Stephanie Elam is returning to her old home at CNN, the network said today. The former NYC-based business reporter for the cable news network will now serve as a correspondent based out of LA. Elam joined KNBC in October 2011 after nearly eight years at CNN. She was the station’s weekend evening anchor and general assignment reporter until November 2012. “Stephanie is an excellent communicator and tenacious reporter, and we are pleased to have her back as a part of the CNN family,” said Terence Burke, VP Newsgathering for CNN US, in a statement. Since Jeff Zucker took over this year, the network has been trying to enhance its West Coast presence by increasing the emphasis on the business aspect of the entertainment industry. Elam is the second LA hire by CNN in as many months, after KTLA-Los Angeles morning show anchor Michaela Pereira was announced as the news anchor for the network’s upcoming new morning show New Day, set to debut in June.
The morning newscast, which launches June 17, is a top priority for the CNN chief. And while it won’t break the mold, Jeff Zucker says in a briefing today that the effort will stand out over time by blending hard news with a relatively young anchor team featuring Chris Cuomo and Kate Bolduan, and news anchor Michaela Pereira. When he ran NBC’s Today Show “we did play with a lot of gimmicks. Cooking segments and outdoor concerts. Those are not going to be part of this kind of program…People are coming to CNN for the news.” Zucker says New Day won’t try to mimic MSNBC’s Morning Joe: “Its success has been with an elite audience but not with a broad audience. We’re not after a niche audience.” He praised the news focus of CBS This Morning but says New Day will have “a slightly different tone that you’ll get from a new generation.” He hopes to get a jump on his rivals by starting New Day at 6 AM. “The one time of day when people don’t necessarily know what’s happening is when they wake up,” he says.
CNN isn’t the only place Jeff Zucker is looking to make changes, it seems. Sister network HLN could be getting at least one new show from the new regime, I’ve learned. Coming off a ratings and viewership surge from the Jodi Arias trial, the network is looking to hold on to some of those numbers with a possible replacement for its 5-7 PM show Evening Express. Last week, HLN shot a newsmagazine pilot in Atlanta going by the working title of EXP 2.0. Weekend Express’ Natasha Curry, Atlanta traffic reporter Elle Duncan, and Carlos Diaz, the sports anchor on the network’s Morning Express With Robin Meade, hosted. Frequent CNN and HLN contributor Jawn Murray as well as Atlanta talk-show host Kim Gravel also were tapped for on-air roles on the pilot. Other elements were shot earlier in the month, sources say. Angela Massie, current executive producer of Evening Express, produced the new show.
Kate Bolduan Named CNN Morning Show Co-Host With Chris Cuomo; KTLA’s Michaela Pereira Set As News Anchor
CNN finally has its morning team, with congressional correspondent Kate Bolduan joining Chris Cuomo in the early hours. KTLA Los Angeles morning show anchor Michaela Pereira will serve as news anchor for the yet-unnamed New York-based show. “I’ve been looking forward to this announcement since I first joined CNN”, said CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker in a statement this morning. “Chris, Kate and Michaela are a dynamic team that will give our viewers in America a new way to start their day. We were floored with excitement when we saw Chris and Kate together on screen, and by adding Michaela to the mix we feel we have something very special. We believe there is an opening to do news in the morning with a fresh, new voice”. No official launch date was given, though the show is set to premiere sometime in the spring.
EXCLUSIVE: CNN Films has picked up U.S. TV rights to Escape Fire: The Fight To Rescue American Healthcare. The two-hour film will air on CNN on March 10 at 8 PM and 11 PM, with encore broadcasts March 16. The 2012 Sundance Film Festival alumni about the flaws, failings and patchwork nature of the nation’s healthcare system was produced and directed by Matthew Heineman and Oscar-nominee Susan Froemke. “CNN Films is very pleased to bring this documentary to television. The physical health of our nation and the cost of healthcare, impact every current fiscal challenge we face. This compelling film gives us an explanation of some of the factors that have contributed to our broken system and explains why we urgently need to fix it,” said network Worldwide president Jeff Zucker in a statement Friday.