Archive for the ‘Zoraida Sambolin’ Category

Early Start: Much too Early!

April 2, 2014

Last September, Early Start co-host John Berman cursed the extra pre-dawn hour when CNN added an extra early hour (4:00 a.m. ET) to his program with Zoraida Sambolin: Subsequently, CNN shortened the show to begin at the more godly hour of 5:00 a.m. ET. Now that CNN has had an upsurge in ratings due to its all-consuming coverage of the star-crossed plight of the passengers of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, CNN has added the 4 a.m. back to ES this week. Perhaps, not too surprisingly, the salty JB is CNN’s happy warrior as he sits with his new co-host Christine Romans.

Will CNN continue to be the early bird? If so, could it ever “steal” FNC’s worm?

Icy Christine: Zoraida’s “Replacement”?

January 9, 2014

John Berman: “Welcome to Early Start…the official new co-anchor.” Former ES co-host Zoraida Sambolin‘s successor was announced by ES co-anchor John Berman Tuesday. Less than a month ago, John bid his then tearful co-host Zoraida adieu, aptly saying, “She doesn’t just want your morning to be good, she makes it happen….It’s that smile, that laugh, that sparkly….More than anything, it’s the sincerity.” Tuesday, as ES started, he greeted Zoraida’s more frigid replacement, tersely saying, “Welcome to Early Start, by the way.” Pointing to her and looking into the camera, John added, “Christine Romans, the official new co-anchor of the Early Start broadcast.”

Smiling, Christine replied, “Oh, thank you! Thank you!” The frequent ES guest co-host jested, “It’s, it’s my first day so please be nice to me. Be gentle, be gentle!” Laughing, John riposted, “Yes, you’re right. Exactly! Right, you’re going to get hazed the whole broadcast!”

Subsequently, and, perhaps, ironically, as Christine began to introduce a story about the “extreme cold” affecting its American viewers, ES producers ran a full-screen banner, blaring, “DEEP FREEZE 2014!” Hopefully, it was not an ominous sign of things to come for fans of their early-morning show.

N.B. Erstwhile ES co-host Ashleigh Banfield‘s too oft icy “Mayor of the Morning” better heat things up–if she ever hopes to succeed as a worthy successor of caliente senorita Sambolin!*

*To see Zoraida bringing the heat, check out her sexy tango and cha cha vid here.

Zoraida’s Tearful Adios: “A Very Difficult Decision”

December 16, 2013

“You put the good in ‘good morning': It just doesn’t work as well in ‘goodbye.'” The CNN dawn darkened decidedly Friday when Early Start star Zoraida Sambolin bid adieu to her early morning show Friday.

In the final third of ES, Zoraida’s co-anchor John Berman declared, “I am wearing black today because it is Zoraida Sambolin’s last day on Early Start.* [Vid via J$P.] Placing a bracelet made by his sons on her wrist, John jested, “When I heard that you chose your fiance, your family, your hometown, and sleep over me, I, I was a little offended: And, I’ve been trying to understand it but it’s hard. I put together a little piece.”

Subsequently, as producers ran a montage of Zoraida’s clips, John intoned, “The thing about Zoraida Sambolin, when she says ‘Good morning,’ she means it….She doesn’t just want your morning to be good, she makes it happen.” Felicitously, he continued, “It’s that smile, that laugh, that sparkle….More than anything, it’s the sincerity.” Aptly, he added, “Know this, we will miss you tons. Yes, you put the good in good morning: It just doesn’t work as well in goodbye.”

With tears streaming down her cheeks, Zoraida responded, “That is so sweet….This was a very difficult decision for me: I did it primarily for my kids.” To John, she sweetly declared, “You are the best human being I have ever sat next to in my entire life….Seriously, I just cannot think of a more thoughtful, caring, cynical, loving–just a genuinely good human being: And, I thank you for just being you.”

And, Zoraida, thank you for being you!

Early Start – 12/13/13 (@ 5:43 a.m. ET)

[Author’s aside: Zoraida was the best person to grace CNN’s early morning since Kiran Chetry (erstwhile American Morning co-host). Both dared to expose their real selves to their viewers–to defy the sterile corporate culture with a genuine sine qua non that was their own. They are both missed!]

