Posts Tagged ‘Ken Jautz’

Kiran: “Not the Whole Story by Any Means”

September 25, 2012

Inquisitr snark : It appears Kiran Chetry is still waiting for that “special opportunity.” Foxy former CNN American Morning co-anchor Kiran Chetry seemed more than a mite miffed yesterday at little known Inquisitr.com author Nathan Francis who penned a strangely-timed, snippy piece entitled, “Kiran Chetry Still Waiting for Her Big Return to Television.” In a Tweet to her Twitter followers, Kiran linked to Francis’ story that claimed that she had not left CNN on “exactly amicable” terms and that derided her subsequent work, declaring, “Not the whole story by any means.”

Indeed. In Francis’ article almost two months after the one year anniversary of Kiran’s tearful namaskaar to CNN for a “very special opportunity,” Francis alleged that she had left on not “exactly amicable terms,” inanely citing her infamous on-air “scolding” by her then co-host John Roberts. Perhaps, the new writer at Inquitr forgot–if he ever knew–that it was Roberts who left AM shortly thereafter, and Kiran stayed on to be an anchor of CNN EVP Ken Jautz’s “right ‘American family.'”

Furthermore, Francis took his bizarre broadsides to Kiran and her work after CNN on E! News as a special correspondent and a GBTV guest anchor. Re Kiran in her red carpet reportage of the New York City premier of Smash, he sniped, ” [A] former Fox News reporter [who] found her way back onto television in January.”As to her engaging GBTV gig, he caviled, “[B]arely warrant[ing] a mention on Media Bistro…leaving fans who wanted to see her return to television disappointed.” Caustically, he concluded, “It appears Kiran Chetry is still waiting for that ‘special opportunity.'”

Actually, as the author noted over two months ago in Carpe Diem‘s “Kiran: A Year Later,” Kiran has seized her “very special opportunity” on a profoundly personal level. And, it is her faithful fans who are “still waiting for that ‘special opportunity'” for her professionally. As to Francis’ froth, as Oscar Wilde once said, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”

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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.

Kiran: A Face for Radio?

May 17, 2012

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

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

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

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

April 11, 2012

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

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

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

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

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)

Christine’s Starting Point

January 12, 2012

CNN a.m. anchor again? CNN’s “Mayor of the MorningChristine Romans, the former “interim” American Morning co-anchor Christine Romans appears to be creeping back. Whether Soledad O’Brien likes it or not, Christine seems to be expanding her role from headline news reader and CNN business correspondent to stealth anchor.

After her show AM was cancelled almost two weeks ago (December 30), Christine waited just one business day later until she returned to the early CNN morn like a phoenix. Initially, she started off innocuously  enough as headline news reader with hits on the half hour on Starting Point. The very next day, Christine seized the role of the “Magic Wall” election expert. Subsequently, Christine has assumed the role again of biz whiz and even anchor–albeit on the sly. E.g., during her purported “headline news segment,” she has begun to take live reports, e.g., from correspondents such as Nic Robertson (Syria); Brianna Kielar (White House); and HLN sports anchor Joe Carter–not to mention, Christine has started to include CNN’s weather report and her resurrected AM “Minding Your Business” occasionally before tossing to Soledad again.

Perhaps, CNN chief Ken Jautz is having second thoughts about letting Soledad O’Brien anchor CNN a.m. again–at least, on her own.

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.

Christine: Ali’s Delicate!

December 18, 2011

Rob: “He’s a delicate challenge….I’ve known that for a while!” American Morning co-anchor Ali Velshi got a much deserved flaying Wednesday for his brief two-day return to the show last week. After jetting around the world for weeks for some fun and purportedly business, Ali came back to help helm AM Monday and Tuesday: Then, he was off for the rest of the week to the amusement of his co-hosts, Christine Romans and Carol Costello, and CNN meteorologist Rob Marciano.

As Rob’s 6:20 a.m. ET weather report came to an end, he tossed back to the two present AM co-hosts, Christine and Carol. Jesting, Rob sniped, “What! Does Ali come back for one [sic] day and then he flies the coop?” Shaking her head, a smiling Christine replied, “He’s delicate! He’s a delicate, what, he’s a delicate, you know, I mean.” Feeling in the blanks, Rob laughed, “He’s a delicate challenge. Yes, I’ve known that for a while!”

Looking down at her desk, arching her eyebrows, and nodding her head in agreement, a more reticent Carol chuckled, “I don’t even know how to respond to that.”

