Posts Tagged ‘CNN’

New(s) Starts Monday

September 29, 2013

Sambolin and Berman; Camerota & Hemmer; and solo Carlson. Early Start gets even earlier as Zoraida Sambolin and John Berman‘s show starts 4:00 a.m. ET as it expands to two hours Monday (September 30).* Also, America’s News HQ gains a new hour slot at 1:00 p.m. ET with the end of Megyn Kelly‘s America LiveThe abdicating queen of Fox & Friends Weekend Alisyn Camerota and her single “sidekick” Bill Hemmer host. Furthermore, the former diva of the weekday curvy couch debuts on her eponymous new show The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson at 2 p.m. ET.

[Author's aside: FIVE hours of CNN morning news dawn; Aly AND Gretch rule Megyn's former throne; and Bill FINALLY gets the girl.]

*Early Start - 09/27/13 (5:09 a.m. ET)

BP “To The Couch” Walk: New Day Stupid?

September 18, 2013

Polluting America’s Gulf: Polluting CNN’s airwaves? Lampooning themselves unintentionally a la a Saturday Night Live spoof, CNN New Day co-hosts Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira made a mockery of themselves and their show today anew with their diurnal “To The Couch!” walk sponsored by BP in the penultimate block of ND. After Kate announced that they would be making their odd amble to ND‘s version of F&F‘s “curvy couch” for John Berman‘s “Award of the Day” segment, an actual ad sponsored by BP began to air in a split screen alongside with Chris, Kate, and Michaela strolling to the sofa.

It was embarrassing and absurd. When the author saw this inanity of a crass commercial during ND itself for the first time a while back, he thought it was a lame joke or, perhaps, a jejune jab at F&F‘s famed “curvy couch.” But, it was not to be: It was actually a legitimate commercial. Yikes! It was especially jarring since CNN’s American Morning (an earlier ED iteration) co-hosts Kiran Chetry and John Roberts had covered the 2010 BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico with exceptional reportage and sincere sensitivity.

Whenever this viewer watches Chris, Kate, and Michaela stroll to ND‘s “curvy couch” as the ad voice-over proclaims the merits of BP, he remembers the pollution from that oil company spill that savaged the Gulf of Mexico, its marine life, and the economic livelihoods of so many Gulf states natives. And, those images now spill over onto a seemingly much too cavalier New Day itself.

Scrub well with Dawn, ED, and start a whole new dawn!

Fox & Friends’ Hasselbeck: The New View

September 17, 2013

Brian Kilmeade: “It’s time for a new day.” Yesterday, former View co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck succeeded Gretchen Carlson as the new queen of the curvy couch. After being unceremoniously snubbed by Gretch Friday, Elisabeth returned the favor by not even alluding to her predecessor (even re the segments on the new Miss America winner): The return slight was made all the more conspicuous since Gretchen was excitedly celebrating her silver anniversary as Miss America. Perhaps, Elisabeth was simply letting the past be the past: After all, FNC had just created a new studio for the “high maintenance” lovely according to Judge Andrew Napolitano.*

The Survivor siren definitely has the potential to be a successful F&F co-host: She’s bright, tough, and beautiful–and she certainly has the requisite gorgeous gams to boot. Furthermore, she surely has the right mentality about the F&F family but she took the metaphor a mite too far in her tease preview vid when she deemed her co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade to be like “my brothers”: obviously, F&F uses sexual tension, real or feigned, between the boys and the gal to help propel ratings.

But, apparently, as Brian said in the opening to the latest F&F iteration Monday, “It’s time for a new day.” Hopefully, F&F can keep its natural feel and flow even with the new gal and the new set (that looks somewhat like the one at CNN’s New Day re the imposing window and gigantic couch, ironically). However, if it assumes a highbrow Upper East Side vibe, its more humble flyover fans may be less apt to follow as assiduously as they usually do.

Good luck, Elisabeth! And, welcome to the show!

[Author's aside: Elisabeth jokingly referred to herself as "high maintenance" when Judge Napolitano suggested that FNC had built a new F&F studio for the blond beauty.]

*Fox & Friends – 09/16/13 (@ 6:36 a.m. ET)

Oops! Michaela Pereira’s Number Revealed!