Zoraida: Adios Already?

December 7, 2013

Friday the 13th! Sadly, Early Start co-host Zoraida Sambolin is leaving her post next Friday, December 13, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The caliente senorita bids her acolytes adios less than two years after making her debut as an original co-host on the then new Early Start with Ashleigh Banfield. And, now, the lovely Latina leaves a “vacancy” in her now current co-anchor John Berman‘s “Red Room.”

All levity aside, Zoraida will leave a real void in the early dawn on CNN. Initially, the sweet, soft-spoken, and genuine ES co-host stood in stark contrast with her more acerbic, boisterous, and pretentious Cannuck counterpart, co-anchor Ashleigh. When Ashleigh left the early morning show for a later hour on CNN, Zoraida teamed with John to present their ES viewers with a fun, friendly, and, oft risque take on the news–almost a la Fox & Friends.

Now, Early Start fans will be bereft of their beloved beauty in less than a week. Apparently, Zucker has struck again. You’ll be missed, Zoraida!

Bawdy Berman’s “Red Room”?

October 15, 2013

Saucy Sambolin “fit to be tied”! Early Start co-anchor John Berman got rather bawdy with his beautiful co-host Zoraida Sambolin this morning. Introducing their penultimate segment this morning, “The Bleacher Report,” John randily remarked, “Welcome back to Early Start, everyone–or, as we like to call it–the Red Room of Pain.* Gasping at John’s risque reference to the sexually sadistic romp room in Fifty Shades of Grey, Zoraida blushed and shook her head in utter disbelief. As John finished his intro to the sports report, he grinned goatishly as he looked over at his now flushed co-host. In response, Zoraida simply smiled and continued to shake her head at her bad boy.

Early Start: “The Red Room” with John and Zoraida. Now, that might be a sure CNN ratings success!

Early Start – 10/15/13 (@ 5:51 a.m. ET).

Pereira: Berman, “Are You Coming Back?”

August 30, 2013

John: “At this point, I’m not so sure.” Today, Early Start anchors John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin were absent yet again with no explanation to their viewers. In fact, co-anchors, Michaela Pereira and Poppy Harlow welcomed their audience to the show and introduced themselves as if they were the regular co-hosts. Perhaps, the only reassuring note to Zoraida and John’s fans was the very brief introductory chyron, “earlystart with JOHN BERMAN & ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN.”

Furthermore, if Early Start viewers had tuned in to New Day Wednesday, they may have wondered all the more if John and Zoraida were gone for good. In the penultimate segment of New Day, John gave his quirky diurnal “Award of the Day” from D.C.: As he concluded, ND news anchor Michael Pereira asked, “Are you coming back to us some nice time soon?” Grinning, he answered, “At this point, I’m not so sure.”

Have no fear, John and Zoraida votaries: If their Tweets are true, they are absent with leave. On Monday, John wrote, “Hey! Hello Morning People! I’m in DC this week filling-in on @TheLeadCNN (and watching @Early StartCNN & New Day on TV).” On the preceding Friday, Zoraida announced, “Headed into surgery with Dr. Kim Plastic and RJ the sleep doctor #breast cancer #anesthesia #dynamicduo.” (Saturday, she added, “This final surgery was a [sic] uneventful and I am feeling great.”)

Perhaps, it is no big deal to CNN suits who anchors Early Start. But, they may want to consider that John and Zoraida are the very first ones who welcome their audience to the CNN day. And, faithful viewers tend to prefer to be awakened at dawn by a friend, not a stranger.

Zoraida Returns: ES Star Sparkles

August 11, 2013

Sambolin: “Yay! I’m so happy to be back!” Early Start co-host Zoraida Sambolin returned Monday “healthy and very happy” to her relieved fans after a double mastectomy due to her recently-diagnosed breast cancer after a six-week medical leave. Trying to suppressing a huge smile as the show started, Zoraida declared, “Good morning and welcome to Early Start!” Looking over at her co-anchor John Berman, she began to heartily clap, exclaiming, “Yay! I’m so happy to be back! Folks, thank you so much!”