A fun AM moment. Rob, just what the AM doctor should have ordered? Too bad, CNN chief Ken Jautz never gave you a trial run with Kiran Chetry before he axed the show.

American Morning – 12/14/11 (@ 6:22 a.m. ET)


T.J. Holmes Leaves CNN

December 6, 2011

To join Kiran Chetry? CNN Newsroom weekend anchor T. J. Holmes revealed that he is departing CNN at the end of the year according to Richard Prince. TVNewser confirmed the news with CNN programming director Janelle Rodriguez and further reported that T. J. “already has another gig lined up.”

Hm. Is CNN’s ebony Adonis following in the footsteps of American Morning’s Aphrodite, i.e., T. J.’s friend and former AM co-host Kiran Chetry? Less than five months ago (end of July), Kiran left CNN for a  yet to-be-announced “very special opportunity” and just last month she assured her followers that she would be back on TV “very soon.” Perhaps, even though CNN honcho Ken Jautz’s test AM iteration of T. J. and Kiran did not quite work out this year, the two may plan to reunite in early 2012 in another television venture elsewhere.

Regardless, CNN viewers will miss the genuinely charming Southern gentleman with a quick wit, a ready smile, and a personable touch. For T. J.’s American Morning fans (who are likewise bereft of the captivating Kiran), at least, his ivory twin Rob Marciano remains for now as the moribund AM comes to an end next year.

T. J., thanks for the CNN memories. Hopefully, your fans will see you again soon on the air. If with Kiran, all the better!

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.”

Kiran Out & Soledad In: Ouch!

July 15, 2011

A not so subtle message? Wow! In a strange and somewhat sadistic twist of fate, Soledad O’Brien returned this morning to American Morning to sub for Kiran Chetry as co-host. N.B. Today marks the very first day after AM announced Kiran Chetry’s departure from the show on July 29. Ouch!

As readers may remember, Soledad herself was co-anchor of AM (for almost four years) before being unceremoniously dumped for Kiran on April 16, 2007 to jumpstart AM‘s anemic ratings. When then CNN/US Prez Jon Klein announced the shakeup (Soledad/Miles O’Brien replaced by Kiran/John Roberts), he noted that AM‘s ratings had faltered in the ratings while the rest of CNN’s programming had increased by double digits: he added, “We think we can do even better and we think the show deserves to.”

Unfortunately for CNN, Klein’s replacement team never really did too much better in the needed numbers. And, Soledad probably thought that it certainly did not deserve to do so after her ousting. And, now that her replacement Kiran is on her own way out at “the ratings-challenged morning show,” Soledad must have found a measure of sweet revenge to return to her former AM throne on the first day after AM proclaimed the end of Kiran’s reign.

Even if Soledad sweetly did not fill her own sense of shadenfreude, someone at AM apparently did. Soledad’s ill-timed fill-in seemed like a gratuitous slap at Kiran from that somebody. Perchance, a parting shot by that anonymous AM staffer who told Page 6 that “Kiran is dumb as a rock” (in its Halloween night 2010 story on possible big changes at AM by new CNN chief Ken Jautz)?

Kicking Kiran on her way out? Not necessarily the best idea: Some of the show’s most loyal viewers are her fans. But, with AM possibly on its own way out (as Inside Cable News suggested), perhaps, that AM somebody simply did not care anymore.

AM Adopts F&F’s Couch (But, Shep’s Commode?)

May 17, 2011

The De-Klein and Fall of American Morning in one day? Today AM co-hosts Christine Romans and Ali Velshi and their audience celebrated the long-awaited arrival of their cozy “curvy couch” (a la FNC’s Fox & Friends). However, regrettably, along with it came a real Fox News seat–the unflushed porcelain throne of Shepard Smith–still filled with the Ole Miss devotee’s disgusting dung, i.e., the offensive seven-year old Trampoline Bear video.

As AM began today, the camera panned over the comfy couch that AM co-host Kiran Chetry had apparently teased almost three months ago to Mediaite.com reporter Tommy Christopher. For far too long, the AM audience had suffered under the inane adage of former CNN chief Jon Klein that “couches/chairs sap energy.” However, today, his successor Ken Jautz clearly took yet another shackle off of his AM co-hosts to free them to be “more upbeat,” “more compelling…engaging, [and] sometimes more fun.” I.e., to sit down and talk to their AM audience as personal friends and family rather than stand and chat with them as casual acquaintances and customers.

