Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Klein: Larry King "Put Cable Television On The Map"

Howard Kurtz writes in today's Washington Post on Larry King's retirement from his nightly CNN show...

"The onetime radio host has interviewed an endless parade of presidents, monarchs and celebrities using an average-guy-from-Brooklyn approach, one that felt increasingly old-school in an era of opinionated programs on the right and left. King lost nearly half his audience over the past year but said that did not persuade him to call it quits.

You always feel bad when there's a ratings decline," he said. "I never felt any pressure. CNN never pressured me."

CNN President Jon Klein said that King initiated the discussions. "When you put the ratings in the perspective of 25 years of shows, they are insignificant," Klein said, adding that he is pleased King will continue to do periodic specials for the network.

King "really put cable television on the map," he added. "He was one of the first superstars of cable and got millions of Americans accustomed to tuning in to the higher channels. It's all driven by his passion for talking to people."

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

CNN Statement about Larry King's Departure

Just as CNN redefined the news business, Larry King defined the art of the television interview. His candor, curiosity and compassion are legendary, and his ability to interview people from all walks of life—world leaders, celebrities and everyday people—has made him an icon. Having conducted nearly 50,000 interviews over 50-plus years in broadcasting, Larry deserves to take some time for himself and his family. After 25 years at CNN, he will conclude Larry King Live on his own terms, sometime this fall. We are proud and grateful that Larry will continue the next chapter of his storied career at CNN and will host several specials over the coming years.

Today is about Larry. We will announce plans for the 9pm hour in the weeks ahead.

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Larry King Photo Gallery

Larry King started at CNN as host of Larry King Live in June 1985. He will step down in the Fall of 2010, after 25 years of broadcasting at CNN. Below are some photos from the past 25 years. Click on a photo for a larger view.

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Our 1000th Post: Statement from Larry King

Before I start the show tonight, I want to share some personal news with you. 25 years ago, I sat across this table from New York Governor Mario Cuomo for the first broadcast of Larry King Live.

Now, decades later, I talked to the guys here at CNN and I told them I would like to end Larry King Live, the nightly show, this fall and CNN has graciously accepted, giving me more time for my wife and I to get to the kids’ little league games.

I’ll still be a part of the CNN family, hosting several Larry King specials on major national and international subjects.

I’m incredibly proud that we recently made the Guinness Book of World Records for having the longest running show with the same host in the same time slot. With this chapter closing I’m looking forward to the future and what my next chapter will bring, but for now it’s time to hang up my nightly suspenders.

—Larry King

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Weekly Observations - week ending June 26, 2010

This is our weekly round-up of the tidbits that didn't make it to a post of their own, but are worth noting, along with news items we may have missed during the week.

If you have any of your own observations from any of the CNN Worldwide networks during the week, send us a message via the tip box bottom right.

- Larry King exclusive with Elizabeth Edwards.

- CNN nabs awards at PromaxBDA Design, Promotion and Marketing Conference 2010.

- Jeanne Moos profile. (via: TV Newser)

- Soledad O'Brien shines in report on gay family.

Spitzer/Parker reaction:

- Jonathan Klein defends Spitzer hire.

- CNN risks viewer trust in Spitzer hire.

- Parker: Me and Spitzer.

- Lou Dobbs weighs in on CNN's new 8pm show.

- No news is bad news for CNN.

- Top Five Questions CNN Anchor Eliot Spitzer Should Ask Disgraced Politician Eliot Spitzer.

- CNN's Spitzer move is "totally inappropriate".

- CNN pins hopes on new show.

- Spitzer on CNN - Outrage or ratings?

- A "thankful" Spitzer anticipates some criticism.


CNN International Scores Big With EMS Africa Results

CNN Press Release: Independent Survey confirms CNN as #1 international media brand. EMS Africa results come after significant programming investment across the network.

The independent survey by Synovate confirms CNN is the top choice for audiences wanting international news and analysis, in a market where international media consumption is particularly high. Taken together with the findings from EMS Europe and EMS Middle East, the results underscore CNN’s position as the leading international news brand of choice for the EMEA region*. Compounded with leading independent research findings in Asia and Latin America, it also confirms CNN as the most watched international news brand.