Beaming, John replied, “Yes, you are! So nice to have you back.” Self-deprecatingly, he added, “I’m the other guy!”

Chuckling appreciatively, Zoraida replied, “Yeah!”

Yeah. The earnest, sweet, and, sexy Zoraida is still assuredly the best way to awaken the CNN dawn. Nevertheless, John, an easy-listening wisecracker has definitely made ES a much more welcome wake-up call since he replaced Zoraida’s first co-host Ashleigh Banfield, a chatty, cacophonous alarm without a ready snooze button.

Welcome back, Zoraida! You were missed!

Zesty Zoraida: Zooma, Zooma, Zoom!

June 1, 2013

Beauty no boob: “Come on give it a try: We’re gonna reach for the sky.” Early Start co-anchor Zoraida Sambolin may have given CNN a New Day a month early. In an incredible display of courage Zoraida has embraced her breast cancer challenge with a zest that gives new life to CNN’s generally bland morning fare. Furthermore, she has given her fans a front seat view as she fought her malignant invader and vanquished it.

About two weeks ago (05/14/13 – ES vid), Zoraida intimately disclosed that she had breast cancer and that she had decided to have a double mastectomy. As a recently engaged woman (to her fiance Kenny Williams), she further revealed that she struggled with her decision because of her sexuality and her breasts and how attached she was to that. But, as a mother, she explained, “At the end of the day, it’s really difficult to say that I’m thinking about this…when I have two kids that…I want to live for: And that at the end of the day, I’m going…to cut off my arms if it means that I am going to live to see them and to see them grow up.”

Elaborating the very next day (in a “Starting the Cancer Dialogue” segment), Zoraida said, “I was embarrassed by how difficult that decision was: And, so, it makes you start thinking about your sexuality which I’ve thought more about than I ever have before in my life! And, how this will affect that!”* Explicating her initial misgivings about her double mastectomy (during a subsequent “Outpouring of Support for Jolie” story), Zoraida added, “You know, the first three days all I thought about going to bed was this and getting up [was] this and what is going to be my decision: That is all I thought about.”**

In Zoraida’s final show before her surgery (05/24/13), she shared her story further in a segment entitled, “A Very Personal Decision: Choosing double mastectomy over fear of dying.”*** When she concluded her report on why she chose to remove both of her breasts even though only her left one was cancerous, her ES co-host John Berman declared, “I have been in awe of you over the last several weeks as you’ve gone through this, simply in awe of your strength.” Pulling his tie and unbuttoning his shirt to reveal a Superman-styled tee with a “Z,” John added, “I did want you to know…that I will be certainly be with you in spirit as a, as the founding member of Team Z–not just Z, but Super Z.” Standing up to embrace John, Zoraida exclaimed, “Aww, that is so sweet!” As the ES crew began to emerge with their own “Super Z” shirts made for them by John,  an emotional Zoraida hugged them, too, gushing, “Oh, my g[od]! Oh, thank you! That is so sweet! And, if that were not enough, Zoraida got a fun ES “send off…a boob cake” that afternoon: Tweeting her hearty approval, she declared, “[G]otta love my peeps!”

On the appointed day, Zoraida gamely proclaimed, “Good Morning Friends! Getting ready to head to the hospital but wanted to “check in” with you first.” Subsequently, tagging in for her sis, Ivonne Tweeted, “[Zoraida] is heading to the OR as I  tweet. I will be keeping you all posted. pic.twitter.com/ASfhKyTvWF.” Subsequently, she happily announced, “Lymph nodes cam back negative for cancer. This means cancer has not spread beyond the breast. YES!!” A few hours later, Ivonne heralded further good news, saying, “Zoraida is out of surgery. Thanks to God and Dr. Kim, everything went beautifully!!!” The next day, she prematurely predicted, “Zoraida is doing great. She goes home today. Dr’s are happy with her progress.”

Taking back the reins, Zoraida Tweeted, “Day 2 not so bad. Feeling great! pic.twitter.com/XKi2LHhUry.” On Thursday, she elatedly exclaimed, “Going home today, yay!”

