Soledad and surrogates leak to the New York Post the “big star” is plotting to escape CNN’s holding tank after a promised prime-time gig “failed to materialize.
NYP Exclusive!: High-profile morning anchor Soledad O’Brien is on her way out at CNN as new boss Jeff Zucker moves Erin Burnett into her morning slot, Page Six has exclusively learned.
We’re told award-winning journalist O’Brien has indicated she is ready to leave after she was initially promised a plum prime-time slot, but that role has so far failed to materialize.
A source tells us: “The deal to move Erin to the morning alongside Chris Cuomo is basically done. Soledad had been told she’d get a prime-time slot, but that hasn’t yet happened, and now she is telling friends she is likely to leave.”
The source added, “Soledad is talented at producing in-depth, serious pieces of journalism, and is a tough interviewer. That doesn’t seem to fit the direction the network is going.”
Another source added, “Soledad is a big star, and would only stay for the right show. There’s word there will be a flurry of announcements at CNN very soon, including Erin’s move to the morning.”
O’Brien jumped from NBC to CNN in 2003, anchoring “American Morning,” and then moved on to anchoring specials. She’s anchored the current morning show, “Starting Point,” since January of last year.
She said in a recent interview that she was sure she would not be hosting a lighter morning show once Zucker, her former boss at NBC, took the reins. “I’m fairly confident that I’m not going to be cooking salmon and doing fashion shows on CNN,” she told the Times.
She added, “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 [Cooper], Piers [Morgan], Ann Curry and Erin Burnett, and all that’s clear to me is that somebody’s busy dialing Page Six.”
Soledad, who fronted documentaries “Black in America” and “Latino in America,” was a favorite of former CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton, who stepped down at the end of last year. A CNN rep said, “We don’t comment on speculation.