Is Soledad O’Brien Ready to Leave CNN?

February 20, 2013  |  

Soledad O’Brien on the catwalk for the Red Dress Collection 2013 Fashion Show. Photo by John Minchillo/Invision/AP

We’d already heard that Jeff Zucker, CNN’s new president, was ready to make some major changes to turn things around at the network, including a shakeup of the morning anchor lineup. Now comes word that one of its stars might be ready to say “Deuces” to CNN entirely.

The rumored plan was that Soledad O’Brien was being shipped out of the anchor seat at Starting Point in favor of evening anchor Erin Burnett. Where O’Brien would land was still up in the air. Now the New York Post‘s Page Six is saying O’Brien might be leaving the network entirely.

“We’re told award-winning journalist O’Brien has indicated she is ready to leave after she was initially promised a plum prime-time slot, but that role has so far failed to materialize,” the paper reports.

“Soledad is talented at producing in-depth, serious pieces of journalism, and is a tough interviewer. That doesn’t seem to fit the direction the network is going,” another source tells the paper. So she’s actually too good of a journalist for what the network would like to do?

O’Brien went to CNN from NBC, so she’s actually worked with Zucker in the past. But now, as The Atlantic Wire reports, “She was at once the face of CNN’s shaky programming lineup when her show split from American Morning into Starting Point, and Zucker’s Today show history makes him an undisputed king of soft-news, double-anchor morning-show success.”

Zucker actually told the site that the show was enjoying some much-improved ratings, up 36 percent total year-over-year.

We attended a panel discussion last night moderated by O’Brien (“Blacks in Advertising & America: Old Challenges and New Opportunities”) and, naturally, O’Brien didn’t betray any concerns about CNN during the evening. What was evident was that O’Brien is a well-respected journalist — both in media and among viewers — and if she does decide to leave CNN, she’ll land on her feet elsewhere. We’ll go so far to predict that if she leaves CNN, she’ll end up at MSNBC.

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