Yay, indeed. Get well soon, Zoraida! And, hurry back!

*Early Start – 05/15/13 (@ 5:38 a.m. ET).

**Ibid at 6:16 a.m. ET.

***Early Start – 05/24/13 (6:38 a.m. ET).

Zoraida’s Decision: Feminine Sexuality But Family First

May 18, 2013

Double mastectomy: “Very emotional for me…as a woman, your sexuality and your breasts and how attached you are to that.” Early Start co-host Zoraida Sambolin shared her very personal new struggle with breast cancer with her CNN a.m. fans, her Twitter followers, and her Facebook friends Tuesday. Breaking the news to her EP viewers (after a report on Angelina Jolie’s NYT announcement that she had undergone a double mastectomy), Zoraida remarked, “You know, I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and…the fact that she [Jolie] is sharing this very personal journey, talking about the femininity as well and how that affects your decision moving forward, is absolutely remarkable.”* To her Tweeps and to her FB friends, she elaborated, “I struggled for weeks trying to figure out how [to] tell you that I had been diagnosed with breast cancer and was leaving to have surgery then..Angelina Jolie shares her story of a double mastectomy and gives me strength and an opening.”

Later in the morning, on Starting Point, Zoraida disclosed even more of the intimate details of her painful decision.** During a story on Jolie’s double mastectomy, Zoraida was brought in to tell her own story by SP interim co-hosts John Berman and Christine Romans. Pointing to John, Zoraida said, “You know for a while I’ve been struggling ’cause I was diagnosed with breast cancer about three weeks ago. And, I was trying to figure out how do I…tell the viewers that I’m going to be gone for awhile because I have chosen to have a double mastectomy. And, so, Angelina Jolie’s story really hit home.”

Offering Zoraida an opportunity to open up, John remarked, “She [Jolie] says [that] it’s an empowering decision, in a way.” Seizing her moment, Zoraida replied, “It is because you can, you can make that decision as a woman. Um, one of the things that she talks about that is very emotional for me because, you know, as a woman, your sexuality and your breasts and how attached you are to that. Right? As, as a woman!” In true maternal self-abnegation, she continued, “And, so, at the end of the day, it’s really difficult to say that I’m thinking about this…when I have two kids that…I want to live for. And that at the end of the day, I’m going…to cut off my arms if it means that I am going to live to see them and to see them grow up.”

Zoraida, kudos for courageously sharing your story with your fans–and, more importantly, putting your family first!

[Author’s aside: During her SP interview, supra, Zoraida disclosed that she made her first call after her diagnosis to her fiance (Kenny Williams) , “who has been nothing but an amazing supporter through all of this.” Furthermore, she revealed that she was going to have her surgery on the 28th. EP – 05/14/13 (@6:03 a.m. ET)]

*Early Start – 05/14/13 (@ 5:33 a.m. ET)

**Starting Point – 05/14/13 (@ 7:33 a.m. ET)

“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.]

“Miss” Early Start: Zoraida Sambolin Engaged

January 27, 2013

“On Christmas Eve.” Single gal Early Start co-host Zoraida Sambolin started off her new year with a Facebook relationship status update for her fans on January 2. Including a pic, she proudly proclaimed, “Yes, it is a ring on my finger. Kenny [Williams] and I were engaged on Christmas Eve.”

Later that day, CBS Chicago reported Sambolin’s announcement and elaborated that her fiance was Kenny Williams, the new EVP of the Chicago White Sox. Nine days later (January 11), Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed reported Kenny’s account of the engagement–albeit buried under his main story (emblazoned “Exclusive: Sheriff to search Chicago apartment complex where John Wayne Gacy’s mother lived”). Subsequently, when one observant reader and Zoraida Tweep noticed the news and apprised Zoraida thereof, Zoraida Tweeted, “Thank you, the article was a surprise to me as well. Kenny sent a link this morning, he is a gem.”

