Posts Tagged ‘Ashleigh Banfield’

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: 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!

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!

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.

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)

CNN’s Early Start: American Morning Again?

May 14, 2012

Alina Cho MT: WEIWEI”@AliVelshi…good AM.” Freudian slip? As Early Start began this morning guest co-host, a “wiredAli Velshi, Tweeted, “Nice to be back w/ my buddy, colleague & former office mate @AlinaChoCNN. Between her @ZoraidaCNN & @ChristineRomans, it’s a good morning.” In reply, Alina exclaimed, “WEIWEI” and MT’d Ali’s Tweet with the not so subtle change of “good morning” to “good AM.” Whether she was answering enthusiastically in French phonetically, or, less plausibly, simply could not contain herself, literally, her message was crystal clear: Alina was quite excited to be back again with her former American Morning colleagues, AM co-hosts Ali and Christine Romans.

As well, Alina–not to mention, CNN suits–should have been. Early Start was a marked improvement over its short and dismal past: E.g., Co-host Zoraida Sambolin simply came alive today and asserted herself charismatically with uncharacteristic aplomb. Perhaps, it was simply because the rather reserved Zoraida was no longer tethered to her regular co-host Ashleigh Banfield, who, according to Inside Cable News, lacks the requisite chemistry with Zoraida as a “hyper and over-caffeinated [anchor who leaves] no pause unmolested” in contradistinction to the more reserved Zoraida. Furthermore, it was a delight to see the facile, informed exchanges between Ali and Christine in clear contrast to the usual sycophancy of Ashleigh toward her “Mayor of the Morning” Christine.

Yes, American Morning under Ali and Christine and their erstwhile interim co-anchor Carol Costello was assuredly a morning CNN cellar dweller: But, at least, it was watchable (even eminently so, at least, until AM’s last permanent co-host, comely Kiran Chetry, bid her fans a final namaskaar). And, that is more than one can readily say about Early Start as it fatefully charters new ratings depths (even lower than AM ever descended in its ten-year history).

“Early Start”: American Morning again? CNN viewers can only hope.

Recently “Ringless” Romans: Randy?

May 2, 2012

Ashleigh Banfield: You’re both blushing! Recently “ringless” Early Start guest co-host Christine Romans appeared rather randy Monday as she discussed the latest FDA-approved erectile dysfunction drug Stendra. Almost like a silly school girl, Christine reddened and appeared rather giddy as she talked to CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen about men’s erections and their willingness to get them at almost any expense. Her similarly “ringless” co-host Ashleigh Banfield noticed and gave her grief.

The health segment with Elizabeth began sensibly enough as Christine introduced the most recent drug Stendra and asked, “Why take this one, Elizabeth?”* Before explaining, Elizabeth joked, “Right, you might want to ask the question, ‘Does the world really needed four drugs for this?'” In response, Christine’s somber visage changed as she blushed, giggled, and suggestively cocked her head.

In answer to Christine’s query, Elizabeth explained that the new drug worked for some men within fifteen minutes as opposed to significantly longer times for other ED drugs. Subsequently, she elaborated that the side effects of Stendra were generally rather mild but that one rare but “bizarre” side effect was the temporary loss of vision. Then, she concluded, “But, doctors we talked to said, ‘That doesn’t really scare men away. They don’t really care: they want the drug, they want the erection, and they don’t really care if they temporarily lose their vision.'” Flushed and beaming, Christine repeated rubbed the erogenous zone beneath her left earlobe and jested, “Huh, a trade-off that is somehow not surprising!”

Subsequently, concluding the interview, Christine thanked Elizabeth and tossed to her co-host Ashleigh Banfield. Grinning like a Cheshire cat, Ashleigh exclaimed, “You’re both blushing! Go figure,” and then cackled wickedly. Off-camera, a seemingly chagrined Christine chuckled, “Uh, yes we are.”

“Recently Ringless” Romans randy? At least, an “early start.”

*Early Start – 04/30/12 (@ 6:42 a.m. ET)

Romans’ “No Ring” Circus

April 29, 2012

Trampoline Bear abused anew? Friday Early Start guest co-host Christine Romans reached back into her ignoble American Morning past when she once again reveled in the seeming sadism of Shepard Smith’s “Trampoline Bear” video. As she concluded ES with one final headline news story, Christine cheerfully noted, “Check out this awesome photo taken after police hit a bear in a tree with a tranquilizer dart….Campus police say he landed safely…on some mats [that] they pulled from the rec center.” After showing a pic of the bear suspended in midair above a mattress, Christine gleefully exclaimed, “Reminds us of this classic from Missoula, Montana, back in 2003: It’s the bear [that] fell out of the tree after getting another tranquilizer dart..”

