New CNN programming chief Jeff Zucker will reportedly replace Soledad O'Brien, the host of the network's morning show "Starting Point," with Erin Burnett, who currently hosts "Outfront," which airs at 7 p.m. on the struggling cable news network.
The New York Post reported that Zucker is “looking at Erin Burnett to revive the cabler’s moribund morning ratings” and quotes a CNN source who said Zucker will team Burnett “up with a guy, and they’ll go after the audience watching ‘Today’ and ‘Good Morning America.’"
O'Brien recently told a college audience that when she first heard of Zucker's hire, she thought, "Yes!" because Zucker "knows news. He knows winning. He knows morning TV.”
“To me, Jeff Zucker is synonymous with winning,” O’Brien said last week at Drexel University, according to Media Bistro. “He’s an incredible news executive. I want to be on a team that strategizes how to win. It’s great to have a leader … I’m thrilled.”
Apparently, Zucker believes CNN's best chance to win the ratings race in the morning is without O'Brien.
According to Nielsen, last Thursday’s Starting Point “got 301,000 viewers on average compared to 537,000 for MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’” while “Fox and Friends” beat both programs combined with 1.1 million viewers. "Starting Point" even loses out to HLN in the ratings.
O'Brien was made anchor of "Starting Point" in January of 2012 and, as the Daily Mail notes, replacing O'Brien with Burnett would be "a slap in the face" to O’Brien," especially when one considers Burnett has failed to "gain much traction in prime time with her" show.
On a network that brands itself as being supposedly objective, O'Brien has been anything but -- she has panted over Newark Mayor Cory Booker's food stamp stunt and has been caught reading talking points from liberal blogs to attack Republican guests on the show during live interviews. O'Brien also displayed her lack of knowledge about "Critical Race Theory" when she interviewed Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Joel Pollak about a tape Breitbart News unearthed that showed Barack Obama embracing Derrick Bell, the godfather of the radical legal doctrine. O'Brien was caught parroting a Wikipedia entry on the subject and continued to misrepresent "Critical Race Theory" to her viewers even after she displayed her ignorance about the topic while interviewing Pollak.
O'Brien's partisan nature and acrimony often gives viewers of "Starting Point" a rude awakening.