Apparently, “that loving feeling” is mutual. Sneed reported that Williams gushed that he was “about as happy as I’ve ever been as an adult.” According to Sneed, Williams intoned, “Yes, we just got engaged and I am in a really good place.” Reportedly, Williams was so enamored with Zoraida that he asked her for her hand in marriage–twice: apparently, once prematurely in his office because he just “couldn’t wait” and later at the “much more romantic forum” of the Holy Name Cathedral [Chicago] at midnight Mass where Zoraida’s parent were wed.

Congratulations, Zoraida and Kenny!

[Author’s aside: Mea culpa, Zoraida fans, for the delay: Holidays and hunting guests had distracted these eyes.]

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.”

“VMan” Marciano’s Magic Platform

October 16, 2012

John: Rob “is a lot shorter in person.” Early Start co-host John Berman let the cat out of the bag as to the height of his co-anchor Zoraida Sambolin‘s “Senor Dreamy.” In a pre-dawn Tweet about ES‘s meteorologist Rob “VMan” Marciano, John wrote, “Ready for @EarlyStartCNN fast-facts? #1) @RobMarcianoCNN is a lot shorter in person.” Shortly thereafter, Rob admitted, “True, I’m 5’4″ #tvmagic.”

However, less than ten minutes later, on Early Start itself, Rob was slightly less candid about his stature. When his final forecast of the first hour ended (including city temp highs), Rob segued to John and Zoraida, remarking, “Speaking of numbers, Josh [sic], John Berman, quoting that I am much shorter in person than I am on television.”

Looking over at John with her mouth agape, Zoraida exclaimed, “That is awful!” Smiling, John impishly explained, “Well you [Rob], you look taller in the U.S. in camera. You know?” Pointing downward, Rob replied, “Well, full disclosure: I stand on this platform every day.”

“How tall are you?” demanded Zoraida. Reluctantly, Rob answered, “Uh, I’m 5′, well, I was born 21 inches. So, I haven’t grown that much.” As Zoraida chuckled, Rob exclaimed, “The magic of television!”

Trying to make up to Rob for his Puckish revelation, John declared, “You’re a giant in our eyes, Rob! Very, very nice to see you.” Taking it all in stride, Rob good-naturedly replied, “I appreciate that, John. Bye, guys!” Perhaps, still under the spell of her Senor Dreamy, Zoraida concluded, “He’s a tall guy!”

TV Magic: CNN mornings could use more of it.

Early Start - 10/16/12 (@ 5:50 a.m. ET)

Smoldering Sambolin: “That’s So Wrong!”

October 12, 2012

Berman: If that’s why you’re Googling [Paul Ryan] shirtless, that’s, that’s your own business. Early Start co-host Zoraida Sambolin, the caliente CNN senorita too oft with the dress just a little too long and the heels just a little too short, let her fans know today that she is assuredly smoldering–even on the job. And, her co-anchor John Berman gave her good-natured grief for it.

During a post-V.P.-Debate segment, Zoraida and John interviewed Google Election Team member Abbi Tatton for trending Internet search terms as Vice President Joe Biden and GOP V.P. nominee Paul Ryan battled.* After Tatton indicated that “Biden,” “conflating,” “malarkey,” and “who is winning the debate” topped the list, John asked her also for what Google users searched in conjunction with the candidates names. In response, she noted that they looked for Biden’s age, his “laughing,” and his wife Jill whereas they were searching for something quite different with Ryan, e.g., “shirtless” and “workout.”

Meanwhile, a seemingly embarrassed Zoraida began to chuckle. Looking over at Zoraida, John teased, “This is during the debate people are saying, ‘Paul Ryan shirtless’?” In reply, Tatton disdainfully declared, “While they’re talking about Afghanistan, Iran, the ayatollahs, then people are searching for what does he look like without his shirt on.”

Defensively, Zoraida riposted, “Well, because it’s such a big deal that everybody’s talking about it. I gotta tell you [that] I must admit that I also Googled it.” Grinning, a reddening Zoraida added, “This was early on, though.”

Subsequently, in the following EP block, a smiling Zoraida introduced the very next story, saying, “Morning after the Vice Presidential debate and there’s a lot of talk about Paul Ryan pumping iron. It’s our late night laughs.”** After airing clips of late-night comics Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel mocking Ryan’s Time Magainze iron man poses with weights, Zoraida turned to a smirking John: Sheepishly, Zoraida insisted, “Alright, the intense fascination is because he works out to P90X which is really an intense workout.”