Taking their cue, ES producers ran a snippet of the infamous video of the Trampoline Bear, a Missoula black bear falling onto a trampoline under a tree, being propelled high into the air, barreling headfirst into the unyielding ground, and then crumpling under its own weight. In response, Ashleigh chortled and then “sympathetically” said, “Oooh!” As producers ran the odious footage again in a loop, Christine quickly asserted, “Now come on! That looks like a hard fall! We promise he was fine, he was fine!”

Unconvinced, her ES co-anchor Ashleigh Banfield declared, “It does look like a hard fall. It does look like a hard fall!” Icily, Christine cooed, “They are so relaxed! They are so relaxed.” Ashleigh jested, “Wouldn’t you be with a tranquilizer dart? Uh, yie, yie!”

Belying her earlier assurances with a certain Schadenfreude, Christine deadpanned, “Oh, the headache later, you wouldn’t believe it!”

No worries, Early Start viewers, Trampoline Bear “was fine: He was fine!” At least, so promises CNN’s Christine Romans. Again.

[Author's aside: The "'no ring' circus" reference in the title was a playful allusion to married ES co-hosts Christine and Ashleigh's noticeably bare ring fingers Friday.]

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.

Ashleigh: Zoraida, “React!”

February 27, 2012

Well, it‘s terrible.” Today Early Start co-anchor Ashleigh Banfield demanded that her co-host Zoraida Sambolin do what she seems to too oft not do, i.e., react–or, at least, say more. Perhaps, Ashleigh feared that “Page 6″ [updated February 2] sources may indeed be right: the two of them “just don’t gel”–she “talks to much” and Zoraida “doesn’t say enough.”

Early this morning, when Zoraida read a headline news story (about an octogenarian veteran who had been brutally carjacked by an assailant and subsequently had been largely ignored by bystanders), Ashleigh shook her head and exclaimed, “Makes you sick!” As Zoraida succinctly answered, “It’s, it’s pathetic,” Ashleigh gesticulated somewhat histrionically and emotively elaborated, “‘A,’ that he’s a vet; ‘b,’ that he’s an elderly gentleman; ‘c,’ that he was carjacked in front of everybody; and ‘d,’ that people walked right by. Please! Am I outraged enough!” As Zoraida rather sedately remarked, “Oh, it’s terrible,” Ashleigh demanded, “React!”

In response, Zoraida softly said, “Well, it’s terrible.” Without so much as a verbal reply to her co-host, Ashleigh incongruently chuckled and turned to the camera. Then, to her ES audience, she simply said, “It’s twenty-three minutes past five. Uh, let’s get  you up to speed on your early reads.”

Guess it’s still Ground Hog Day at ES.

*Early Start – 02/27/12 (@ 5:23 a.m. ET)

Banfield: “Mayor” Romans Now “Favorite Nerd”

February 6, 2012

Christine: Hunh. I’ll take that as a compliment. Last Friday, Early Start co-host Ashleigh Banfield demoted CNN biz beauty Christine Romans from “Mayor of the Morning” to her “favorite nerd.” Maybe, Starting Point anchor Soledad O’Brien has had a word with Ashleigh.

Approximately a month ago, as ES just got off the ground, newbie Ashleigh fawningly called her CNN colleague Christine (and her immediate predecessor qua American Morning interim co-host) “Mayor of the Morning.” Subsequently, Carpe Diem noted the fact and Ashleigh has since seemed to surcease using the adoring appellation for her “idol.” However, last Friday, Ashleigh appeared to find a new one, i.e., nerd, to the chagrin of Christine.

After Ashleigh introduced the biz beauty’s January jobs report began, a goofy Christine remarked, “You thought it was [the] Super Bowl [that] was a big thing coming up. For me, it’s the Super Bowl of indicators.” In reply, Ashleigh aptly riposted, “You are such a nerd!” Smiling, Christine concurred, “I know. And, that’s the jobs report: I can’t help it.”

When Christine concluded her story, the Palin-bespectacled Cannuck chuckled, “You are my favorite nerd! That’s all I have to say.” Rolling her eyes upwords, a less-than-convincing Christine concluded, “Hunh. I’ll take that as a compliment.” As vid of the upcoming segments began to run and Ashleigh’s co-host Zoraida Sambolin began to tease them, an off-camera voice (sounding identical to Christine) reassuringly whispered, “Don’t worry about it.”

Apparently, Christine is not as keen on her latest title. However, she seems to have given Ashleigh a pass this time. Maybe, she, too, has had a word from Soledad.

*Early Start – 01/03/12 (@ 6:07 a.m. ET)

Ashleigh & the Gals: Too Much Estrogen?

