O'Brien, 46, will take on a new role at the cable news network and will continue to supply documentaries like her well-known franchise Black in America for CNN. She said on Thursday that she is forming a production company to produce these projects for CNN, as well as other television networks, and is also preparing two new installments of Black in America for CNN.
According to CNN, O'Brien will host at least one documentary for the network this year and three next year. However, the new gig will also allow her to pursue journalism and hosting opportunities at other venues.
O'Brien also told the newspaper that conversations "in general about my role at CNN" had begun soon after former NBC boss Jeff Zucker took over as president of the network. "What we ended up with was, they wanted to partner with me, and I wanted to partner with them," she said. "One of the great things about Jeff coming into CNN is that he has a very clear vision of what he wants." Zucker and O'Brien previously worked together when O'Brien was an anchor for Weekend Today on NBC from 1999 to 2003, at which she left to join CNN.
Zucker released a statement on O'Brien's transition: "We greatly value Soledad's experience, and her first-rate storytelling will continue to be an asset to CNN. Documentaries and long-form story telling are important to our brand and we're anticipating more of what we've come to expect from her — riveting content."
O'Brien's departure comes after months of personnel changes at CNN following Zucker's start. In the past several weeks, longtime CNN contributors James Carville and Mary Matalin left, and ABC's Jake Tapper, John Berman and Chris Cuomo were brought on board. Cuomo, who was the news anchor on Good Morning America from 2006 to 2009, was announced as a new co-host for Starting Point, and it has been rumored that Erin Burnett will join him.
Will you miss seeing O'Brien in the mornings? Who do you think should host Starting Point?