Shaking his head incredulously, John jested, “You know, you don’t have to explain yourself to me. If that’s why you’re Googling him shirtless, that’s, that’s your own business!”

Blushing, Zoraida retorted, “I did it for my job!” Chuckling, she playfully slapped John on the arm. After their shot had ended, an off-cam Zoraida exclaimed, “That’s so wrong!”

So wrong. Or, so right for a blossoming chemistry between Zoraida and John.

*Early Start – 10/12/12 (@ 5:54 a.m. ET)

**Ibid at @ 5:59 a.m. ET.

Rob Marciano: Playboy No More?

October 1, 2012

At least, he no longer subscribes. Early Start co-host Zoraida Sambolin got somewhat fresh with her “Senor Dreamy,” meteorologist Rob Marciano, in the early morn last Thursday. After a first-hour headline news segment, including a story about Playboy‘s Top Party Schools “based on sex, sports, and nightlife,”  Zoraida racily segued to her self-professed “Senor Dreamy,” chuckling, “Hey, Rob, guys always say that they read Playboy. Did you know about this list?”*

Rather chagrinned, Rob stammered, “I no longer, well, subscribe but, yeah, I, I’ve heard, heard about this list.” [Italics added for emphasis.] Grinning at his artful dodge, Zoraida remarked, “Good answer.” With a goatish glint in his eye, Rob bawdily added, “And, I’m surprised that Cornell [Rob’s alma mater] is not on there, quite frankly.”

Arching her eyes with a coy smile, a reddening Zoraida responded, “Oh, ho, ho!” Slamming her pen to the desk in mock disdain first, she then tried vainly to hide her blushing face from him with her left hand briefly. Then, coquettishly, she pulled her hair back as their shot together ended.

“Senor Dreamy,” playboy no more? Fear not, Zoraida. CNN’s now-married VMan Steamy” may no longer be on the prowl but he is captured forever as the “Man for All Seasons” here.

Early Start – 09/27/12 (@ 5:52 a.m. ET)

Carol Costello: I’m Just Whining on a “Friend”

September 10, 2012

CNN Newsroom anchor: “Strange ‘leg crossings’ on Fox’s early, early news.” No wonder FNC’s Fox & Friends First continues to bury its CNN counterpart Early Start in the ratings: Even CNN morning host Carol Costello is tuning in for Fox News’ early morning gamfest.

Today, Mediaite.com author Andrew Kirell reported a very candid Carol Facebook post this morning. To whit, Carol comically declared, “Good morning! Each morning we are amazed at the excellent posture and strange ‘leg crossings’ on Fox’s early, early news. I have tried to get my legs to do that…but, it hurts. What can I say, it’s a slow Monday!”*

Slow or no(t), Carol’s comment  was illuminating. She clearly has her eyes on the early morning juggernaut that is demolishing CNN’s Early Start by more than 2 to 1 in the demo and 3 to 1 in total viewers. And, she herself has tried to emulate the Fox News foxes–without success.

At least, Carol has tried. Perhaps, Early Start co-host Zoraida Sambolin will follow suit. CNN desperately needs a sexy new start to boost its early morning ratings, especially, now that its erstwhile AMray of lightKiran Chetry no longer ushers in the dawn.

[Author’s aside: Title, supra, play on the Rolling Stones’ “Waiting on a Friend.”]

*The Fox & Friends First co-hosts Monday were Patti Ann Browne and Heather Childers.

Early Start’s Banfield Says Goodbye

July 15, 2012

But, Berman says hello. On Friday the 13th aptly, Early Start co-anchor Ashleigh Banfield bid adieu to her ratings-challenged early morning show where she has had a short hapless seven-and-half-month stint. When the penultimate segment of that program concluded, Ashleigh dutifully disclosed, “[I]t’s my last day on the show today.” Sympathetically, her guest co-host Alina Cho turned to her, saying, “I know. I didn’t realize that….Sleep in, girlfriend!”

