Posts Tagged ‘John Berman’

Aly Debuts on CNN Tonight!

July 19, 2014

Not the best fit: But, a good start. Last night, former Fox & Friends Weekend co-anchor Alisyn Camerota made her grand debut on CNN–on CNN Tonight. Giving her fans little notice, she Tweeted an early evening missive, saying, “Thanks for asking when I’ll be back on-the-air. The answer is…tonight. 10pm – midnight et.w/@donlemon on #CNN. Hope you’ll tune in.” Of course, this long-time fan of Aly did just that.

As the two-hour special began, co-anchor Don Lemon and Aly introduced themselves and the two stories of the night, the downing of the Malaysian airline in the Ukraine and the “Showdown in Gaza.” Then, Don turned to Aly, saying, “And, Alisyn, I want to welcome you to CNN. It is an honor to work with you tonight, and it’s good to have you here.” Smiling, Aly answered, “Thanks so much! I’m happy to be here on such an important story.”*

As always, Aly was on her game–prescient, incisive, and sure-footed. However, she and Don seemed as if they were feeling each other out. And, Don appeared not necessarily quite ready to accede to Aly her equal billing.

According to Politico
, Aly, Don, and New Day co-host Chris Cuomo have piloted a show called “The 10 o’clock Show”–perhaps, a play on FNC’s The Five. Last night, adventitiously or not, Chris appeared on CNN Tonight and Aly commended him on his “great reporting.” In the author’s opinion, Aly, Don, and Chris seem like an odd platonic melange a trois for a CNN evening whereas Aly, John Berman, and Kiran Chetry would make for a much more dynamic trio at the dawn of a “New Day.”

*CNN Tonight – 07/18/14 (@ 10:01 p.m. ET).

Kate Bouldan Preggers!

April 11, 2014

And, her Mikey likes it! Today, New Day co-host Kate Bolduan confirmed to her viewers that she is indeed pregnant with her first child. In the first block of the final hour, guest news reader John Berman closed his headline news stories segment, saying, “And, finally, crossing just moments ago on People.com, I want you to take a look at this [photo of People.com article entitled, "Kate Bolduan Expecting First Child"].* Jesting, he deadpanned, “CNN currently working to confirm this story: And, by that, I mean, Kate Bolduan, tell us everything!”

As applause erupted on the set, a chagrined Kate replied, “What is there to tell! My husband and I are expecting our first child.” She continued, “And, we finally are at a place where we are very excited to share the news with everybody.” Looking over at her co-anchor Chris Cuomo, she added, “And, very thankful because you all without probably even knowing it put up with some pretty gnarly morning sickness.”

Disabusing Kate of that notion apace, Chris riposted, “No. We’re all painfully aware.” Turning to Kate and embracing her with a kiss, Chris assured, “And, it’s worth it! Worth it! Congratulations!” Bussing him back with a hug, she replied, “I love you.”

As Kate beamed and reddened, Chris turned to the camera in a quick “shout out” to Kate’s hubby Michael Gershenson [pic and bio]: As if to assuage any jealousy from Kate’s hubby, Chris exclaimed, “Congratulations, Michael!” Then, he heartily sent out a feigned embrace with both arms around Michael and a closed-eyed kiss on the mouth of the poor man for “good measure.”

Turning to Kate anew, Chris declared, “We’re so happy!”

Indeed. Congratulations, Kate, to you and Michael!

*New Day – 04/11/14 (@ 8:12 a.m. ET).

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?

Comely Camerota: CNN’s Catch?

March 31, 2014

Bathing beauty Aly: “For anyone wondering what I’ve been up to….” Today, Alisyn Camerota, the quondam queen of Fox & Friends Weekend‘s curvy couch got her fans attention with that Twitter tease that featured her in a sexy bathing beauty pose. She may have been more demure than her daring ’80′s bikini shot but the Bristol Bay Babe was just as alluring with her sexy come-hither pose. The catch? The former F&FW fox has jumped ship to CNN according to FTVLive.

For Fox & Friends viewers, Aly’s move should come as no surprise. FNC’s Senior VP of Programming Bill Shine has seemingly given his erstwhile best anchor the shaft: When he ditched Gretchen Carlson on F&F weekday, it appeared that the long-suffering three-time co-anchor of F&FW and frequent guest-host of F&F would finally get her due. Instead, the same genius that chose Gretch to be E. D. Hill‘s replacement on F&F over the eminently superior Kiran Chetry decided to go outside of the FNC family and choose Barbara Walter’s View outcast, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, rather than F&F fan favorite Aly.

Hopefully, CNN Prez Jeff Zucker will put Aly on against Lis in the mornings to jump start his moribund morning show New Day. Of course, Aly will be at a distinct disadvantage having to contend against Shine’s FNC juggernaut trio that also includes F&F Everyman Steve Doocy and Puckish wit Brian Kilmeade. Hopefully, Aly will join a cast including current Early Start co-host, wag John Berman, and another engaging gal or guy during the New Day time period: I.e., if the proverbial CNN stars are aligned propitiously, ND co-anchor Kate Bouldan, Michaela Pereira, and Chris Cuomo will find new places on Ted Turner’s network and Aly can usher in a new dawn to CNN.

Congratulations, Aly! And, good luck!

H/t, J$P!

Bradley Cooper Mutes Breathless Christine Romans?

February 16, 2014

John Berman: “Worth checking the Internet for that.” Early Start co-anchor John Berman brought back old embarrassing memories for his new co-host Christine Romans Wednesday.

Reading a headline news story on the President’s State Dinner for the French head of state, John noted that Oscar-nominated hunk Bradley Cooper was in attendance: Puckishly, he queried, “Have you [Christine] met Bradley Cooper?”*

Coolly, Christine answered, “He was right here on this program one day. Yes, indeed!”

Mischievously, he riposted, “Interesting. Worth checking the Internet for that moment.”

Blushing, a chagrined Christine pleaded, “Don’t!”

But, do. (Link here.)

[Author's aside: Former American Morning co-anchor Kiran Chetry likens their shared interview of Cooper to "two schoolgirls in a bar."]

*Early Start – 02/12/14 (@ 5:45 a.m. ET).

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).

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!

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).

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.]

“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.

Starting Point: Soledad’s Dud?

October 1, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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