CNN's Soledad O'Brien Says She's Not Concerned About Reports That Jeff Zucker May Move Erin Burnett to Soledad's Morning Time Slot NY Times Magazine
Soledad O'Brien says she's not concerned about reports that incoming CNN President Jeff Zucker may move Erin Burnett into Soledad's time slot.
Andrew Goldman: Jeff Zucker, who rose to the top of NBCUniversal after producing “Today,” was just named head of CNN Worldwide, and he reportedly plans to immediately focus on your morning show, which is behind in the ratings. How scared are you?
Soledad O'Brien: Not at all. He was my boss years ago when I worked at the “Today” show. I’m absolutely thrilled to have him back.
Goldman: But can you seriously be so calm, considering that the New York Post reported that Zucker’s considering moving Erin Burnett to your slot?
O'Brien: Listen, I have been doing this gig for a while. People go crazy with speculation every time there’s a shift in leadership. I can’t comment on every rumor, but so far I’ve read reports on me, Anderson, Piers, Ann Curry and Erin Burnett, and all that’s clear to me is that somebody’s busy dialing Page Six.
Goldman: Who? Can you be a little more specific?
Goldman: When you were weekend co-host of "Today," you said that the recognition you got for softer stories, like one about a trapeze school, felt "a little hollow." Would you be willing to go lighter now?
O'Brien: I’m fairly confident that I’m not going to be cooking salmon and doing fashion shows on CNN.
Goldman: But Zucker has said that CNN is not only competing with MSNBC and Fox News but also with History and the Discovery Channel, which produce shows like "Pawn Stars" and "American Chopper."
O'Brien: If you’ve ever seen "American Chopper," you know they have created something that is riveting. I don’t think he’s saying we’re going to do "American Chopper II." I think he’s saying we are going to assume that everybody is our competition. He knows how to win.