The results come following the network’s significant investment in both its regional and international news output last year. A new prime time wheel was introduced in September 2009 to complement its ongoing commitment to breaking news; and relaunched in October with increased video content and interactive features. In the same period, CNN also ramped up its regionally-focussed programming., with African Voices and CNN Marketplace Africa launching in the last year to add to the African output led by Inside Africa, now in its tenth year.

Tony Maddox, Managing Director, CNN International commented, "Our global reach has never been stronger and this research validates our ongoing investment in our TV and online services. CNN is not just a rolling news service, but also home to cross-platform content, both international and regionally-focussed output, which our audiences really seem to engage with. As a brand with committed editorial focus on Africa, we are delighted and appreciative that Africa’s global citizens, like their counterparts around the world, choose CNN as their key destination for keeping abreast of worldwide developments.”

CNN’s continued investment in the region also includes the annual CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards, now in their 15th year, three bureaux, and an expanded portfolio of Africa-centric programming (Inside Africa, African Voices, CNN Marketplace Africa).

“The extremely strong showing in this research underlines that CNN's decision to invest in newsgathering, launch new programming and generate content for multiplatform services is the right one for both our audiences and our business partners", added Maddox.

About CNN’s results

The EMS Africa Survey tracked across the top 15% of income earners in 12 cities across the key strategic African markets of Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Morocco and Cameroon.

CNN International ranks as the #1 TV channel in Africa for monthly (61%), weekly (49%) and daily (27%) reach, compared with BBC World (51% monthly, 39% weekly and 17% daily), Euronews (31% monthly, 24% weekly and 10% daily) and CNBC Africa (21% monthly, 14% weekly and 4% daily).

CNN maintains a double digit advantage over its closest news competitor (BBC World News). CNN outperforms BBC World by 24% in monthly reach with business decision makers and 21% with high income earners. CNN also out-performs the competition online. The network’s websites (, and are also number one in Africa for monthly reach.

* leading independent market surveys:

Europe - EMS Summer 2009 (Waves 1-2 ‘08) – 20 Markets / Synovate
Asia - PAX Asia Survey 2009 (Q1 - Q4 2009) - 11 Markets / Synovate
Latin America (*Includes CNNE) -TGI Elite Latin America 2009 / Kantar

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CNN International Campaign Wins Cannes Gold

CNN Press Release: CNN International’s ‘Go Beyond Borders’ campaign wins Gold at the 2010 Cannes International Advertising Festival

The campaign was created and realized by the agency HEIMAT, Berlin, around the anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. The ‘Go Beyond Borders’ campaign was recognized with Gold in the category “Media Lions/Best Use of Ambient Media: Large Scale” and with Bronze in the category “Outdoor Lions/Ambient: Special Build”.

The Cannes Media Lions award comes on the heels of several recent awards for CNN’s campaign, including a Gold Statue in the “Content and Contact” category and a Bronze Statue in the “Design” category at the CLIO awards 2010; a Gold Medal at Golden Award of Montreaux 2010 in the “Best Use of Ambient Media” category and two Bronze and three merits at Germany’s prestigious advertising awards ADC Wettbewerb 2010 (Art Directors Club).

"This campaign is a great example of how CNN's promise can be put into practice; To Go Beyond Borders is to make that extra effort, to be truly creative, to think differently and do something unexpected." said Mark Haviland, Marketing Director CNN International EMEA. "That's what CNN stands for and this campaign was true to that goal."

About the campaign:

CNN International’s ‘Go Beyond Borders’ message was transformed into an event that coincided with the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. 40 kilometers of CNN International branded tape marked the former demarcation line between East and West Berlin. Street artist El Bocho then created eight commemorative street art installations along the red line in venues including the Potsdamer Platz Subway Station, a bar in Neukölln and at Checkpoint Charlie.

Multilingual information boards provided historical facts. Integrated QR-codes linked to the CNN International website, where people from all over the world could share their memories and discuss the momentous anniversary.
The 40 kilometers of ‘Go Beyond Borders’ tape recreated the Berlin Wall for Berlin’s citizens and the tens of thousands international visitors who had travelled there for the occasion. The event received international exposure via Google Maps. Reports, pictures and films of the event provided further background information. Blogs, social media and El Bocho’s art ensured CNN’s new slogan truly went beyond borders. The campaign was created and realized by the agency HEIMAT, Berlin.

