Thursday, March 18, 2010

Christiane Amanpour Leaving CNN

After more than twenty-five years at CNN, eighteen of those as an International Correspondent, Christiane Amanpour is leaving CNN at the end of April to head to a post as host of This Week on ABC beginning in August.

Amanpour joined CNN in 1983 as an entry-level assistant on the CNN international assignment desk at the network's World Headquarters in Atlanta, GA. She worked from there to become a correspondent in the New York bureau before becoming an International Correspondent in 1990. Her weekday interview program, Amanpour, on CNN International premiered in September 2009.

In 2007, Amanpour earned the title of Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for her "“highly distinguished, innovative contribution” to journalism.

Since joining CNN, Amanpour has earned an inaugural Television Academy Honor, nine News and Documentary Emmys, four George Foster Peabody Awards, two George Polk Awards, three duPont-Columbia Awards, the Courage in Journalism Award, an Edward R. Murrow award and other major journalism awards as well as honorary degrees from The American University of Paris, Georgetown University, New York University, Smith College, Emory University and the University of Michigan.

In a statement released today, Amanpour said “I’m thrilled to be joining the incredible team at ABC News. Being asked to anchor “This Week” and the superb tradition started by David Brinkley, is a tremendous and rare honor and I look forward to discussing the great domestic and international issues of the day, I leave CNN with the UTMOST respect, love and admiration for the company and everyone who works here. This has been my family and shared endeavor for the past 27 years and I am forever grateful and proud of all that we have accomplished.”

Amanpour graduated summa cum laude from the University of Rhode Island with a bachelor of arts in journalism.

Look for CNN International to announce a new prime time schedule in the next few weeks.

Below, you will find a statement from CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton:
"I have some news for you about Christiane Amanpour. ABC News will announce today that she is joining that organization to headline one of its programs. You may have seen media speculation concerning this move; out of respect for Christiane, we have reserved comment until now, when we all agree that the time is right to share her plans.

Over the years, Christiane and I have talked about her professional goals and personal interests, and more recently about the excitement of a new opportunity at this point in her career. While I don’t presume to speak for her, as her colleague and friend for more than 25 years I know that this decision has not been an easy one. Since 1990 when Christiane became a CNN international correspondent, she has covered the defining news events of our time. Her work burnished our news brand and gave it authority. In turn, the CNN imprimatur opened doors for her around the world and provided a global platform for the intelligent, courageous, principled reporting that is her signature. CNN and Christiane helped make each other great.

She will depart her CNN International show at the end of April. We’ll announce changes to the CNNI programming schedule in the coming weeks; today is about honoring our friend. For her hard work these many years on behalf of CNN; for going where the story was, wherever in the world that might be; for her passion, character and generosity; and most of all, for her extraordinary journalism, Christiane has our gratitude, respect and sincere best wishes."
Statement from Wolf Blitzer, anchor The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer (via Twitter):
I want to wish Christiane Amanpour all the best as she gets ready to leave CNN for ABC News. She'll host "This Week."
Don Riddell, anchor World Report (via Twitter):
Good luck in the new gig Christiane!
Update (03/19): Christiane's letter to her CNN friends and colleagues:
To My Family at CNN,

I am stunned and humbled by all your words and thoughts and good wishes. I have been bobbing on a tide of poignancy, enveloped in the amazing outpouring of love and affection from my friends and family at the place I call home. For nearly 27 years it has not just been a privilege but an unparalleled pleasure...a great, rollicking, earth-shaking, world-shaping be part of CNN, which is not just a company but an institution that has changed the very way we live.

From the beginning the excitement was overwhelming as Ted Turner strode around declaring "I WAS CABLE BEFORE CABLE WAS COOL." And then boldly exhorted the establishment arrayed against him to "Lead Follow or get out of the way". He led, we followed and the rest had to get out of the way! From being shut out of the first White House stake-outs 30 years ago to the barely met payrolls, CNN and all of us, the army of true believers, did what no-one ever imagined one organization could do, pioneering, transformative, indispensable to this day.

From the very first day I walked into the newsroom at Techwood, September 1983, I have been proud to climb the ladder CNN put in front of me, every hard-won step of the way. Not just proud, but thrilled to bits. I feel truly fortunate to belong to the most supportive, amazing, dedicated and inspiring people from the leadership to my colleagues in every corner of the company. I never get tired of recalling the heart-stopping events we have all covered and brought to the world, from the Wall coming down, to the first Gulf War. To Bosnia where I became myself as a reporter, where I learned how to use my voice, where I learned what it means to have someone's back and for them to have yours; where we risked our lives...and sometimes our sanity...forged the closest of bonds and never never wavered from the mission: to report the truth, no matter how difficult and dangerous; to be the eyes and ears of our viewers in the United States and around the world, to tell people's stories and be a constructive and positive force in society, a force that tries to make a difference.

That's what CNN is, that is what I am so proud to have been part of, proud to have helped shape. And happy to have had so much fun all along the way.

That's the mission I have been trying to continue with my phenomenal team at our eponymously named program here. So why am I leaving? In my heart I am not. This has been the most difficult of decisions. I am simply taking the next challenging and difficult but exciting step. I believe more than anything that knowledge and familiarity with important international news and events abroad are fundamental to Americans today. This rare chance to take international news to a broader base here in the United States is one that I felt I could not turn down. I will take everything I have learned, and loved, here at CNN and put it into action!

And the network I love will have you, your hard work, your heart, your vision and your faith. Keep doing CNN's important work, without which the world would most definitely be a poorer place. Never forget who you are. Never forget what CNN is. Never forget how we all together changed the world.

From the bottom of my heart I thank you all, and I say only "au revoir," not goodbye


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Blogger Chris said...

You are the Best! Congratulation.

9:16 AM  

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