January 25, 2012

Early Start’s Ashleigh Banfield: “It’s killing me!” The very ES co-anchor who heralded the “brand new line-up…of [CNN] morning tv–all girls” less than three weeks ago* seemed less than thrilled with the estrogen overload on her show today. After an ES segment on the State of the Union speech this morning with three women panelists (of whom two of the them continued to go at it beyond their allotted time), Ashleigh exclaimed, “I can’t stop you two! We got five women (herself, co-host Zoraida Sambolin, and the panelists) on going on this TV right now: It’s killing me!”**

Not too surprising. With Jaqui Jeras covering for her “Mr. Dreamy” a/k/a Rob Marciano today, Ashleigh appeared to need a fresh infusion of some early  morning testosterone. But with her erstwhile A.M. Adonis gone, the comely Cannuck seemed eager to embrace another male this early morn–but, to no avail.

Perhaps, Ken Jautz’s morning all-girl world is not all that it is supposed to be. For Ashleigh. Or, her audience.

* Early Start – 01/05/12 (@ 6:50 a.m ET)

**Ibid at 01/25/12 (@ 5:40 a.m. ET)

Ashleigh Banfield’s Band: Missing Again?

January 24, 2012

Early Start co-host Ashleigh Banfield appears to have lost her wedding band again this morning. Perhaps, the Palin-bespectacled beauty sensed that its appearance yesterday on her ring finger may not have augured well for the desired demographic that seems to be eluding ES at the moment. I.e., CNN’s estrogen-infused and testosterone-bereft morning news show may need a mite more to arouse its male (and female) viewers than a “single” too oft cacophonous Cannuck and her “ringless” comely coy companion Zoraida Sambolin.

Doubtlessly, ES is an hour too early, and Ash appears to acknowledge that each time she assures her audience that the news is not old news from yesterday but will be the new news later in the day. Not to mention Ashley’s telling her West Coast viewer to go to bed as she greets her East Coast audience indicates that one may have tuned in just a tad too early. Not necessarily an auspicious start to one’s day.

Unfortunately, Ash’s co-anchor Zoraida seems all too content to sit idly on ES‘ sidelines. The lovely Latina professes that the early hour is her favorite one but she seems to blossom a little later in the day (e.g., Z’s tantalizing tango and sexy cha cha). But, if the brunette beauty ever seeks to supplant even remotely AM‘s Aphrodite Kiran Chetry in the hearts of her CNN viewers, she must soon emerge from Ashleigh’s long shadow.

Early Start: A little late.

“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)

CNN A.M.: Christine Back Already?

January 4, 2012

Early Start and Starting Point: “Vampire” Romans Reemerges. CNN may have put a silver bullet in their cellar-dwelling American Morning but former AM co-host Christine Romans did not seem to notice. Under cover of night, the biz beauty reemerged as headline news reader Tuesday on CNN’s partial replacement morning show Starting Point anchored by Soledad O’Brien. Today, Christine was promoted to the “magic wall” election expert: She appeared on both SP and Early Start (the even earlier CNN morning program co-anchored by Ashleigh Banfield and Zoraida Sambolin).

Eerie? Perhaps, not. CNN chief Ken Jautz may now realize that the old American Morning audience needs, at least, a somewhat suitable segue to the new morning shows. After all, AM viewers were not even alerted to the fact that American Morning was ending last Friday. This Monday, laic CNN morning viewers were likely quite surprised with the disappearance of AM and it’s co-hosts, Ali Velshi, Carol Costello, and Christine Romans.

Perchance, Jautz decided to ease that abrupt transition by bringing Christine back to the CNN early a.m. programs. Christine back? Apparently, at least, for the moment.

Rob Marciano: “Senor Dreamy”

January 3, 2012

“This is ridiculous!” As new CNN anchors Ashleigh Banfield and Zoraida Sambolin began their virgin voyage together early yesterday morning on Early Start, Ashleigh and Zoraida appeared especially smitten with meteorologist Rob Marciano. Teasing Rob’s appearance in the last segment of the show before the final ad break, Ashleigh remarked, “We’re going to talk weather in just a moment with another favorite colleague, Rob Marciano. He’s dreamy! Did I say that?”* Looking over at Zoraida, she again asserted, “He’s dreamy! He is dreamy.” Smiling, Zoraida replied, “No, I remember that. Very excited about Mr. Marciano!”

As ES returned from commercial for Rob’s report, Ashleigh giggled, “Oh! Oh! All is fair!” Subsequently, as Zoraida introduced erstwhile AM’s Adonis, she cooed, “Rob, I’m gonna call you, Mr. Dreamy because.” Cutting the sexy Latino lovely short, Rob flirted back, exclaiming, “Mister, Senor Dreamy, please.” Rolling her “r’s” in response, Zoraida purred, “Oh, Senor Dreamy.” Seeming slightly embarrassed replied, “This is ridiculous!”

