Former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien returns to TV

Former CNN Starting Point anchor Soledad O’Brien is returning to TV anchoring this fall with a weekly Sunday show airing on Hearst TV, reports the Washington Post.

This is the newest venture for O’Brien since the closure of Al Jazeera America, where O’Brien served as a special correspondent after departing CNN. Her production company, Starfish Media, will also be producing specials for Hearst, according to the report.

She insists that the new half-hour show, Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien, to be produced at the Newseum, won’t be just the typical formula of dueling talking heads spouting talking points. She wants to go beyond the typical political analysts who are “on bookers’ speed dial,” and instead seek the guests whose perspective aren’t typically sought after.

The show, which premieres September 10, is being distributed across Heart’s local stations.

Former CNN morning anchor is going to have to get up early again

Former American Morning and later, Starting Point anchor Soledad O’Brien is going to have to set her alarm awfully early again beginning next Tuesday through Friday, reports CNN’s Brian Stelter.

She will be filling in on CBS News’ CBS This Morning, in for host Gayle King.

Chris Licht, the show’s executive producer, explained the decision to get an outsider. “We are lucky to have the best anchor team in the morning — but they can’t work 52 weeks a year. So, from time to time we will try something interesting and a little unpredictable to keep up the momentum even when one of our main anchors is off.”

Following the cancelation of her CNN show, O’Brien continued to do a few specials for CNN, mainly her Black in America specials.

Abby Huntsman to CNN?

Abby Huntsman, the daughter of former GOP 2012 presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman, left MSNBC on Friday following the cancelation of the daily talk show that she co-hosted, The Cycle.

She tweeted that viewers would see her again.

As a side remark on an unrelated matter, Mediaite columnist Joe Concha indicated he believes Huntsman will land a gig at CNN.

Prior to her MSNBC co-hosting gig, Huntsman was a semi-regular panelist on Soledad O’Brien’s canceled CNN morning program, Starting Point.

The parody Twitter account for Jeff Zucker tweeted that he felt CNN should try to lock Huntsman under contract as well:

Former CNN contributor Will Cain mocks CNN’s MH370 coverage, takes a shot at Don Lemon

To say that there is some animosity between former CNN contributor Will Cain and Don Lemon might be an understatement.

Last night, Cain fired off a few tweets about CNN’s revived coverage of MH370 (oh, and the new toy CNN is playing with: Donald Trump) —

And then this morning, having evidently missed CNN Tonight, he asked his followers:

Cain was a longtime panelist on CNN’s axed morning show Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien.

Black in America does well

Soledad O’Brien Reports: Black in America, Black and Blue, did well last night in the key demo.

Soledad, the former anchor of CNN’s Starting Point turned roving documentarian and Al Jazeera special correspondent, managed to get third place against other CNN programs in the demo, comparing 4pm-12am hours.

(RELATED: Q&A with Soledad O’Brien)

Erin Burnett OutFront came in first for CNN with 247,000 demo viewers; the second hour of The Situation Room had 233,000 viewers; and Soledad brought in 195,000 demo viewers.

At 9pm, against The Kelly File, The Rachel Maddow Show, and Dr. Drew on Call, CNN’s documentary came in second, outpacing MSNBC and HLN.

In total viewers, Black in America had 574,000 viewers. And while it was only CNN’s fifth highest program of the day, the documentary still managed to beat Anderson Cooper 360 (both at 8pm and the repeat at 11pm) and CNN Tonight, as well as the Black in America midnight repeat.

(RELATED: Coop had a record low Monday)

(Note: Jim Sciutto anchored AC360 yesterday while Anderson taped CNN Heroes)

Black and Blue: Soledad O’Brien Reports

Tuesday at 9pm, CNN will air the next installment of Black in America, which will be titled Black in America: Black and Blue.

As the NY Daily News puts it

Soledad O’Brien uses the tragic death of Eric Garner, who was choked to death by New York police, as the launching point for a special Tuesday at 8 p.m. on CNN.

Called “Black & Blue,” it focuses on whether New York police too often use excessive force when questioning or detaining in black communities.

