mean! But, Jennifer is obviously a much better person than I am.”

Serious “End Point”: Don’t bully.

As to Soledad, no CNN Hooters honey yet. But, yesterday, she was a “Mean Girl”!

*Starting Point – 10/04/12 (@ 8:51 a.m. ET)

CNN A.M. Future: Miles O’Brien? [Updated Anew]

June 1, 2012

Zoraida: Miles…in these parts, you are a rock star! Yesterday, Early Start co-host Zoraida Sambolin greeted former American Morning anchor Miles O’Brien to the CNN a.m. like a returning hero. During a space segment with the whilom point man for NASA coverage, Zoraida reintroduced the once canned anchor of the low-rated American Morning to CNN’s early morning shrinking audience. Before his report (on the return to earth of the NASA-sponsored Space X Dragon), Zoraida gushed, “Miles, I got to tell you, in these parts, you are a rock star! Everybody absolutely loves you! Very excited to talk to you this morning.”*

The moment seemed surreal: Miles O’Brien, a “rock star”? Almost five years ago, he and his American Morning co-host Soledad O’Brien unceremoniously got the Klein boot because of low-ratings (in favor of John Roberts and Kiran Chetry). When John and Kiran could not right the AM ship nor their interim successors Christine Romans, Carol Costello, and Ali Velshi, CNN replaced AM with their even more ratings-challenged shows Early Start (with anchors Ashleigh Banfield and Zoraida) and Starting Point (solo host Soledad): With ES and SP listing even lower than AM ever had, perhaps, Miles O’Brien “in these parts, is a rock star” and everybody does love him again.

So much so, that CNN brings Miles back to its early mornings?

*Early Start – 05/31/12 (@ 6:04 a.m. ET)

Update 1: Turner Broadcasting CEO Phil Kent may have much more drastic measures planned for CNN’s a.m. than possibly adding Miles to the cast. After defending his prime-time line-up on the very day of Miles ES appearance, Kent admitted that “we have some other shows that probably need to be replaced.” If recent ratings are any indication, Early Start and Starting Point may well be among those very CNN shows.]

Update 2: According to the New York Daily News, veteran ABC reporter John Berman has now enlisted with CNN and will become an Early Start anchor. If Berman were to join the gals Ashleigh and Zoraida, he would add some much needed male perspective: But, if he teamed up with Miles instead (and the ladies exited), ES would become an all-boy’s club, perhaps, no more attractive than the current all-gal gala. Perhaps, on the bright side, Berman may simply serve as the last captain of CNN’s wee-hour Titanic and Kent will finally get a seaworthy ship.]

Soledad O’Brien: “Bravo”?

February 2, 2012

“My theme song.” Yesterday, Starting Point host Soledad O’Brien seemed more than satisfied with her new morning show—so much so, that she practically begged thrice-Grammy-nominated R& B singer Ledisi to be able to use her song “Bravo” as SP‘s theme song. After Soledad started her last SP segment with Ledisi’s “Raise Up,” she said, “If I could get a little portion of America to love Ledisi as I do, it would be a very good thing but, I really would like ‘Bravo.’ For some reason, we can’t play it. I don’t think we have the right to it.” Then, looking straight into the camera, she pleaded, “So, Ledisi, Tweet me. Can we have the rights to “Bravo” as my theme song? Call you later.”

Fortunately, CNN appears more ambivalent about Soledad’s new show. According to the New York Post‘s “Page Six,” one source said that “executives are looking to support Soledad O’Brien…and have expressed interest in adding [regular panelists] conservative commentator Will Cain and liberal commentator Roland Martin to the cast.” But, “Page Six” also indicated that an unnamed CNN representative denied it saying, “We couldn’t be more pleased with Soledad and the direction she is taking her program. Her newsmaking interviews and substantive panel discussions are the centerpiece of the program.”

Unfortunately, for CNN, Soledad’s show (which replaced in part the now kaput American Morning) has not gained traction with CNN viewers. In fact, if early ratings are any indication, it will lay even lower in the cable news morning cellar than it’s predecessor AM–for good reason. Regrettably, SP is proving to be not as good as AM: instead of a program where co-hosts had, at least, the patina of objectivity, CNN has an unabashedly opinionated sole anchor, who never fails to remind her panelists and her viewers that SP is “my show.” Nevertheless, CNN would make matters even worse if CNN were to give the soft-spoken milquetoast Will Cain and the obstreperous, cocksure Roland Martin even more prominent roles as Soledad’s co-hosts on Starting Point.

Bravo for SP? No. At least, not in the foreseeable future.

H/t to J$P for “Page Six” alert.