“Finding an agency which really understands your brand is always the secret to successful creative partnerships. Heimat has helped bring ‘Go Beyond Borders’ to life for us in a unique and involving way,” said Mark Haviland, Marketing Director CNN International EMEA.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Reese Schonfeld On Spitzer, Parker Show

Reese Schonfeld, former CNN CEO and creator of the now defunct "Crossfire", shares his thoughts on CNN's recent decision to greenlight a new debate show hosted by Eliot Spitzer and Kathleen Parker. (h/t: TV Newser)

To be blunt, I can't think of a worse idea. The original Crossfire featured Pat Buchanan and Tom Braden, whose name you rarely hear these days. The program was not intended as a shouting match -- our goal was to put the number one news maker of the day on CNN air at 10pm every night and to have him reply to questions from the right, Buchanan, and from the moderate left, Braden. The guest would be caught in the crossfire.


CNN was created as a news network, and the 10pm hour, where the Crossfire show had been originally scheduled, was supposed to make news. By interviewing the protagonist of the day's leading story, we hoped we could get him to say something that would advance the story by at least one news cycle, and have everybody quoting us in the next day's newspaper. The guest was supposed to deliver fresh information, not controversy. Unfortunately, for twenty years, Crossfire shed more heat than light, and I suspect Spitzer-Parker will do the same.

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CNN's Coverage Of Kagan, Petraeus Hearings

CNN Press Release: CNN Plans Comprehensive Coverage of Kagan, Petraeus Hearings

CNN’s Candy Crowley and John King will anchor special coverage of the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan during the week of June 28. Beginning Monday at noon, CNN will provide comprehensive coverage during the opening statements and questioning from senators on Capitol Hill.

Crowley and King will be joined by former Reagan administration Justice Department official Victoria Toensing and members of the Best Political Team on Television, including political contributors Donna Brazile, Erick Erickson, Roland Martin and Ed Rollins, senior political analyst Gloria Borger and senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Additionally, Crowley and King will helm special coverage of Gen. David Petraeus’ confirmation hearing to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal in Afghanistan beginning 9 a.m. on Tuesday, June 29. CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr will join the coverage along with CNN international correspondent Atia Abawi, live from Afghanistan.

Coverage of both hearings will continue during The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, which airs weekdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and John King, USA, which airs weekdays from 7 p.m. to 8p.m.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Eliot Spitzer And Kathleen Parker To Front 8pm CNN Show

CNN Press Release: CNN to Launch Nightly News and Events Discussion Program Hosted by Eliot Spitzer and Kathleen Parker

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Kathleen Parker and former New York governor Eliot Spitzer will co-host a spirited, nightly roundtable discussion program on CNN/U.S., it was announced today by Jon Klein, president of CNN/U.S. The new program, set to debut this fall, will air weeknights at 8pm Eastern time.

Spitzer, a legendary prosecutor and progressive governor, and Parker, an iconoclastic conservative commentator, will host a dynamic exchange of opinions and analyses – their own, and those of their guests and regular contributors – on the most important, compelling and amusing stories of the day.

“Other cable news channels force-feed viewers one narrow, predictable point of view; in contrast, CNN will be offering a lively roundup of all the best ideas – presented by two of the most intelligent and outspoken figures in the country,” said Klein. “Eliot and Kathleen are beholden to no vested interest – in fact, quite the opposite: they are renowned for taking on the most powerful targets and most important causes.”

Parker is one of the nation’s most prolific and popular opinion columnists, appearing twice weekly in more than 400 newspapers. A self-described “rational” conservative, she is known to take a common sense approach to life and writes with humor and wit. In May she was awarded the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for her political opinion columns, which she launched in 1987 while a staff writer for the Orlando Sentinel. It was nationally syndicated in 1995 and she joined the Washington Post Writers Group in 2006. She has written for magazines including the Weekly Standard, Time, Town & Country, Cosmopolitan and Fortune Small Business, and is a contributor to The Daily Beast. She also serves on USA Today’s board of contributors and writes occasionally for the paper’s op-ed page. In 1993 she won the H.L. Mencken writing award and in 2004 and 2005 she was named one of the country’s Top Five Columnists by The Week.

“As a veteran print journalist, I am appropriately respectful of the challenges posed by the medium,” said Parker. ”But I'm thrilled by the opportunity to discuss the issues that matter to me —and that aren't heard often enough on television—in a conversation with one of the nation's most brilliant, fearless and original thinkers. With Eliot Spitzer as my co-host, Wall Street and Main Street will finally meet. It can't possibly be boring.”

