Archive for the ‘Starting Point’ 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.]

CNN’s Rob Marciano Moves On, Too (to ET)

November 12, 2012

“[S]ad…but very pumped.” Today, CNN meteorologist Rob Marciano announced that he is leaving Ted Turner’s erstwhile crown jewel for greener pastures. In a Facebook post this afternoon, he said, “Definitely sad to be leaving my CNN family in January, but very pumped for the new gig co-hosting Entertainment Tonight with @NancyOdell. Wow!”

The former ivory Adonis of American Morning follows his fellow colleagues, ebony twin T. J. Holmes (BET), “voice of god” John Roberts (FNC), and AM Aphrodite Kiran Chetry (TBA) into the CNN sunset. For whilom AM fans, who still appreciate a fresh, irreverent perspective, Rob seems to be the last one waving the proverbial flag on the new CNN morning shows, Early Start and Starting Point. And, now he, too, is heading for the exit.

A sad day for Rob. And, his CNN fans. Not to mention, poor Zoraida Sambolin who is losing her “Senor Dreamy.”

“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)

Starting Point: Soledad’s Dud?

October 1, 2012

“Soledad O’Brien: how could you not get that? Really!” Starting Point host Soledad O’Brien laughed derisively at a hapless Who Wants to Be a Millionaire contestant who could not identify her in a game question Friday. Unfortunately, for Soledad, she did not have the last laugh: rather, her esteemed elder, Bob Woodward, did.

Before Soledad’s interview with Woodward, SP newsreader John Berman aired a clip of a poor WWBM player who could not properly identify Soledad as the TV personality that had been named one of the “Top 100 Irish Americans” and was also a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.* Looking at her panelists and Woodard, Soledad disdainfully declared, “Soledad O’Brien: how could you not get that? Like, really!”

Sycophantically, John dutifully replied, “Can you believe that?”

Seemingly miffed at the slight, Soledad answered, “Soledad O’Brien: Hispanic and Irish. How hard was that!” Then, she guffawed, “Oh, well, next time, I guess.”

Segueing to her interview of Woodward, Soledad read an excerpt from his new book, The Price of Politics: On the screen appeared the quote with a purported picture of Bob Woodward on it. When Soledad had finished, she introduced her guest, saying, “Bob Woodward joins us. It’s nice to see you. Thank you for being with us.”

With a smile ever so slight, Wood gently teased, “Thank you. I see you had a picture of Bob Woodruff of ABC up there. We get mixed up all the time.” As Woodward and the panelists laughed, an embarrassed Soledad replied, “What!” as she buried her face in her hands.”

Trying to regain her composure, Soledad declared, “In spite of that, I’m going to continue on.” Before she could, Woodward zestfully zinged, “You know, it’s just like you! No one knows your identity.”

“End Point”? He who laughs last laughs best.

*Starting Point – 09/28/12 (@ 8:33 a.m. ET)

Kiran: A Face for Radio?

May 17, 2012

Not exactly! Nepalese lovely Kiran Chetry “appeared” anew on Mother’s Day Eve: unfortunately, for her acolytes, she decided to”reveal” herself this time–not on the boob tube again but on the radio, on the John Batchelor Show (WABC). Not that her dulcet sounds, wit, and wisdom on audio were unappreciated but they did made her fans long for the premium package, including, obviously, any concomitant video of Kiran in the flesh. Perhaps, to make amends, Kiran did Tweet a lovely photo of herself on the set with Batchelor.

Regardless, the latest avatar of Kiran caused the author to wonder when is this beauty really going to return to her natural home, cable news morning television. Regrettably, she (or her William Morris “super-agent John Ferriter”) may have burned the bridge to the place that most complemented her smart, sassy, and sexy style, i.e., Fox & Friends, where her erstwhile rival Gretchen Carlson strangely rules the early morning roost. Nevertheless, hopefully, CNN chief Ken Jautz will return Kiran to her CNN “A.M.” throne when he decides to pull the plug on his disastrous new morning programs, Early Start and Starting Point.

Kiran: “Ray of light.” Just what CNN needs to rouse it viewers again in the early morn. But, Ken, let her fully shine this time!

T. J. Holmes: We’re Negotiating My [CNN] Return

April 11, 2012

It’s American Morning at CNN again? This morning, former CNN anchor T. J. Holmes indicated that he is leaving BET after a very brief “stint” there and going back to his home at the self-proclaimed “most trusted name in news” network. He Tweeted, “On a flight w/my old CNN boss. We’re negotiating my return.” Later, he wrote, “I expect to announce to you all this week some news about my future.”

Less than four months after bidding his CNN Newsroom weekend viewers adieu (to be a BET “multi-platform” jounalist), is T. J. back to save day for CNN–or, at least, the dawn? CNN honcho Ken Jautz must now be ruing his ill-considered decision to ditch his cellar-dweller morning show American Morning. As the ratings of his 2012 AM replacement shows, Early Start and Starting Point, have tanked (lowest in over a decade), Jautz may be thinking that he probably should have given his original plan more time, i.e., to possibly permanently pair T. J. with former AM anchor Kiran Chetry.

Whether it is “Morning in America,” may depend on one’s political point of view. But the return of the erstwhile trial T. J. and Kiran team would certainly help make it a brighter “American Morning” at CNN. And, AM  fans, T. J.’s return would certainly constitute Kiran’s long-awaited “very special opportunity.”

Update: Apparently, BET’s T. J. Holmes was pulling a practical joke on his CNN fans and Twitter followers. Cf. CarpeDiem’s “BET’s T. J. Holmes: Just a Joke?”

CNN A.M.: Christine Romans Returns

March 12, 2012

Early Start: “Mayor of the Morning” back as CNN a.m. anchor! Former American Morning co-host Christine Romans made her triumphant comeback as a CNN morning co-host Friday. After getting the axe last year as “interim” co-anchor when her show AM got replaced by ES and Starting Point, Christine reappeared almost immediately as an ES biz expert and a SP newsreader and biz whiz: At the time (January 12), Carpe Diem noted that Christine seemed even to be “expanding her role…to stealth anchor.”

Friday, Christine ascended from “stealth anchor” to actual one as she co-hosted ES with Ashleigh Banfield, who has admiringly dubbed her “Mayor of the Morning.” When Christine made her debut Friday morning, Ashleigh told her audience that she was “so excited to have [Christine there]” and noted that the two of them looked alike. Subsequently, Christine and Ashleigh seemed to evidence that manifest chemistry that Page 6 CNN sources have accused regular co-anchor Zoraida Sambolin and Ashleigh of lacking: To wit, Ashleigh did not need to instruct Christine to react to her (as she has demanded of Zoraida in the past) because she herself was so busy responding to Christine.

When Zoraida returned today (Monday) from her three-day weekend, Christine assumed anew her secondary role as headline newsreader and biz babe. Even though Zoraida and Ashleigh were a team again, Christine had shown what a compatible ES duo could be. And, hopefully, at least, what Zoraida and Ashleigh will be in the not too distant future.

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)


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