Al Jazeera has hired its first anchor for its new U.S. cable channel, and it’s a familiar face from CNN. The New York Times’ Media Decoder reports that CNN’s Ali Velshi is moving to Al Jazeera.
As we reported Thursday, Velshi’s last day at CNN will be today, April 5, and the announcement of his departure was made during a staff meeting Wednesday at CNN.
Velshi, who has been the chief business correspondent and an anchor at CNN, will become the host of a half-hour prime-time business program on the new network. It’s not clear when it will replace Current TV, which Al Jazeera bought earlier this year.
Velshi said his reason for taking on the new job was that he “was really struck by their commitment to building a strong news organization." He added that he’s not worried about aligning himself with the Al Jazeera brand name.
“I think the product will trump any preconceived notions that people may have going into it,” he told The Times. “They’re very determined for this brand to make an impact and for this brand to be a meaningful provider of news.”