Spitzer, a renowned prosecutor and former Governor of the State of New York, is frequently referred to as the “Sheriff of Wall Street,” having prosecuted abuses among major Wall Street firms as well as numerous other industries, both as a young lawyer and as New York State Attorney General. As Attorney General from 1998 to 2006, Spitzer led several high-profile cases battling corruption throughout the financial services sector and led groundbreaking cases in the areas of environmental protection and civil rights enforcement. As Governor, Spitzer restructured New York’s system of education finance, began the process of fundamental health care reform and focused economic development on New York’s upstate economy.

Spitzer was born and raised in the Bronx and is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. Following law school, Spitzer clerked for Federal District Judge Robert W. Sweet; was an Assistant District Attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, where he prosecuted organized crime and political corruption cases; and worked at several prominent private law firms. Spitzer is currently a contributor to

“Kathleen is an extraordinary intellect whose sharp observations and wit are certain to resonate with viewers,” said Spitzer. “I look forward to working alongside her in a discussion that will inform, challenge, and entertain. I am grateful to CNN for the opportunity to co-host a show that will advance the discussion of the defining issues of our time.”

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CNN Special Looks At Michael Jackson's Final Days

CNN Press Release: One Year Ago, A Legend Died – CNN’s Don Lemon Gets Answers Michael Jackson – The Final Days debuts Friday, June 25 at 8:00pm ET & PT

Though he died a year ago, the circumstances surrounding the death of Michael Jackson are still a mix of mystery and contradictions. CNN anchor Don Lemon unspools the confusing reports still swirling around his death in MICHAEL JACKSON – THE FINAL DAYS debuting on CNN/U.S. on Friday, June 25, at 8:00pm ET and PT; and CNN International Saturday, July 3, at 8:00am ET. Following Lemon’s report, a special Larry King Live tribute program highlighting the music milestones Michael Jackson achieved during his lifetime will air at 9:00pm ET and 6:00pm PT.

Lemon’s revealing hour allows viewers to hear directly from Tito and Jermaine Jackson about their last contact with their brother and, how they first learned of their brother’s collapse and death.

Lemon begins by pressing music producer Rodney Jerkins about reports that Jackson was too physically frail to fulfill his nine month, 50-performance THIS IS IT! engagement in London. Lemon also confirms with concert promoter Randy Phillips, CEO of AEG Live, that Jackson had missed several rehearsals in the run up to the tour.

Though they had some doubts about Jackson’s ability to manage the grueling rehearsal and performance schedule, musical director Michael Bearden, and concert tour choreographer Travis Payne, insist Jackson’s dancing and voice were both strong, that his mood was optimistic – and that Jackson’s stamina surpassed that of the dancers preparing to tour with him, many of whom were half his age.

Jermaine Jackson, who says he was unaware of the extent of his brother’s alleged drug use that other family members and friends have described, tells Lemon that there was a conspiracy to kill his brother. When Lemon asks Jermaine Jackson directly about the culpability of Michael Jackson’s last physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, who is currently standing trial accused of involuntary manslaughter, Jermaine Jackson responds with:

“I think he [Dr. Murray] know[s] the players. And I think if you squeeze his hand hard enough, he would say.”

Celebrity biographer J. Randy Tamborelli tells Lemon that Jackson may have been using the anesthetic drug Propofol as long as 5 or 6 years ago. “Acute propofol intoxication,” among other conditions, is indicated as the immediate cause of death on the medical report from the Los Angeles Coroner’s Department. Jackson friend Dr. Deepak Chopra has confirmed knowledge of Jackson’s extended use of prescription drugs.

Lemon’s documentary ends with intimate reflections from Tito and Jermaine Jackson on the family’s mourning of the loss of their beloved brother, son, and friend. Viewers can also remember Michael Jackson’s life at, where they can find a photo archive and follow developments in the ongoing probe into his death.

Scott Matthews is executive producer for CNN Productions, which produced MICHAEL JACKSON – THE FINAL DAYS. Bud Bultman and Jeffery Reid are executive producers for the documentary. Brian Larch and Stan Wilson are senior producers for this program.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

CNN Expands Blog Network with Launch of Eatocracy

CNN Press Release - Passionate Community, Global Coverage, Novel Features Baked into New Food Blog today announced the launch of Eatocracy, a blog created to feed the minds, hearts and stomachs of food fanatics across the world. Covering the pulse of food news – from its culture and trends to the politics and economics of eating, is a destination for passionate dialogue and debate about food.

