CNN hopes to return to offices August 1 for Atlanta and September 1 for New York

CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker announced he was planning on August and September for its news and sports teams to return to their offices. “These dates were not chosen arbitrarily,” Zucker said in a memo to staff. “We are trying to coincide with back-to-school schedules, assuming that would make the most sense for those with young families.”

In the memo, Zucker said that they were targeting August 1 for a return to Atlanta offices and studios, and September 1 for the New York, Washington, San Francisco and Los Angeles bureaus. As for the international bureaus, Zucker says the company is taking a “city-by-city approach” based on the health regulations and rules in those areas — Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi offices are already open; London will have staffers returning next month.

Zucker wrote that because of logistics, “it will likely take a couple of weeks to effectively get everyone back to their desks. But those are generally when you can expect to see the start of a return.” He said that the dates were chosen to coincide with back-to-school schedules.

He said that vaccinations will not be required for a return but they will be “strongly encouraged,” and safety protocols, like the wearing of masks, will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

CNN’s parent company CEO says pandemic is “really good for ratings”

WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar, the executive who oversees CNN, stepped in it today. In a keynote speech at a virtual tech conference Thursday, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar told attendees that the coronavirus pandemic is “really good for ratings.”

In a foolish statement, Kilar said, “It turns out the pandemic is a pretty big part of the news cycle and that’s not going away any time soon . . . It turns out it’s really good for ratings.”

After his remarks were reported, the WarnerMedia executive walked them back. “I absolutely should have said it differently. I am sorry. I was attempting to communicate that we as a team wake up each day seeking to deliver more value to fans (through lower prices and/or more great stories). Because that matters to everyone, as it should. I am very sorry.”

Report: Brooke Baldwin meeting with NBC Bay Area exec

On air Tuesday, CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin announced she was leaving CNN in April after a thirteen year career as a news correspondent and afternoon anchor. At the conclusion of her message, Baldwin acknowledged, “Yep, we still in a pandemic, and nope, I don’t have a job I’m jumping right into, and yes – yes, I’m feeling very vulnerable.”

However, Bay Area blogger Rich Lieberman reports a nugget, that next week, Baldwin has a meeting scheduled with a NBC Bay Area executive vice president and news director at the San Jose Hotel.

Over the past year, Baldwin’s star at CNN has been eclipsed by fellow anchor Brianna Keilar. CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker slashed an hour of Baldwin’s newscast to give it to Jake Tapper to extend The Lead for election coverage, all the while slashing the other hour to give it to Keilar to extend her to two years.

Now, Baldwin may be considering a post-CNN move to the Bay Area? Stay tuned.

Victor Blackwell and Ana Cabrera to launch new weekday programs

According to media reporter Dylan Byers in a tweet, CNN afternoons will soon be made up of a new show anchored by Ana Cabrera, and a new show anchored by a duo of Victor Blackwell and Alisyn Camerota, who will replace Brooke Baldwin, who announced was leaving CNN.

Camerota is reportedly leaving New Day and will join Blackwell, who anchors the weekend version of New Day, in the afternoons. Afternoon anchor Brianna Keilar is set to move to New Day. At the time, it was reported Camerota herself wanted the move, saying she has “for some time sought a new position, citing the demands of early-morning TV.”

No word on who will replace Blackwell on New Day Weekend or Cabrera on CNN Newsroom Weekend.

Brooke Baldwin announces she is leaving CNN in April

At the top of her show CNN Newsroom, CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin announced she was leaving CNN, the network she has worked at for nearly 13 years. “I will be leaving CNN in April. Let me back up. After most of my 20s working my way up in local news, I came to this network in 2008 – in the midst of the Great Recession as a freelancer. I remember I scribbled my name on a Post-It note and stuck it outside of this temporary office, determined to fulfilling my dream of becoming a full-time CNN correspondent.”

She added, “Little did I know, I would not only go one to fulfill that dream, I would flourish in this environment and land my own two-hour show in the afternoon at the age of 31.” During fall 2020, Brianna Keilar took an hour from Baldwin, reducing her to an hour of airtime.

“For a decade I’ve never taken for granted the enormous responsibility and privilege I’ve had to work with some of the most talented producers and photojournalists and correspondents and anchors out there as we have covered our era’s most urgent and important stories, conflicts, terrorism, environmental and natural disasters, the wrath of gun violence, royal weddings, my American Woman series, the social justice movements that define our culture and a pandemic that changed the world and politics – lots of politics.