Subsequently, when ES returned from commercial break, Ashleigh, Alina, and their CNN colleague Christine Romans sat together on the set. Bemoaning Ashleigh’s departure like Alina, Christine emotively remarked, “It’s her last morning waking up with us.” Appearing more than ready to move on, in more ways than one, Ashleigh quite quickly and somewhat impassively answered, “I know. I’m very sad to be leaving you but very excited about doing 11 a.m. on, on CNN.”

Assuredly, Ashleigh must feel that her luck may have changed as she gets a second shot at success at CNN from Ken Jautz when he transfers her from EP to AN, hopefully, a more viable vehicle for her personality. As the hyper, chatty Cannuck replaces CNN Newsroom anchor Kyra Phillips, new CNN hire John Berman (whilom ABC veteran journalist) will try his hand at bringing life to the moribund show when he joins co-anchor Zoraida Sambolin Monday. And, John appears more than ready to roll: in fact, he got a head start on Ashleigh’s announcement Friday by creating a quirky introductory video of himself re his facial hair fascination that was posted for ES blog readers before the show.

See you later, Ashleigh. Good luck, John!

[Author’s aside: Interestingly, as Ashleigh did her farewell tour this last week, Zoraida vacationed in Eygpt. Notably, according to Page Six , one of its sources said that the two just did not gel. Perhaps, a compassionate Jautz felt that it was the best way to let Ashleigh save face as she left the struggling show while her co-host Zoraida remained.]

Ashleigh Out: Zoraida (& John) In

June 26, 2012

Early Start: a new start–a more mellifluous one? ES co-host Ashleigh Banfield, the early morning cacophonous Cannuck, will soon no longer awaken CNN viewers with her virtual fingernail-on-the-chalkboard reveille: rather, she will greet them long after they have left Morpheus’ embrace.

Today, CNN EVP Ken Jautz announced that Ashleigh will anchor her own CNN hour at 11:00 a.m. ET later this summer. She will replace CNN Newsroom host Kyra Phillips, who is moving to HLN to “lead a new daytime program.” In her stead will be new CNN hire John Berman, a former ABC News reporter and Good Morning America contributor.

Almost in tandem with Jautz, Early Start senior producer Christina Ginn subsequently subtly heralded the news. She Tweeted, “Caught @JohnSBerman and @ZoraidaCNN in the @EarlyStartCNN newsroom today: pic.twitter./7TOlhdiU.” In Christina’s included pic, a beaming Zoraida Sambolin embraces a sheepish John, her new ES partner-to-be.”

Early Start: less Red Bull and more cafe au lait.

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.]

Rob Marciano: I’ve Got Butt Implants

May 17, 2012

“Can, can you tell?” On Hump Day, the boys were back in town in the CNN “A.M.” Yesterday, Early Start guest co-host Ali Velshi and meteorologist Rob Marciano brought in some much needed testosterone, albeit a low dose, to the usually “all girl” show. With co-anchor Ashleigh Banfield gone for the week, Ali sat in her place, perhaps, to test run a change in the dynamic of CNN’s moribund morning program.

In the second hour of Early Start Wednesday, news reader Christine Romans reported the story of a young man who had implanted magnets into his wrist to secure his iPod.* Segueing to Ali, Christine suggestively remarked, “Ali, what do you have implanted and where?” As ES co-host Zoraida Sambolin interjected, “Oh, my!,” Ali nonchalantly revealed, “I have a chip: I have one of those things like you put in a dog….I did it for a story. I’m a real company man.”

After an incredulous Zoraida felt the random canine chip in his right forearm, Ali segued to Rob, remarking, “Rob, no need to comment on my bodily [sic], you know, implants.” As Zoraida chuckled, Rob teased, “The company allowed you to do that story so that they can track you kinda like a dog that gets away.” Subsequently, he jauntily joked, “I’ve got butt implants”: Turning to offer the camera and his viewers a profile perspective, he laughed, “Can, can you tell?”

Happily not, Rob. But Early Start does need some “boy” implants. Or, at least, a few more testosterone shots.

*Early Start – 05/16/12 (@ 6:13 a.m. ET)


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