“Very few topics are as cultural, political, entertaining, scientific and global as food,” said Meredith Artley, managing editor of “CNN and its users now have a gathering place for all of these conversations and more. Eatocracy is the bright red cherry on top of our beat-focused portfolio.”

Edited by Kat Kinsman, previously senior editor at AOL Food and Slashfood, Eatocracy will uniquely leverage CNN’s global newsgathering resources for the latest in food news, as well as foster an environment for users and the iReport community to engage in the conversation. Under the leadership of features editor Cybil Wallace,’s Eatocracy is powered by Kinsman and the blog’s associate editor Sarah LeTrent, as well as CNN producers and correspondents, guest bloggers and iReporters.

“Through a combination of active engagement with users, our editors' expertise and connections to the farmers, chefs and major players in the food world, and original lick-the-screen photography, we'll create a real-time portrait of how the world eats,” said Kat Kinsman, editor of Eatocracy. “We want to create an Eatocracy, where everyone has a place at the table.”

With innovative daily, weekly and ongoing features incorporating user-generated content and social media activity, Eatocracy focuses on bringing all of the best food stories to users on a topic to which everyone can relate. Some of the features include:

“Box Lunch,” bite-sized blurbs of the top stories during the lunch hour
“5@5,” 5 favorite culinary items from the blog’s editors, writers and special guests, published at 5pm ET each day
“Lunch Out Loud,” iReport users share what they had for lunch
“Lick the Screen,” original photo galleries of ingredients, food and meals

“Tuesday Night Cook-Along,” the editors share a simple recipe and cook it alongside users
“Path to the Plate,” a column tracking the path – from growth to consumption - of the food that people eat
“Mom Was Wrong,” debunking kitchen myths with the help of a food scientist

“Eat Like a Local,” highlighting the local dishes, products and institutions that define local cuisine by drawing on regional food bloggers’ expertise
“Heirloom Eats,” database of hand-written recipes, submitted by users, to honor the culinary heritage handed down through the generations
“Master the Classics,” tips and tricks to perfect some of the classic recipes
“Stone Soup,” an under-funded writer’s guide to eating on the cheap
“Eatcyclopedia,” a reference guide for more than 500 different culinary terms

Twitter users also can keep up with the blog’s latest postings by following @eatocracy. is the No. 1 destination for online and wireless news according to Nielsen, garnering the greatest audience in online video, total minutes and page views and the most mobile usage among current events and global news sites. Launched in 1995, draws from the resources of CNN Worldwide and its many partners to provide consumers with the most enriching, immediate interaction with news anywhere, seamlessly combining articles, videos, images, interactive features and user-generated content.’s news video offering – both live and on-demand – is unparalleled on the Web.’s recent awards include a Peabody Award, two EPpy awards, four CableFAX Best of the Web awards, a National Headliner award, and the 2009 Edward R. Murrow award for best website.

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CNN's Gulf Telethon Raises $1.7M

CNN reports that Larry King's Gulf Oil Spill telethon Monday night raised $1.7 million dollars.

The two-hour CNN show raised at least $1.7 million with proceeds going to three charities deeply involved in the efforts to help humans, wildlife and the environment.

"Everyone's really pissed off," actress Jenny McCarthy, who was monitoring online messages in the telethon's "Tweet Suite," told host Ryan Seacrest.

Donors could choose to send their money to the United Way, National Wildlife Federation or The Nature Conservancy.

Related: Some early reaction and media coverage of the event...

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CNN Kicks Off Gay In America Series

CNN Press Release: Soledad O’Brien Tells the Story of a Gay Couple’s Journey to Have a Baby. Documentary Kicks off Gay in America Series with a Lens on Surrogacy

Building upon the success of Black in America and Latino in America, CNN anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien will cover another underreported story, one of two gay men who want nothing more than what they each had growing up - a traditional family - and a child of their own. O’Brien reports a revealing one-hour CNN documentary that follows Gary Spino and Tony Brown on their struggle to have a baby that has a biological and legal connection to both of them via an egg donor and a surrogate. Gary and Tony Have a Baby premieres on CNN on Thursday, June 24 at 8pm ET & PT and on CNN International on Saturday, June 26 at 8am ET.

