When it was announced last December that Christiane Amanpour would leave as host of ABC’s This Week and launch a new show on CNN International while maintaining a presence at ABC News, it drew comparisons to the deals of anchors like Anderson Cooper, who hosts CNN’s AC360 as well as contributes to CBS’ 60 Minutes. But Amanpour wants people to know that she was actually the first to do it.
At a press event for Amanpour, which premieres on CNN International Monday at 3 p.m. ET, she pointed out that she had the first-ever dual contract in the U.S. back in 1996, when she was working full-time for CNN and contributing to the same venerable CBS newsmagazine.
Her new 30-minute foreign affairs program will air weeknights in primetime throughout Europe, but through her dual contract with CNN and ABC, Amanpour’s primary role is as global affairs anchor for ABC News, where she will cover big, breaking international stories, produce four primetime specials a year and host the ABC News/Yahoo online video series Around the World with Christiane Amanpour.
Juggling different roles at both networks will be done “with great skill,’ Amapour said last week at the press event at CNN’s New York offices.
“A good working relationship has developed between Tony [Maddox, managing director of CNN International] and a counterpart at ABC, and there will be talking through how these things happen,” she said. “Perhaps there will be sharing, perhaps one will want something, one won’t.”
She called herself “very fortunate” to have two very different opportunities at ABC and CNN, though acknowledged “I’m sure for my bosses it will be a bit of a headache, for both sides.”
“Both sides want this to work,” Maddox, her CNN boss added. “We’ll work them through as they come up. So far, two or three things we’ve talked through without any great acrimony and it’s worked out perfectly well for everyone.”
Viewers used to seeing Amanpour in the field may be surprised to see her doing a studio-based show, as she did on ABC’s This Week, but she said she’s looking forward to the opportunity to look at issues in a way she couldn’t while caught up in breaking news. While she said she would like to travel for the program, she won’t be able to do as much of it as she did as a foreign correspondent, making her mission statement for Amanpour to “bring the field into the studio.”
Watch a clip from Amanpour’s first episode below: