Cable News Network landed former ABC News correspondent Connie Chung by
offering her what the broadcast networks never could: her own stripped prime time newscast.
"I will be able dedicate myself to an hour of news," Chung said at her CNN
coming-out press conference Wednesday at the Time-Life Building in New York.
"It's not an entertainment network, it's not a talk network," she added.
Chung, who most recently co-anchored ABC's 20/20 and also has worked at NBC
and CBS, will host an hour-long show at 8 p.m., slated to debut this summer.
Her show will likely be a mix of top news, interviews and debate aired from a
new street-level studio under construction in Manhattan. (The same studio also
will eventually host Paula Zahn's morning show).
CNN chairman Walter Isaacson would not say exactly when the network first approached
Chung, only that he'd been having informal conversations with her.
He said the conversations progressed once Greta Van Susteren left for Fox
News Channel, opening up the 8 p.m. slot.
"If everyone was locked in, we wouldn't have had something to offer Connie,"
Chung said she parted amicably with her former employer. ABC released Chung
with one year remaining on her contract.
Chung reportedly took between a $1 million and $2 million pay cut to move to
cable, although neither Chung nor CNN executives would comment on her
Chung was estimated to earn $4 million per year at ABC, while AOL Time
Warner Inc.'s CNN will pay her between $2 million and $3 million through a mix of
salary and stock options.