Both growing up in small towns and subject to considerable ridicule and harassment for being gay, Gary and Tony found love in New York City and have chosen to fight for gay equality for the rest of their lives. Together for years, Gary and Tony took the next step and married in Canada where same-sex marriage is legal nationwide, unlike in the United States where their marriage is not recognized.

After their marriage, they wanted what many Americans have - a family of their own - however the steep costs associated with surrogacy and an egg donor can be restrictive for any couple, including Gary and Tony. It was not until one of their neighbors left them an inheritance that they were able to start the family they always desired. O'Brien uncovers their ensuing social, political and legal challenges they faced on their journey to have a baby.

Said O’Brien, "The journey of Gary and Tony Have a Baby is a compelling story of a dream fulfilled that is unknown to much of America. Unlike most heterosexual couples who are able to have their own biological children, this gay couple faces remarkable challenges and overcomes immense obstacles to have their own baby." has launched a digital extension exclusively for CNN’s In America documentaries. Under the Gay in America tab, additional reporting on LGBT issues, CNN iReport submissions on topics including gay adoption, surrogacy and marriage – as well as opinion editorials submitted by guest contributors including gay Iraq veteran Lt. Dan Choi can be found at In addition, CNN Student News has produced an online curriculum guide.

Complementing an ongoing commitment to provide multi-platform experiences for major programming initiatives, CNN launched a mobile website destination for In America. Users will now be able to watch a video preview of the Gary and Tony Have a Baby and submit an iReport on the topic of gay parenting.

Geraldine Moriba is the executive producer for CNN’s In America unit, which includes Gary and Tony Have a Baby; Rose Arce and Elise Zeiger are the senior producers for this documentary. CNN’s In America is also reporting other stories about gay Americans, including a member of a Baptist Congregation in WashingtonDC who sued her church for beginning to perform same sex unions and lesbian teenage girls in Mississippi who struggle for acceptance.

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CNN Drops AP Service

CNN has gone ahead with plans to drop its subscription to the AP service, effective immediately.

As Bloomberg reports, the move comes after CNN was unable to reach a new deal with AP.

Starting today, CNN’s newsgathering will be the primary source of content across all platforms and services, CNN Worldwide President Jim Walton said today in an internal memo to staff. The memo was confirmed by CNN spokesman Nigel Pritchard.

“We are taking an important next step in the content- ownership process we began in 2007 to more fully leverage CNN’s global newsgathering investments,” Walton wrote.

The move lets CNN invest more into its own operation and helps it differentiate from competition, Walton said. CNN started the efforts to own all of its content in 2007, and created a wire service offering articles and videos.

The cable channel also struck a deal with Thomson Reuters Corp.’s wire service to supplement breaking news coverage, according to the memo. CNN is returning to Reuters after dropping the service in August 2007, following a price increase.

TVNewser has more on the move, including the memo to staff from Jim Walton.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Morgan Neill Leaves CNN?

A tipster on the forum reports that Morgan Neill has left CNN. Other users note that his bio was removed from the anchors and reports section a few weeks back.

Morgan most recently served as an international correspondent based in London, but previously reported from Japan, and was the only American television correspondent based in Cuba - where he was CNN's Havana bureau chief and correspondent from 2006 - 2009.

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CNN International's Edit Room

CNN International's new monthly program, 'Edit Room', promises to take an analytical look at the news agenda through the lens of some of the world's most famous personalities.

The first edition will feature actress Sienna Miller, who talks about her father's last minute change of plan that prevented him from being in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Also on the premiere episode, writer Fatima Bhutto opens up about the days following her aunt Benazir's assassination.

Hosted by Max Foster, 'Edit Room', is due to premiere at 0830 GMT this Thursday, with repeat screenings at 0330 GMT Friday; 0800 GMT and 1430 GMT Saturday; 2230 GMT Sunday.

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Weekly Observations - week ending June 19, 2010

This is our weekly round-up of the tidbits that didn't make it to a post of their own, but are worth noting, along with news items we may have missed during the week.

If you have any of your own observations from any of the CNN Worldwide networks during the week, send us a message via the tip box bottom right.

- David Letterman scores "exclusive CNN statement" on Larry King rumors.

