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.

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.