Christine’s Starting Point

January 12, 2012

CNN a.m. anchor again? CNN’s “Mayor of the MorningChristine Romans, the former “interim” American Morning co-anchor Christine Romans appears to be creeping back. Whether Soledad O’Brien likes it or not, Christine seems to be expanding her role from headline news reader and CNN business correspondent to stealth anchor.

After her show AM was cancelled almost two weeks ago (December 30), Christine waited just one business day later until she returned to the early CNN morn like a phoenix. Initially, she started off innocuously  enough as headline news reader with hits on the half hour on Starting Point. The very next day, Christine seized the role of the “Magic Wall” election expert. Subsequently, Christine has assumed the role again of biz whiz and even anchor–albeit on the sly. E.g., during her purported “headline news segment,” she has begun to take live reports, e.g., from correspondents such as Nic Robertson (Syria); Brianna Kielar (White House); and HLN sports anchor Joe Carter–not to mention, Christine has started to include CNN’s weather report and her resurrected AM “Minding Your Business” occasionally before tossing to Soledad again.

Perhaps, CNN chief Ken Jautz is having second thoughts about letting Soledad O’Brien anchor CNN a.m. again–at least, on her own.

“Christine Romans, Mayor of the Morning”

January 9, 2012

Really, Soledad? Ashleigh Banfield: “I may be the only one who calls her that.” Like a phoenix, former American Morning co-host Christine Romans has apparently reemerged from the ashes of her erstwhile CNN morning show to reappear as a regular on both of its replacements, Early Start (biz whiz) and Starting Point (headlines news reader and occasional biz whiz). She seems to be adored by Early Start co-hosts Ashleigh Banfield and Zoraida Sambolin: however, she may be somewhat less so by Starting Point anchor Soledad O’Brien.

Last Friday mid-show, after Zoraida had teased Christine’s upcoming business report, Ashley passionately  proclaimed, “Christine Romans, Mayor of the Morning!” In reply, Zoraida exclaimed, “I love her!” As an aside to her audience, Ashleigh animatedly added, “I think I may be the only who calls her that: But, I really thinks she is!”

However, Starting Point‘s Soledad may be less inclined to concur. After getting canned at AM for Kiran Chetry almost five years ago, Soledad assuredly has something to prove in her return to the CNN morn, i.e., that she is worthy to reign again, at least, in her time slot. And, relinquishing her title willingly so soon to Christine, her immediate (“interim”) predecessor, is not something that she is apt to do.

*Early Start – 01/06/12 (@ 6:01 a.m. ET)

A.M. HangOVER: Auld Lang Syne?

December 30, 2011

“Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Today, American Morning ended its decade-long run without a peep to its peeps. No nod to its original anchor, “just a little sexy” Paula Zahn, its final permanent one, “Chetrylicious” Kiran Chetry, or its other less colorful ones. In fact, holiday guest co-hosts Alina Cho and Deborah Feyerich did not even offer AM‘s loyal viewers a final farewell.

In the final segment today, Alina and Deb were surrounded on the AM divan by CNN nameless faces. As the strains of Auld Lang Syne began to air, Deb declared, “And, before we leave, we want to show appreciation to all those who work behind the scenes here at American Morning. These are the folks who get up in the middle of night when everyone is sleeping to bring you this show, and they do it with a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of energy.”

Chiming in animatedly, Alina asserted, “These are the people who work behind the scene tirelessly day and night to make us look good each and every day. And, we cannot thank you enough because we’re nothing without you guys.” She concluded, “Thank you very much. Happy New Year! We hope you have a great year.”

Subsequently, as the final credits began to run, ironically, producers struck up Auld Lang Syne again. No retrospectives of the show’s past co-hosts nor highlights of the program were shown at all. In fact, no mention was made that the show had ended to AM‘s audience who were not in the know.

What a surprise awaits the unwitting viewer next Monday (January 2). AM and its usual “temporary anchors” Ali Velshi, Christine Romans, and Carol Costello or their fill-ins will be nowhere to be found. Instead, two new CNN shows and their cohosts will be there: I.e., CNN newbies, Zoraida Sambolin and Ashleigh Banfield, will greet the viewers in the 5-7 a.m. ET hours, and AM veteran Soledad O’Brien will visit them anew from 7-9 a.m. ET.

Auld lang syne: forget about it? As AM ended today, unfortunately, CNN did not give its AM audience a chance to remember the good times past nor to bid adieu to their old friends today. Rather, CNN seemed to simply hope that their “hung-over” viewers would be happy to make entirely new morning acquaintances next year. In three short days.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 80 other followers