September 5, 2013

Smart watch: dumb reporter? Today, New Day news anchor Michaela Pereira fell victim to the “eye of the camera”–and a CNN colleague’s naivete. In a segment on Samsung’s soon-to-be-released smartwatch, business correspondent Zain Asher gave Michaela and her New Day co-hosts Kate Bolduan and Chris Cuomo a revealing demonstration of what the smartwatch can do. After taking a photo of Kate and Chris, Zain called Michaela: when she did, the camera’s eye closed in on the face of the watch clearly showing Michaela’s phone number [(3**) 2**-***2] for approximately three seconds.*

When Michaela’s number appeared on the screen, Chris slyly interjected, “Why does Michaela have a 1-900 number?” Playing along with his futile attempt at legerdemaine, Michaela smiled suggestively and rolled her eyes racily. Then, when her phone began to ring, Michaela exclaimed, “Oh, there’s a phone call for me! I wonder who that could be!”

After today, that phone call could be from any of Michaela’s New Day fans. But, poor Zain should not feel too bad: she’s not the first one on CNN’s premier morning show to make that mistake. When John Roberts co-anchored American Morning (a New Day precursor), the veteran newscaster called Kiran Chetry on air with his cell phone and similarly displayed Kiran’s number for the world to see. Consequently, Kiran had to change her number: And, doubtlessly, so shall Michaela.

Smile, Michaela! It’s time for the “good stuff.” Time for your free upgrade!

*Early Day – 09/05/15 (@ 8:41 a.m. ET)

[Author's aside: Obviously, Carpe Diem did not publish Michaela's full phone number for privacy purposes.]

Cuomo Tweaks “Really Dumb” Carlson Twerk?

August 31, 2013

Flexin’ Fetchin’ Gretchen: “This [twerk] seems more like a hula!” Yesterday, CNN’s New Day co-anchor Chris Cuomo appeared ready for bear as he took aim at his FNC Fox & Friends rival Gretchen Carlson seemingly Friday. On the very day after the Huffington Post mocked Gretchen for her twerking a la Miley Cyrus on air Thursday, Chris seemed strangely eager to get in a sharp jab at Gretchen.

When a ND story on the birth of panda twins in Atlanta began to wrap Friday, Chris stammered, “I don’t believe, I think it’s really dumb when you see these newscasters trying to twerk.”* Pointing his finger at his audience for added emphasis, he continued, “But, I do believe it is not done very cute and we should try best panda sound.” Smiling dismissively, his co-host Kate Bolduan riposted, “I can not believe [that] you made a twerk/panda reference!” Paying her little mind at most, Chris answered, “Of course, when you see them trying that, you’re like, ‘why are they doing that?'”

Perhaps, Chris, Gretchen is twerking toward that full twelve years for F&F as “king of the hill.” Who knows? If Kate follows suit, she might well give ND, at least, a fighting chance against FNC’s inimical juggernaut.

[Author's aside: Gretchen's quote in the subtitle was the remark that she made after briefly trying to twerk, supra.**]

*New Day – 08/30/13 (@ 7:46 a.m. ET)

**Fox & Friends – 08/29/13 (@ 7:48 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.

Comely Kiran Crowns New Miss Nepal US [Pic]

August 18, 2013

Chetry comes back for an encore. Former CNN/FNC anchor Kiran Chetry returned to the limelight last night to crown the 2013 Miss Nepal US at the Queens Theater in New York City. Before doing so, Kiran excitedly alerted her fans, Tweeting, “I’m judging tonight’s amazing #missnepalus pageant! Joining Miss Nepal 2002 Malvika Subba, Kiran scored sixteen sexy, talented contestants (video) and awarded the title to the beautiful Bartika Rai of New York. After doing so, Kiran a/k/a Ms. Nepal US emerita, personally placed the coveted tiara on Miss Rai.

For her fans who have missed her since her days as CNN’s “Chetrylicious” American Morning anchor, Kiran proved that she still has the look–and the legs. As she installed the lovely 2013 Miss Nepal US, the sexy Nepalese American journalist herself wowed the crowd in her short, strapless “little black dress.” [Pic]

Hurry back, Kiran!

[Author’s aside: The subtitle, supra, refers to Kiran’s role as a 2011 Miss Nepal US[A] judge.]