Watch a clip of it below:

NABJ concerned about CNN

The Daily Caller writes about the National Association of Black Journalists concern for African-Americans at CNN.

The National Association of Black Journalists issued a statement this week condemning the treatment of black employees at CNN.

They cite Suzanne Malveaux, T.J. Holmes and Soledad O’Brien, who have all left or been forced to leave their anchor posts in the past few years. They say there are only two black executive producers at the network.

This week is not a good one for CNN where discrimination is concerned. On Monday, Stanley Wilson, a 51-year-old writer/producer filed a $5 million lawsuit in Los Angeles County against the network for race and age discrimination after he was fired in January. He worked at CNN for 17 years. He was promoted one time despite applying for numerous positions.

To be fair, Suzanne Malveaux lost her anchoring gig because she wanted to relocate to DC to care for her mom (who has ALS).

In April of last year, Joel Dreyfuss, a founding NABJ member, wrote an opinion piece for the organization’s website putting CNN on notice. He wrote the piece from Paris, where he only had access to CNN International:

“Jeff Zucker’s tenure at CNN will be a test case for diversity – in a negative way,” he wrote. “Clearly it’s not a priority for him, at least when it comes to blacks and Hispanics. Can he build a base with an overwhelmingly-white team (and a couple of South Asians), as the faces of CNN? Clearly, he must think so. If he is able to lift ratings without reflecting the America that just re-elected Obama, it will reinforce those who want to believe that diversity is not essential for success.”

This week’s statement cites the fact that NABJ gave CNN it’s “best practices” award in 2007.

So what has happened in the last seven years?

“Since that time, we have seen a number of African Americans leave CNN,” said NABJ President Bob Butler. “I know CNN is going through layoffs, but the departure of so many African Americans is worrisome.

So… Interesting.

(H/t Johnny Dollar)

Soledad O’Brien talks CNN

Soledad O’Brien participated in a Q&A with The Daily Beast (via j$p). It covered a few topics, including her documentary that just aired Tuesday on CNN, The War Comes Home; also her canned morning show on CNN, Starting Point; and her reports for Al Jazeera America’s flagship show, America Tonight, hosted by Joie Chen.

Here are the bits pertaining to CNN…

Why did you decide to leave CNN?

Because they decided to go in a different direction with their morning show. They made it really clear that they wanted other people to anchor it. They wanted me to stay, but I’d already been thinking it was kind of time for me to go. I’d been thinking about starting a production company for a couple of years.

You can’t blame her for leaving. They may have wanted her to stay, but if she wanted to keep her dignity and not look like a totally demoted employee, leaving was probably the best thing to do. (Though I wish Starting Point was CNN’s morning show still, instead of the failed New Day).

So it didn’t have to do with the regime change with Jeff Zucker?

No. Jeff had been my boss at NBC, and we got along fine, so there was no sense of, “Oh, Jeff’s coming in.” And I still work with him at CNN. I just felt that if I wasn’t anchoring a show, I wouldn’t have the ability to do the things I want to do. Being an anchor is kind of like being a CEO—it’s your questions, your answers, and you have a big say in the tone and vibe of the show. Also, I have four kids and didn’t want to do things in the middle of the night. The mornings were great with the kids. You’d miss the mornings, but be home for them in the afternoons.

I don’t know if I believe that, but moving on…

I’m a longtime CNN watcher, but their coverage recently has gotten a bit insane—the around-the-clock coverage of the missing Malaysia plane, the fumbling of the Boston bombing coverage, that every single item is categorized as “Breaking News.” Is this the Zucker-ization of CNN?

The Boston bombing was the first live breaking news story I didn’t cover, so it was very hard to watch because I wasn’t there. It was very hard to see all my friends be dispatched to cover this breaking news story. But, I realized this wasn’t my gig anymore, so I didn’t see any of that coverage. And with the plane, I mean it was great ratings, so what are you going to do? I’ve been there. You need great ratings.

It’s interesting (though not terribly surprising) that she semi-defended CNN’s coverage. Then again, what was she to do? Lambast them? She’s still producing documentaries for them, after all.