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.