Prime-Time Megyn: “Hannity & Kelly”?

August 12, 2013

Roger Ailes’ “Minor Change”? In an exclusive Thursday, the Drudge Report reported that Fox News was “set to make its first primetime schedule change in 10 years” and that “superstar newswoman Megyn Kelly [had] landed the 9 PM slot” according to its top sources. When asked about that “rumor” by Fox News’s Neil Cavuto, FNC chief Roger Ailes responded, “Well, generally, I don’t confirm or deny any rumors….However, Megyn has earned a better time period: She’ll be in our prime-time lineup. But, I must quickly say that all of our stars will be back: We have new deals with (Sean) Hannity and Greta (Van Susteren) and Shep(ard Smith).” Noticing Ailes’ obvious omission, Cavuto quizzically commented, “So, it sounds to me like (Bill) O’Reilly‘s gone: Mischievously, Ailes answered, “Yep, he’s finished, that’s it! No, I’m just kidding.”*

According to New York Times columnist Bill Carter, the prevailing speculation is that Megyn will get her own hour and Sean Hannity will move to the 7:00 p.m. slot (replacing Fox Report with Shepard Smith) and Shep will move to an afternoon hour. However, in his Cavuto interview, Ailes himself cryptically remarked, “We have a great roster of talent: I am making a few minor changes….You have to choose well in the first place and have the guts to stay with people who can do the job. And, that’s what I try to do.”** Furthermore, he reportedly explained, “One of my jobs is to get the best audience flow between shows and that’s one of the reason[s] I’m making a few changes right now.”***

And, that very audience of Ailes in both prime-time and full-day ratings “has had a median age of 65-plus (according to the aforementioned NYT author). If the anecdotal observation that older people tend to be resistant to change is true, Ailes would do well to only “[make] a few minor changes” as he seeks to facilitate the “best audience flow” of his hyper-loyal older viewers (and tries  to attract a younger demographic at the same time). Creating three new shows for Megyn, Hannity, and Shep, as the NYT suggested, seems more than a few major changes–especially, when Gretchen Carlson’s new fall show and, an imminent iteration of Fox & Friends (with new co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck) are added into the mix.

“Hannity and Kelly”? Don’t count it out.

*Therightscoop.com (video and text) – 08/08/13.

**Ibid.

***Therightscoop.com (video) – 08/08/3 (@ 02:12/04:13).

[Author's aside: If Megyn does indeed join Hannity, Ailes real primetime schedule (8-11 p.m.), the hosts will represent true-blue gender equality surpassing rivals CNN and MSNBC.]

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!

FNC’s New Future: Megyn In for Greta?

July 7, 2013

Van Susteren: “I’ve been been bucking to get an earlier hour for years….”* Apparently, her boss Roger Ailes was listening: Only five days after FNC On the Record anchor Greta van Susteren uttered those very words to her old friend Larry King on his 06/27/13 eponymous online show, Fox News issued a release which read, “[America Live anchor] Megyn Kelly will move to Fox News Channel’s (FNC) primetime lineup upon her return, announced Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO, FOX News.” However, FNC took pains to highlight the fact that Greta had been signed to a long-term contract (as well as FNC’s other prime time hosts Bret Baier, Shepard Smith, Bill O’Reilly, and Sean Hannity).

In King’s interview of Greta, the former CNN anchor discussed the possible personnel changes of new CNN honcho Jeff Zucker: In so doing, she referenced FNC and her long-time chief, saying, “Look at Fox News….Roger Ailes has been there the whole time I’ve been there. We haven’t had a change in eleven and half years.” Nonchalantly or not, she continued, “I’ve been bucking to get an earlier hour for years but that ain’t happening….If anyone ever left, I would put in a pitch.”

Now that Ailes has decided to change his storied FNC schedule, it seems that Greta will get her wish of an earlier hour. But, whom will she replace or with whom will she pair? If Greta replaces anyone, it will probably be Fox Report host Shepard Smith who could continue to work in his “long-term contract” as anchor of Studio B. But, if Greta were to co-host instead, a likely pairing would be with fellow conservative Sean Hannity who sorely needs fresh blood to reinvigorate his recently ratings-challenged show.

