Posts Tagged ‘Miles O’Brien’

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.

CNN A.M. Future: Miles O’Brien? [Updated Anew]

June 1, 2012

Zoraida: Miles…in these parts, you are a rock star! Yesterday, Early Start co-host Zoraida Sambolin greeted former American Morning anchor Miles O’Brien to the CNN a.m. like a returning hero. During a space segment with the whilom point man for NASA coverage, Zoraida reintroduced the once canned anchor of the low-rated American Morning to CNN’s early morning shrinking audience. Before his report (on the return to earth of the NASA-sponsored Space X Dragon), Zoraida gushed, “Miles, I got to tell you, in these parts, you are a rock star! Everybody absolutely loves you! Very excited to talk to you this morning.”*

The moment seemed surreal: Miles O’Brien, a “rock star”? Almost five years ago, he and his American Morning co-host Soledad O’Brien unceremoniously got the Klein boot because of low-ratings (in favor of John Roberts and Kiran Chetry). When John and Kiran could not right the AM ship nor their interim successors Christine Romans, Carol Costello, and Ali Velshi, CNN replaced AM with their even more ratings-challenged shows Early Start (with anchors Ashleigh Banfield and Zoraida) and Starting Point (solo host Soledad): With ES and SP listing even lower than AM ever had, perhaps, Miles O’Brien “in these parts, is a rock star” and everybody does love him again.

So much so, that CNN brings Miles back to its early mornings?

*Early Start – 05/31/12 (@ 6:04 a.m. ET)

Update 1: Turner Broadcasting CEO Phil Kent may have much more drastic measures planned for CNN’s a.m. than possibly adding Miles to the cast. After defending his prime-time line-up on the very day of Miles ES appearance, Kent admitted that “we have some other shows that probably need to be replaced.” If recent ratings are any indication, Early Start and Starting Point may well be among those very CNN shows.]

Update 2: According to the New York Daily News, veteran ABC reporter John Berman has now enlisted with CNN and will become an Early Start anchor. If Berman were to join the gals Ashleigh and Zoraida, he would add some much needed male perspective: But, if he teamed up with Miles instead (and the ladies exited), ES would become an all-boy’s club, perhaps, no more attractive than the current all-gal gala. Perhaps, on the bright side, Berman may simply serve as the last captain of CNN’s wee-hour Titanic and Kent will finally get a seaworthy ship.]

Three Divas on a Divan

September 26, 2011

“Tense” American Morning? AM co-anchor Christine Romans and guest co-host Alina Cho welcomed CNN correspondent Soledad O’Brien to their angular divan Friday.* Catfight? No, but they did have a lovefest over a 2012 Olympic boxing hopeful segment entitled, “Latino in America: “In Her Corner.”

As AM fans watched the trio discuss five-time national champ Mexican American Marlen Esparza‘s quest to win a gold, they saw AM‘s past, present, and, possible future in front of their very eyes. First, as to the past, Soledad had co-hosted the show with Miles O’Brien until the duo was dumped in favor of Kiran Chetry and John Roberts. Second, now that John and Kiran themselves have departed, Christine temporarily co-anchors (alongside Ali Velshi and Carol Costello) and Alina occasionally fills in. Finally, as to the future, Soledad has been referred to as the imminent host of the second show in a new CNN “AM,” i.e., one that incorporates AM: Wake Up Call and the first hour of AM and another that consists of the last two hours of the current AM.

With the current iteration of American Morning seemingly toast and the new “AM” about to begin, CNN viewers can hope for a more flavorful fare in the morning. Since fan fave Kiran Chetry inexplicably left the show in late July, AM has stopped serving its rather spicy stew of salient stories in favor of a more insipid hash of prosaic presentations. Hopefully, a new chef, i.e., Soledad, can confect a tastier breakfast for future “AM” viewers.

AM viewers can only hope.

*American Morning – 09/23/11 (@ 8:51 a.m. ET)

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.

A.M.: AmeriCANNED Morning?