Unfortunately, Ali and Christine spoiled the delightful debut of AM‘s divan with a gratuitously thrice-aired video of ugly, ursine plight. After running a headline news story about a little brown bear near some Albuquerque, New Mexico, apartments (that had to be sedated and then lowered by ropes into a bag), Christine gleefully commented, “That gives us, of course, an excuse to resurrect this oldie but goodie.”

Chiming in (a la Shep de Sade), Ali exclaimed, “I, I never get tired of this one. This is Missoula, Montana, a similar situation.” As the Trampoline Bear vid ran showing the black bear falling from the tree onto the trampoline, being hurled high into the air, plunging into the hard earth, and then crumpling under its own weight, Christine chortled, “Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!, and Ali cooed, “Ooh! Oww!”

Trying to assuage her horrified viewers, Christine hastily added, “He was fine! He was fine!” Then, as AM producers aired anew the repulsive footage, Ali baldly asserted, “I’d only show this to you again because he was fine.” Offering his personal color commentary as the bear took its crushing course into an unforgiving ground, Aly continued, “He bumps on the trampoline once and then [pause] off the trampoline.” Then, incredibly, the AM producers ran the video a third time for good–or, rather evil–measure.

About thirty minutes later, Christine and Aly cheerfully exhibited their Cyclopean couch to their viewers as they returned from break.** As the camera closed in on them, a blushing Christine chuckled and Aly announced, “We have our new couch!” Christine commented, “I like it.” Concurring, Ali replied, “I like this, too.”

So does the author. In fact, he suggested the couch about two and half years ago when Klein was in control. Bouquets, Jautz, for the welcome change.

But, brickbats, Ali and Christine, for adopting Shep’s used toilet. Flush his filth and clean CNN’s studio. And, apologize to your AM fans.

*American Morning – 05/16/11 (@ 7:10 a.m. ET)

**American Morning – 05/16/11 (@ 7:42 a.m. ET)

Kiran Parties Hard in London

April 28, 2011

Chetry: “Last standing.” With her hubby and kids safely ensconced across the Pond in Larchmont (NY), American Morning co-host Kiran Chetry showed her  male colleagues in London that she’s no dull girl. After CNN’s hard-working royal wedding anchor told a Twitter follower Monday that she had not tried the pubs yet, Kiran remedied that in no short measure the very next day. According to “Page Six” of the New York Post, AM‘s Aphrodite joined her colleagues, CNN’s Piers Morgan, ABC’s Chris Cuomo, and ABC’s News Prez Ben Sherwood Tuesday night at Morgan’s London pub, Hansom Cab. Reportedly, the Nepalese beauty not only “threw back quite a few drinks” with the boys but also “was the last anchor standing” when the party ended at 11 p.m.

Whether Kiran was seen “last standing”–or, perhaps, dancing–atop a Hansom Cab table is not now known. However, if CNN chief Ken Jautz wants real ratings for AM, stills and footage will soon follow.

Calling all iReporters! Kiran?

Update: Morgan Tweets photo of Kiran in her Royal Wedding “sexy wellies.”

Kiran & Friends: But, For How Long?

April 19, 2011

“Reunited & it feels so good.” Today, American Morning co-anchor Kiran Chetry Tweeted her joy at being back with her recently regular co-hosts Ali Velshi and Christine Romans. She seemed to be praying and pleading for some new sense of AM normalcy. One could hardly blame Kiran: in just seven AM business days, she and her AM audience have witnessed a whopping five different anchor combos of which two notably did not include Kiran.*

It has been over four months since CNN honcho Ken Jautz announced that Kiran’s then AM co-anchor John Roberts was out and that he wanted to make sure that “we have the right ‘American Morning family.'” Jautz elaborated, “We will be looking at different people alongside Kiran on a rotating basis…[and]…T. J. Holmes will be the first to co-anchor with Kiran.”

Since then, T. J. has come and gone (and even had a shorter stint than he had anticipated). When T. J. left, Christine joined Kiran for a short all-gal audition. After only one week, Ali turned that duo into an asexual AM menage a trois.

Almost a month later, AM viewers still do not know who Jautz will actually adopt into the “American Morning family.” So far, Ali and Christine have been like foster children, hoping to get to stay with Kiran and the rest of their host family. Even though Ali may call Kiran, Christine, and himself “the gang,” it will be Jautz who ultimately decides.

For now, both Ali and Christine  are in the CNN family but their resumes do not yet include a permanent AM anchor seat. However, Kiran’s curriculum vitae does and only her face now represents AM’s Web presence.

As to his full future AM “family,” Jautz appears not quite ready to commit.