And, if Greta does vacate her 10 p.m. ET throne, it seems that Fox’s long-suffering “rising star” has finally achieved her rightful place in the FNC ether. In December of 2008, Carpe Diem warned Greta to watch out for Megyn. Six months later, the New York Times eyed Megyn as a “potential heir to Ms. Van Susteren.”

Now, Megyn’s time has come: Prime time!

*Larry King Now – 06/27/13 (@ 11:29/28:19

Oops: Aly Laughs at Her Most Loyal F&FW Fans!

July 6, 2013

But, Camerota quickly recants–as she throws her weekday Fox & Friends colleagues under the bus? Today, F&F Weekend co-anchor Alisyn Camerota made a rare gaffe at the expense of her most devoted votaries in the final hour of the show: to wit, she virtually scoffed at them for watching the entire Fox & Friends Weekend show. Ouch!

Ironically, as the last hour of F&FW started this morn, co-host Clayton Morris casually commented, “You’re watching Fox & Friends, the longest morning show in cable news. You don’t believe me? Hour four is starting right now.” Approximately ten minutes later in a discussion with Aly and co-anchor Tucker Carlson (of a study of how Americans spend their off-hours/day), Clayton noted, “Watching TV, two hours and fifty minutes…that seems low to me.” Incredulously, a wide-eyed, agape Aly laughed, “You think…almost three hours a day of television is low? That’s a lot!”

“Aly oops”! Subsequently, as the F&FW trio discussed other ways that Americans spent their diurnal off-duty time, producers apparently whispered in Aly’s ear. As she closed the segment, a seemingly chastened Aly observed that the statistics, including the television-watching one, were “fascinating”: Smiling, she pleaded, “We want you to watch four hours of television every Saturday and Sunday. Commit to that, America, starting at 6:00 a.m. (ET)!”

Callowly, Tucker chimed, “That’s your weekly recommended dose, and you can get it all done just on the weekends.” Concurring wholeheartedly, Aly exclaimed, “Yes, just in one fell swoop with us!” [Never mind their four-hour-per-day-weekdays counterparts (F&F First and F&F)--or even that Irish guy at night.]

Apparently, producers may have worried that their viewers may have suddenly felt disinclined to “waste” a full four hours watching Fox & Friends Weekend on the final day of Independence weekend–after all, Aly had laughed at their and their fellow Americans’ watching even two hours and fifty minutes per day. As F&FW signed off, an ebullient Aly said, “Tune in to us tomorrow: we’ll have all the latest for you, of course.” Pointing to their F&FW audience, Clayton aptly supplicated, “6 a.m. Eastern time, wake up! Set your alarm. Don’t miss a minute of it! Please!” Nodding her head, Aly added, “See you then!”

After her gaffe and laugh, Aly and her boys certainly hope so.

[Author's aside: Aly's faux pas reminded the author of another holiday-time solecism by CNN erstwhile American Morning fill-in co-host Carol Costello: In an aside to her viewers on the day after Christmas in 2008, she gauchely declared, "I hope none of you were watching on Christmas Day because you actually do have a life."]

“New Day”: New Dawn or New Dud?

June 30, 2013

Chris, Kate, and Michaela: CNN’s New Day morning team brings a brighter dawn to their viewers–at least, for now. Gone are the too oft surly Soledad O’Brien and her Starting Point panel of milquetoast toadies (and the subsequent SP fill-ins): And, in their place are three sunnier replacements, alpha male Chris Cuomo, tomboy beauty Kate Bolduan, and the engaging BBBW Michaela Pereira. And, thankfully, for three full hours for those sick and tired of the schizophrenic Early Start/Starting Point (two hour/two hour) start to their CNN day.

For early morn viewers wondering who in the world the new CNN honcho Jeff Zucker’s tyro trio were, they introduced themselves to each other and to viewers in their respective profile segments (vids): Chris’s “Poseidon Adventure”; Kate’s “Skeet’r Shoot”; and Michaela’s “Soccer Mom.” It was almost an homage to FNC’s Fox & Friends: i.e., an acknowledgment that morning news TV should be informative, informal, and personal if it is truly to resonate with its audience.

However, the personal chemistry among Kate, Chris, and Michaela does seem somewhat forced at times, e.g., Chris requesting and receiving a kiss from Michaela and their subsequent group hug at the end of Michaela’s “Soccer Mom” segment. Nevertheless, the three seem to genuinely like other.