March 12, 2010

The steady drumbeat of doom continues to eerily echo in the early American Morning air. Today Mediate.com‘s Steve Krakauer authored an article entitled, “Is It Time for Changes at CNN’s American Morning?” (Over a week ago, Carpe Diem had similarly asked, “AM: Shake-up Looming?“) Krakauer cited Dylan Stableford’s TheWrap.com’s Wednesday piece dubbed, “Exclusive: CNN Developing Morning Show” as to CNN creating a “Fox & Friends” pilot to suggest that changes are imminent for CNN’s morning show. In making his case, Krakauer explains the import of AM‘s dismal ratings when he notes that  not only does sister network HLN’s Morning Express with Meade A25-54 demo ratings surpass those of AM, but also FNC’s Fox and Friends A25-54 demographic exceeds AM’s total viewers.

After Krakauer had presented a quite cogent argument as to the probable change, he mentioned that AM co-host Kiran Chetry was “another element.” He keenly queried, “Would a change at CNN in the morning coincide with her contract being up?” Remarking that CNN would not comment, he asserted that others yesterday had and linked to “Another Sinking Show at CNN” by author Glenn Garvin of the Miami Herald’s blog.

The demise of CNN’s American Morning, or, at least, the current format is long overdue. When CNN/US prez took the reins from Soledad O’Brien and Miles O’Brien and gave them to Kiran Chetry and John Roberts, he simply put new “new wine into old wineskins.” And, Fox & Friends‘ superior formula of news with a fun, flirty, and friendly approach continued to win the day convincingly over AM‘s stale recipe of the latest with a staid, distant, and supercilious style.

If Klein indeed revamps his early morning show, perhaps, there is yet hope yet for his anemic evening lineup.

AM Shake-up Looming?

March 4, 2010

Almost three years after CNN/US prez Jon Klein brought in John Roberts and Kiran Chetry to replace American Morning co-anchors Miles O’Brien and Soledad O’Brien because of flagging ratings, it appears that he may be considering a similar shake-up. When Klein announced the change on April 4, 2007, AM total viewers averaged 372,000 (in 2007 first quarter) according to Broadcastingcable.com. Today, AM total viewers remain unchanged at 372,000 (in 2010 first quarter through March 1, 2010) according to TVbytheNumbers.com’s figures and the author’s computations.

In the last few weeks, Roberts and Chetry have been seen less and less together behind the AM desk. When either has been absent, it seems that the present one has been paired with a new guest co-anchor. In fact, Klein and/or AM EP Jamie Kraft have paraded before their audience a long list of fill-ins, e.g.,  regulars like T.J. Holmes and Christine Romans, a less frequent guest co-host (if ever before) Jim Acosta, and first-timers Sara Sidner and Kate Bolduan* as if it were an AM casting call.

If indeed Klein is considering such a change, it might actually inure to the benefit of both Roberts and Chetry. In re Roberts, perhaps, he will finally get his dream job that he lost to Katie Couric, i.e., the CBS Evening News anchor seat. (Was it he, rather than Anderson Cooper, who was reported talking with CBS executives about an anchor role as CBS News is cutting costs and Couric’s reportedly $15-million-per-year contract is set to expire in barely more than a year?) As to Chetry, maybe, FNC Senior Veep of Programming Bill Shine will let bygones be bygones if his former Fox & Friends (First and Weekend) co-host will embrace FNC anew (as her platinum standard vis-a-vis CNN as  her “gold standard”): Shine surely needs Chetry to add to the depth of his bevy of brainy beauties, especially if its rising star Megyn Kelly replaces Greta van Susteren on On the Record.

Perchance, Klein could jump start AM’s ratings with a new cast. And, simultaneously, Roberts and Chetry’s respective careers to boot. A possible win-win-win.

*American Morning – 03/04/10 – @5:59 a.m. ET [To guest co-host Bolduan, Roberts remarked, "Good to have you with us this morning. Your first day on dawn patrol."]


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