* The five distinct anchor arrangements were as follow: Kiran and Ali (April 8); Kiran, Christine, and Ali (April 11); Ali and Christine (April 12); Kiran and Christine (April 13); and Ali and CNN correspondent Alina Cho (April 18).

A.M.: Asexual Menage (a Trois)?

March 21, 2011

More March madness? Today, American Morning co-anchor Kiran Chetry expectantly picked up the plural-marriage baton that HBO’s Big Love had dropped late last night. Instead of having her usual single “work spouse,” Kiran had two (for this AM audition), hubby Ali Velshi and sister-wife Christine Romans (CNN biz anchors, respectively, Your $$$$$ and Your Bottom Line). But, unfortunately, for AM, without even a soupcon of sexual tension.

To make matters worse today, AM executive producer Jim McGinnis seemed intent on lessening it between Kiran and Christine and their admiring AM viewers. I.e., in front of the open AM desk generally displaying their gorgeous gams, McGinnis placed two huge television screens with the obnoxiously omnipresent “AM” logo emblazoned thereon.

Hopefully, McGinnis will soon well remember CNN chief Ken Jautz’s sage advice that “CNN shows…[should be]…more lively and passionate and engaging in the presentation.” Perhaps, then he can earn Jautz’s confidence when he said that AM was in “good hands” with McGinnis. Time and ratings will tell.

Spitzer’s “Arena”: E.D.’s Debut

March 1, 2011

Out with the CNN wife: in with the FNC fox. Former Parker Spitzer anchor Eliot Spitzer debuted his new show, In the Arena, last night on CNN. And, make no mistake, it is his show no matter what CNN exec VP Ken Jautz might say. Finally, free of his conservative complaining tv spouse, Kathleen Parker, the old peacock was free to roam at will on his range and show his tail feathers to a saucier, prettier peahen, E. D. Hill.

From the very start, Spitzer marked his territory as he began his show, briefly introducing Jautz “ensemble” members, E.D. Hill (former long-time FNC anchor) and Will Cain (conservative pundit/blogger) as “two friends of the show [that] will be joining me as regulars in the “Arena.” After giving his Arena friends face time for about ten seconds, Spitzer flied solo until the bottom of the hour as he focused on the Libyan crisis (with interviews of the Libyan deputy ambassador, a CNN Tripoli correspondent, and GPS anchor Fareed Zakaria). Then, after stopping for about five minutes to share his time with Cain for a segment with Tea Party Prez fave, Herman Cane, Spitzer started anew on an twenty-minute marathon on another Mideast crisis, the Iranian problem. Finally, in the last ten minutes, did Spitzer allow the first female of the night, his new beautiful blonde, to have her say–on the partisan Wisconsin budget battle. And, then she had to share her time with the boyish Cain to boot.

In the Arena last night: where Spitzer and the boys had their say. And, finally, a good girl got to play.

T. J. Gets Down

January 31, 2011

A prince: not a pauper. American Morning co-host T. J. Holmes humbly got down for his fans and, more importantly, America’s troops today without hesitation. And, no, he did not deign to ask his CNN staff to do the dirty work for him a la AM‘s Halloween 2010.

In a salutary story entitled “Going ‘Deep Dish: 7000 pizzas delivered to troops for Super Bowl,'” T. J. interviewed Pizzas 4 Patriots founder Mark Evans about his altruistic mission to supply pizzas to America’s forces around the world. When their confab concluded, Evans challenged T. J. to participate against him in an inaugural “Push-ups for Patriots” competition.* Not too proud to get down on his hands and knees, T.J. gamely dropped to the floor with little regard for any sartorial sensibilities. Instead, he gamely dispatched his older rival Evans well before the commercial break.

Apparently, T. J. applied CNN chief Ken Jautz’s prime-time programming exhortation to AM., i.e., to make it “more  compelling, more lively and sometimes fun.” Effortlessly. Well done, T. J.!

*American Morning – 01/31/11 (@ 7:57 a.m. 

Lady Gretchen’s Bull Ride

January 10, 2011

Peeping privileges? Before her mechanical bull ride Friday, Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson teased her male admirers with the prospect that they might get a chance to be her Peeping Toms. Previewing the segment celebrating the Professional Bull Riders season opener at Madison Square Garden, Lady Gretchen laughed that viewers were concerned about her wearing a skirt during the upcoming bull ride and she cheekily suggested that she just might chance it.