Before Ashley could interject, Rob declared, “I have thirty seconds. I have to cut you off right there.” Ashley answered, “Oh, you’re just too embarrassed to be called Mr. Dreamy on tv.” Rob stammered, “That, that could be it, too.” As the shot zoomed in on a reddening Rob, off-camera Ashley laughed and Zoraida teased, “He’s blushing!”

Early Start: Just the beginning–for Rob and his new gals.

*Early Start – 01/02/12 (@ 6:54 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.

Carol Costello: “I Want to Retire Very Soon”

November 8, 2011

The wife of Ken Jautz’s “Odd Couple” out? Last Friday, CNN announced that American Morning was being replaced in 2012 with two new morning shows in its time slot. Furthermore, it revealed that CNN newbies Ashleigh Banfield and Zoraida Sambolin would co-host the 5-7 a.m. ET edition and that former AM co-host Soledad O’Brien would anchor the 7-9 a.m. ET one: Ergo, AM co-hosts Ali Velshi, Christine Romans, and Carol Costello were out as CNN’s early morning co-hosts.

However, CNN issued almost simultaneously a press release detailing Ali Velshi’s future (assuming “new roles across CNN Worldwide” as he started “signature segments on CNN/U.S. and anchor CNN International’s ‘World Business Today'”). As to Christine, she herself Tweeted, “Have no fear. You will still see my business reports and interviews.” Meanwhile, Carol stayed strangely silent.

Today, she seemed to break her silence today after a segment by Ali and Christine on personal finance hyping their new book, How to Speak Money. When the two tossed to her with a tease for their investment story tomorrow on “how to make your money work for you,” a subdued  Carol laughed, “Okay, I’m excited to hear that one–’cause I want to retire very soon.”* In response, Ali merely grinned as Christine chuckled animatedly.

As AM ends, for this Costello, the question may not “who’s on first“–but if she’s on at all.

*American Morning – 11/08/11 (@ 6:47 a.m. ET)

CNN’s New “A.M.”: Soledad O’Brien Back

November 3, 2011

Out with the old & in with the new? For the most part. CNN announced that it is replacing its flagging American Morning with two new two-hour show in a “new format of news and conversation in the morning” in 2012. Fresh CNN faces, Emmy-winning former TruTV anchor Ashleigh Banfield and current NBC5 News Today (Chicago) Weekday Edition co-host and Telemundo Chicago correspondent Zoraida Sambolin, will co-host the 5-7 a.m. ET edition: CNN veteran, award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien returns to her former American Morning time slot in the subsequent 7-9 a.m. ET hours.

Perhaps, with a soupcon of a positive spin, Executive VP and Managing Editor of CNN Mark Whitaker proclaimed, “This is an exciting time to be relaunching our morning show, with the morning television audience more up for grabs than it has been in years.” As to the nature of the new programs, boss Executive VP of CN Ken Jautz opaquely declared, “We are planning to offer something original in the four-hour morning block to complement our direction in primetime.” More pellucidly, the CNN release explained that Banfield and Sambolin’s program would cover a “broad spectrum of the day’s news” and that O’Brien’s show would be a “new conversational ensemble program that explores top issues of the day opening the conversation to people of all walks of life.”

Not surprisingly, the three new hosts were quite effusive in their enthusiasm for their respective shows. Banfield said, “I’ve dreamed of joining CNN for more than 20 years. It’s the gold standard of news–the brand, the people, and the product.” Her co-host Sambolin added, “I am completely thrilled to be coming to CNN. Ashleigh is an accomplished journalist with an incredible wit and dynamic personality.” As to O’Brien herself, she declared, “I couldn’t be more eager to return to daily news, to bring conversation and context to CNN viewers in the morning. I welcome the opportunity to give voice to people who aren’t often heard and stories that are sometimes overlooked.”

Understandably, CNN did not discuss the future of American Morning “temporary” co-hosts, Ali Velshi, Christine Romans, and Carol Costello in its press release, supra. However, in a separate release issued today, CNN said that temporary AM co-host Ali Velshi  would be taking “new roles across CNN Worldwide” as he “launch[ed] signature segments on CNN/U.S. and anchor CNN International’s ‘World Business Today.'” However, CNN did not mention Christine Romans or Carol Costello in either. Nevertheless, when Romans was asked about her future, she Tweeted, “@HRHughesIII have no fear. You will still see my business reports and interviews. As to Costello, her plans may be less certain: her CNN bio simply lists her as “a contributor to American Morning.”


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