Soledad O’Brien’s New Production Company Is Already Getting Pitches, CNN Getting Criticized About Diversity

February 26, 2013  |  

Paul Bruinooge/ USA (Sipa via AP Images)

Her new production company, Starfish Media Group, was only announced a few days ago, but already, CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien says she’s gotten four documentary pitches. Starfish doesn’t actually launch until June. And O’Brien is seated in the anchor chair at CNN until May or June.

O’Brien told The Huffington Post that the situation was a “win-win” for everyone.

“We did not get a lot of promotion. We did not get a lot of marketing. We weren’t fully staffed,” she said of her show Starting Point. Still, she maintains that the show did “a really good job.” At the moment, she has no plans to continue as an anchor once the gig at CNN is over. Starfish will be producing three documentaries in 2014 including one more installment of the “Black in America” series.

According to TVNewser, O’Brien doesn’t have a bad word to say about Jeff Zucker, CNN’s new president and the man responsible for putting Chris Cuomo and Erin Burnett in the network’s morning lineup. Moreover, she agrees that the network “positively needed to be changed.”

O’Brien may not have anything bad to say about the network, but The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) and the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) both have a lot to say to Zucker about the low level of diversity at the network. Gregory H. Lee Jr., the president of the NABJ, is said to be speaking with the CNN board.

Zucker spoke to the National Association of Black Journalists yesterday, just days after O’Brien made her departure known. The NAHJ, also citing O’Brien’s departure, noted that Zoraida Sambolin, host of Early Start from 5am to 7am, is the only Latina in the daytime and evening schedule.

“NAHJ urges CNN to take judicious positive steps in diversifying its lineup and filling this void with the hiring of Latino talent for its English-language network. Diversity must be of the utmost importance as CNN looks to successfully grow its network’s brand,” the organization said.

MSNBC was recently rewarded with elevated ratings from black audiences, owing in part to the diversity in its anchor lineup. Diversity in the news isn’t an option, but a necessity.


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