Campbell Brown Joins CNN
Campbell Brown will join CNN on September 1. But the former Weekend Today anchor, who bid farewell to viewers on Sunday’s show, cannot appear on CNN until November.
NBC wanted to keep her, said Jon Klein, president of CNN/U.S., “this is one of the provisos that they insisted on to let her go otherwise we would have loved to have her on the air sooner.”
Brown’s delayed start time will be further complicated by her pregnancy. She is due to give birth to her first child in December. (Brown, 39, is married to Dan Senor, 35, a Republican strategist and analyst for Fox News.)
Brown, who got her start at NBC News as a political reporter, says she hopes to be back at work on CNN in time for the presidential primaries in February.
What neither Klein nor Brown would say during a conference call with reporters on Monday is exactly what Brown will be doing at CNN.
“She’s going to be anchoring a show. It’s going to air in the evenings and we’re going to be announcing the specific time period shortly,” said Klein adding that her show will be “a lively look at events that are happening at the moment. It will be talk focused. It will have many different elements.”
Speculation has swirled for weeks that the struggling Paula Zahn Now, which airs at 8 p.m. ET, would be replaced with a Brown fronted show. Klein refused to discuss Zahn’s future at CNN. He said everyone at the network who will be affected by the primetime schedule change is “up to speed” but then later seemed to infer that maybe everyone is not actually up to speed.
“We have an obligation to the people who we work with to disclose this in the right manner,” he said, “and that means not having to read it in the paper before they are told face to face.”
He also said that the weeks and months before Brown’s debut would be an “opportunity” to “experiment” with different formats in primetime.
Brown’s NBC News contract expires Thursday, she said. She was not offered her own show on NBC’s cable arm MSNBC as part of a bid by the network to keep her. Her decision to leave NBC for CNN presented “a rare opportunity to build a show from scratch,” she said.
“For me to stay at NBC would have been to stay in what was a pretty comfortable role for me. I get that what I’m doing carries risk,” she added. “I wanted to take this risk. I felt it was time for a change.”