- Mundo Hispánico reports on impending changes to CNN en Español - Google translated version Original Spanish version

- New York Post continues Piers Morgan / CNN speculation. (via ICN)

- Piers Morgan: The man with stars in his eyes.

- Anderson Cooper becomes voice for Gulf residents.

- Myleene Klass set for UK morning TV gig?

- CNN International's Robyn Curnow: At the top of her game.

- Larry King's endgame at CNN.

- CNN reporter shares top spots in Pretoria.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Pedram Javaheri Joins CNN

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri - or P.J. Javaheri - has joined CNN.

Pedram heads to the network from KION 46 - a CBS affiliate in California - where he was a weekday reporter and on air forecaster for the weekend evening news.

Pedram made his CNN debut on CNN International's 'World Report' on Friday.

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CNN Launches Food Blog

CNN has launched a new blog... about food.

Eatocracy is your online home for smart, passionate conversation and information about food news, politics, culture. We'll highlight regional and family recipes, dive into restaurants and food shopping, chat with celebrity and local chefs, and show you what's for dinner around the world tonight. Grab a place at the table and read with your mouth full.

Kat Kinsman, formerly a blogger for AOL Food and Slashfood, is the managing editor of Eatocracy. Watch Kat's introduction and explanation of the new blog in the video below.

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New HLN Stop On CNN Atlanta Tour

The "Inside CNN Studio Tour" in Atlanta now has a new HLN stop.

The Morning Express Facebook page has details, and a video of what to expect on the new section.

There is a brand new "HLN" stop on the "Inside CNN Studio Tour" where you can experience what it's like to be an HLN anchor. Bob Van Dillen and some of the Morning Express writers got a special look at the new area, and gave it a test drive! For more info on the "Inside CNN Studio Tour" visit

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Martin Savidge In Baghdad

As ICN and users on the forum noted earlier this week, Martin Savidge is currently on assigment for CNN in Baghdad.

Savidge, who was an anchor and correspondent for CNN from 1996 to 2004, returned to CNN as a freelancer last December.

CNN Observations has been told that Martin - who has just overcome a bout of food poisoning in Iraq - is still working as a freelancer, but there are many viewers (including yours truly) who would love to see Martin back in a fulltime role - either reporting or back at the anchor desk.

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CNN Telethon - "Disaster In The Gulf: How You Can Help"

UPDATE #2: CNN has an official press release.

CNN original Larry King hosts a special two-hour Larry King Live telethon
this Monday, June 21, “DISASTER IN THE GULF: How You Can Help,” from 8 to 10pm
Eastern, a star-studded effort to raise funds for United Way, The National
Wildlife Federation and The Nature Conservancy, organizations working directly
with the families, individuals and wildlife affected by the Gulf oil spill.

“The Gulf oil spill is a disaster both national and natural in scope,
and the point of this effort is to get immediate relief to the people and
Wildlife who are in urgent need,” says longtime CNN Larry King Live Senior
Executive Producer Wendy Walker. “The telethon’s proceeds go directly to the
relief organizations who are working on the frontlines to do just that.”

King comments, “I understand bureaucracy and that some things take
time, but when you’re out of work, you don’t need help tomorrow, you need help
today. I’m grateful so many friends and colleagues are coming out to support our
June 21st telethon. We’re going to raise all we can to help the people and also
the wildlife that need it now.”

Guests include Justin Bieber, Deepak Chopra, Cameron Diaz, Philippe
Cousteau, Ted Danson, Kathy Griffin, Chelsea Handler, Randy Jackson, Kerry
Kennedy, Sammy Kershaw, Lenny Kravitz, Jenny McCarthy, Tim McGraw, Alyssa
Milano, Aaron Neville, Edward James Olmos, Victoria Principal, Robert Redford,
Gloria Reuben, Tyson Ritter, Richard Simmons, Ian Somerhalder, Sam Trammell,
Melania and Ivanka Trump, Pete Wentz, with a special performance by Sting.
Guests talk with King on set and via satellite and also participate in the
program’s telephone banks taking viewer calls, or in a special online Social
Suite—hosted by Ryan Seacrest—for participants using internet social media such
as Facebook and Twitter. Celebrity guests post live Facebook updates during
Monday’s telethon and the hashtag #CNNHelpGulf is used for viewers and online
participants wanting to join the conversation on Twitter. The telethon is
simulcast on CNN International and CNN en Español.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Soledad O’Brien, Kyra Phillips and Rob Marciano
provide the latest news from the Gulf throughout the 2-hour live telecast, with
reports from locations including New Orleans, Grand Isle, and other areas
throughout the region.