However, Gretchen was no Lady Godiva. When Gretchen finally climbed atop the mechanical bull on the sidewalk outside the F&F studio, she wore a bulky blue coat and long black pants.* Nevertheless, even though Gretchen decided not to show any skin, she did show some game as she bravely took the bull for a wild ride under pro bull riding champ Pistol Robinson‘s direction. As Brian provided color commentary, Gretchen beamed broadly as she animatedly aped rodeo bull riders’ one-handed hold on the raging “beast” beneath her. However, when the mechanical bull’s operator increased the speed of the bull, Gretchen ride was cut short as she lost control and tumbled to the padded ground.

Slightly injured, Gretchen gingerly got back up, laughing, “And, they said that wouldn’t happen to me, Brian.”* As she gently cradled her left hand with her right one, Brian asked, “Give us an idea of how bad this is for your life and career.” Chuckling, Gretchen jested, “It’s a lot of bull!”**

No bull: F&F‘s “heifer” deserves a lot of props for putting herself out there for her viewers. Unlike her still cloistered CNN rival Kiran Chetry, FNC Gretchen need not submit to an Upper West Side haughtiness dictating a separation from the “unwashed masses.” Rather, she can freely revel with the “benighted” hoi polloi. Bravo, Gretchen!

[Author’s aside: CNN chief Ken Jautz may well want to take note as he tries to revive his flat-lined cable news morning show, American Morning.]

*Fox & Friends – 01/07/11 (@ 6:52 a.m. ET)

**When Gretchen returned to the set, she revealed to her audience that she had cut her hand (in the unintentional dismount) and that it was “bleeding pretty good.”‘ [@ 7:00 a.m. ET]

Roberts: Going Rogue

January 3, 2011

From CNN’s “voice of God” to FNC’s “voice of Everyman”? Mediate.com reported today that CNN correspondent and recent American Morning co-anchor John Roberts is expected to jump ship to Fox News. Approximately, three weeks ago, CNN chief Ken Jautz stated that Roberts would be leaving AM and that CNN was “discussing an Atlanta-based reporting role for him.” However, exactly ten days ago, when Roberts bid AM adieu, he proclaimed that he was going to Atlanta (to be with his gravid fiancee, CNN Newsroom anchor Kyra Phillips) but he did not confirm that he would be working at CNN.

In fact, in retrospect, Roberts seems to have deftly avoided making that assertion to his American Morning audience in his final appearance on the program on Christmas Day. As AM ended (and before it segued to CNN Newsroom), AM guest co-host Carol Costello announced, “The American Morning show has to bid John Roberts adieu because we will miss you. You’re going on to bigger and better things in Atlanta.”* Without elaborating on her comment, Roberts ambiguously answered, “Well, I’m going on to a lot of things in Atlanta.” Immediately thereafter, steering the conversation strictly to family (vis-a-vis work), he continued, “Yes, my sweetheart is going to have twins in March. And, I don’t think I’d be long for this world if I didn’t go down to Atlanta to join her for that blessed occasion.”

Subsequently, when Roberts tossed to his fiancee, Kyra Phillips, the CNN Newsroom anchor kept the subject of Roberts’ departure to Atlanta restricted to its implications for their family. Smiling, Phillips commented, “Carol, you know I can’t do this all on my own”: Carressing her babies’ bump, she added, “Let me tell you, these little guys are kicking right there. They’re like ‘Where’s Dad? Where’s Dad? We want him here!'” Staying on message, John interjected, “Dad is coming down to Atlanta to be with Kyra and our new family which will be arriving very soon.”

Seemingly, not quite satisfied with John’s farewell to the AM audience, Costello appeared to try to reassure the viewers herself. To Roberts, she remarked, “You’ll still be working for CNN as well [and will] be covering really big stories for us and doing special reports and really fascinating stuff like that.” Without committing himself, John simply stated, “I’m looking forward to being down there. But, this, this, this lady [Phillips] right here is the one that is, is the main focus.”

At least, as to Roberts’ CNN colloquy with Costello.

Update 1: According to the Huffington Post, FNC “officially announced” that Roberts would depart CNN to become an FNC senior national correspondent, citing FNC veep Michael Clemente who stated that FNC was “excited to welcome John to FOX News.”

Update 2: TVNewser reported that Roberts made the move to FNC because of Roberts’ regard for Roger Ailes as a “brilliant broadcaster and consummately loyal boss” and the opportunity to “play for a winning team.” [Keenly, TVNewser noted that “loyalty is a particularly sensitive issue for Roberts referring to Roberts’ recent axing from American Morning by new CNN chief Ken Jautz and to his being “passed over” by CBS in 2006 for Dan Rather’s CBS Evening News anchor seat in favor of Katie Couric.]