Still, Chris seems to be the wild card: He’s the baritone Cuomo scion that sometimes seems somewhat solipsist but is trying hard to mingle with the masses. Hopefully, he can. But, for future reference, as Kate seemed to sense, he probably should not tell aurally challenged, camera-curious three-year-olds–even if in jest–that he won’t abide their stealing “[his] camera” or his “single.”* [Video.]

As Ad Age noted, the results for a New Day were mixed in its debut week (June 17-21). It did edge out its HLN sibling in the ratings and was leaps and bounds above Soledad’s cellar status in the same time period in 2012: However, New Day was trounced by FNC’s Fox & Friends and lost to MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

A New Day: a new dud? It could yet be: But, CNN fans are hoping New Day is truly a new dawn. Leading that chorus, former American Morning co-host Kiran Chetry wished her a.m. “successors” well, saying, “Good luck guys!! The hours are a bear… But the experience is priceless. Godspeed!!!”

*New Day – 06/21/13 (@ 5:28/5:49)

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).

CNN’s Indra vs. FNC’s Maria: Weathergal Catfight?

May 21, 2013

Rowrrr! Yesterday, Early Start co-anchor John Berman introduced blonde beauty Indra Petersons as “our brand new CNN meteorologist and the newest addition to our team here in the morning.”* The Latvian lovely stands in stark contrast to Cosmo’s caliente Nicaraguan nymph Maria Molina, the brunette beauty who just snared her own early morn Monday-through-Friday gig on FNC.

According to IndraPetersons.com, Indra is of Latvian heritage, speaks the language fluently, and has learned her country’s “native folk songs and dances” (including the polka). Furthermore, she is said to be a Los Angeles native who started her career in El Paso at KVIA as a weathergal; moved on to Santa Barbara at KEYT as a meteorologist; and then went to Los Angeles’ ABC7 in 2004 as not only the weatherwoman but also as a “general assignment reporter” before replacing Rob Marciano as CNN’s premier meteorologist.  As far as her hobbies are concerned, the hottie is a travel enthusiast who chronicles here travels on her Facebook page.

Whether one agrees with global warming or not, the weather just got a lot hotter with the new girl in town! And, the mornings may dawn just a little sweeter with the potential pillow fights in the offing between CNN’s new  long-tressed towhead and her FNC brown-maned rival. CNN’s Indra vs. FNC’s Maria: a cable dream pay-per-view!

*Early Start – 05/20/13 (@ 6:05 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.]

Kiran Chetry: She’s Finally Back!

April 23, 2013

“Works at NBC.” Former American Morning co-host Kiran Chetry has finally seized her “very special opportunity” seemingly. After bidding her faithful fans a tearful namaskaar almost two years ago from AM‘s diva divan, Kiran updated her work status today on Facebook, demurely declaring, “Works at NBC News.”

Carpe Diem readers should not be too surprised. Over six months ago, when Kiran announced that she would be a featured keynote address speaker with NBC’s Willie Geist, the author queried, “Kiran’s ‘very special opportunity’ at hand?” More tellingly, perhaps, a month ago to the day, Kiran happily heralded her appearance on NBC news for her Rock Center segment on Tennessee school twins.

Welcome back, Kiran! It’s been far too long!

Laurie Dhue: “For the Record”

March 12, 2013

“Restoration of [Laurie's] journalism [career]“? Today, TheBlaze TV announced that it will premier a new series entitled For the Record tomorrow. With a teaser video featuring former Fox News anchor Laurie Dhue, it proclaimed, “The restoration of journalism has begun.” Strangely, TheBlaze TV did not mention Laurie by name in either its promo print or its introductory vid.

Perhaps, after a five-year absence from anchoring a cable news program, the erstwhile FNC/CNN/MSNBC host is making a stealthy return to television journalism. In fact, she herself has neither Tweeted nor FaceBooked publicly her appearance on the premier of For the Record tomorrow. Nevertheless, in a premature update without a citation, Laurie’s Wikipedia page declares, “Laurie Dhue began hosting ‘For the Record’ on the new media channel ‘The Blaze’ on March 13, 2013.”

For the Record: TheBlaze TV’s “Dhue point”?

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.

“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.]


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