King also welcomes 11-year old special guest Olivia Bouler from Islip,
New York, who made news with her effort to protect birds in her native Southern
Alabama by providing original watercolor paintings of regional birds to anyone
who donated to organizations working to protect Gulf wildlife. She has raised
nearly $100,000 to date through her efforts benefiting groups such as the
Audubon Society, Sierra Club, Weeks Bay Foundation, Mobile Bay Estuary Program
and the National Wildlife Fund. Bouler paints a picture during Monday’s telethon
to auction for viewers, with proceeds going directly toward the evening’s
fundraising efforts. offers users and viewers ways to help, with
highlights from organizations seeking volunteers, links for direct donations,
tips for helping for those who can't travel to the Gulf, iReporters' solutions
for the cleanup, a live on-page update of what people are saying in the Twitter
world on #CNNHelpGulf as well as celebrity videos and more. CNN also offers the
option of mobile giving for telethon viewers with individuals able to give via
mobile phone text message to the United Way, The National Wildlife Federation or
The Nature Conservancy. Text message donation codes for the organizations
involved are announced during the CNN telethon.

United Way’s Worldwide CEO, Brian Gallagher, said, “The situation in
the Gulf has created real and immediate needs for families whose livelihoods
have been affected. Calls are coming in now for food, rent and utilities
assistance. We are also preparing for the extensive long-term needs that
will arise. United Way will remain on the ground after the immediate response,
working side-by-side with Gulf Coast residents to build more resilient
communities. This includes helping people as they re-imagine their lives
and livelihoods, take care of long-term health and mental health issues, and
learn how to become more financially stable to face any future

“The impact this disaster is having on people and wildlife in the Gulf
region is unthinkable,” said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National
Wildlife Federation. “This tragedy is unfolding in the heart of spring
migration, nesting season and calving season in the open water.”
Mark Tercek,
CEO of The Nature Conservancy, commented, “The Gulf of Mexico is a national
treasure that millions of Americans across the country depend on for their
livelihoods, food, recreation and inspiration. This precious resource has
suffered from decades of neglect and damage, all of which has been dramatically
compounded by this catastrophic oil spill. We need a comprehensive effort to
protect and restore the Gulf, one that is built on innovation, collaboration and
a shared vision of a healthy and vibrant natural system. We must act on this
now. We simply can’t wait another day.”

Walker and King recently orchestrated another Larry King Live telethon,
Haiti: How You Can Help, which benefited UNICEF and the Red Cross, organizations
working directly with those affected by the devastating earthquake in Haiti
earlier this year. The two-hour special featured a wide-ranging list of
celebrities, opinion leaders and tastemakers and raised some $10 million for the
earthquake relief effort.

UPDATE #1: The Larry King Live blog has more details on the telethon next week.

Tune in this Monday, June 21, for a special LARRY KING LIVE telethon focusing on what you can do to help the Gulf Coast.

"Disaster in the Gulf: How You Can Help," will be featuring three charities, so you will be able to choose which one you want to help out. The money raised will go to aid in rebuilding the Gulf Coast.

Celebrity participants include Chelsea Handler, Sting, Tim McGraw, Kathy Griffin, Alyssa Milano, Deepak Chopra, Pete Wentz, Ted Danson, Robert Redford, Harry Connick Jr., Jenny McCarthy, Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump, Aaron Neville, Kerry Kennedy, James Carville and Mary Matalin, Anderson Cooper, Tyson Ritter, Lenny Kravitz, Ian Somerhalder, Edward James Olmos, Philippe Cousteau and more!!

Original post: - Thursday June 17...

The Anaheim Examiner reports that CNN will air a two hour telethon on Monday, June 21st, raising funds for victims of the BP oil spill.

"Disaster in the Gulf: How You Can Help will air from 8 to 10 pm EST (5 to 7 pm PST) on Monday night, June 21.

Many celebrities will appear on the show joining Larry King, Ryan Seacrest, Anderson Cooper and Philippe Cousteau in hopes of raising money that can immediately go to help rebuild the Gulf Coast."

This post updates once CNN releases details...

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