“You have been with me every step of the way – never more so than when I was incredibly sick with Covid last year. I am so grateful for your loyalty and passion for the world we cover. I am so grateful to my show team – you know who you are. You know who you are. To Jeff Zucker, to my very large CNN family and to you. To you.”

Baldwin ended, “And, yep, we still in a pandemic, and nope, I don’t have a job I’m jumping right into, and yes – yes, I’m feeling very vulnerable. But what is it Brene Brown says? ‘Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change,’ and I am so excited about what is to come. So, here it goes: I really do hope you’ll join me, and in the meantime, I’ll be right here with you, right her until mid-April. Now, to the news.”

It has been reported that Keilar will actually move to the morning show, New Day, and Alisyn Camerota will move to afternoons.

Stanley Tucci joins CNN to go searching for Italy

A little over two years after CNN host and chef Anthony Bourdain’s death, CNN is returning to the food genre — this time, with actor Stanley Tucci.

Viewers will go along with him as he enjoys the luxurious creamy carbonara of Rome, the delicious simplicity of Sicily’s pasta alla Norma, the saffron-infused silkiness of risotto in Milan, the crispy tenderness of bistecca alla fiorentina, the perfect classic ragu alla bolognese and the world’s best pizza in Naples, the network touts. Tucci comes prepared with a bottomless appetite for it all, showing us how the diversity of Italian cooking offers a gateway through which you can glimpse Italy’s history and culture.

“During a time when everyone wishes they could travel, the series will transport you through Italy’s cultural past and present through its extraordinary cuisine,” said Tucci. “The food tells the story of this country’s unique history and I’m thrilled to serve as a guide through this journey.”

In each episode, Tucci visits a different region or city of Italy, including Tuscany, Sicily, Milan, Rome, Bologna, and Naples/The Amalfi Coast.

“Stanley’s engaging personality, wit and charm make him the perfect fit to take CNN’s viewers on an intimate voyage to his beloved Italy,” said Amy Entelis, executive vice president of talent for CNN Worldwide. “We know our audience will feel inspired as they experience, through Stanley’s eyes, the food, culture and people of a country that has given the world so much joy from its cuisine.”

Searching for Italy debuted last night at 9pm, and will air 5 more episodes on Sundays at 9.

Gov. Cuomo refuses to come on State of the Union with Jake Tapper

CNN anchor Jake Tapper said on Sunday’s State of the Union program that he has requested an interview with embattled New York Governor Andrew Cuomo dozens of times over the past year, in addition to this week — all of which the Governor has refused.

Janice Dean, a Fox News meteorologist whose in-laws died as a result of Gov. Cuomo’s executive order, praised Tapper. “While it’s easy to get angry at other networks for not taking [Cuomo] to task early on during the nursing home tragedy, there are some that DID report on his deadly executive order and his incredible arrogance. [Tapper] is one of them.”

Dean added, “While I cannot say the same for many of his other colleagues, [Tapper] has reported fairly and without fear or fluff when it comes to covering [Cuomo].”

The Cuomo administration withheld the information from state lawmakers over the summer because it was worried federal prosecutors would “use it against us,” according to a top aide for Gov. Cuomo, the New York Post reported this week.

As I repeatedly documented at the time, Gov. Cuomo preferred the safe space on CNN — his brother Chris Cuomo’s nightly program, Cuomo Prime Time.


Sam Vinograd leaves CNN, joins Homeland Security

vinogradCNN national security contributor Sam Vinograd announced yesterday she has left CNN and is joining the Department of Homeland Security as a senior counselor. Vinograd has been with CNN since October 2017 and hosted a weekend segment on CNN Newsroom called the Presidential Weekly Briefing.

Prior to joining the network, Vinograd was with the White House’s National Security Council from 2011-2013 during the Obama administration. In addition to commentating on CNN since 2017, she has also served as a senior adviser to the Biden Institute.

“Several of Biden’s new appointments are people who served in government, then went to media gigs, and now are returning to government,” medic critic Jeffrey McCall told Fox News. “This sort of constant migration back and forth between media and government gives the public the distinct impression that government and media are basically part of the same establishment.”