Jeff Zucker doesn’t even take over the role of President of CNN Worldwide until the new year, but the TV exec already has his sights set on at least one new addition to the network: Ann Curry.According to The New York Post, Zucker “is interested in installing Curry in CNN’s 8 p.m. time slot, we hear, which is currently occupied by Anderson Cooper.”
Zucker previously worked with Curry when he was the executive producer of the “Today” show and later head of NBC Universal.
In his new role as president of CNN, Zucker wants the scorned “Today” show anchor to come in as a high-profile personality but later transition to a “Christiane Amanpour role” as a globetrotting correspondent.
“Jeff wants a headliner like Rachel Maddow or Bill O’Reilly in prime time,” sources tell the Post. “He cannot allow the low ratings at CNN to continue . . . so he can’t hire a nobody. Curry fits that CNN-smarty-pants-foreign-affairs type.”
The source adds that Curry is a perfect fit to help revitalize the struggling news network, saying, “Package her experience as a news anchor for 14 years at NBC with the sympathy that’s remained out there for her after the way the ‘Today’ show treated her.”
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As for Cooper, he told CBS’ “This Morning” last week, “We’ve always done well when things are happening, and it’s in the slower times that we’ve run into problems, and I hope we figure it all out.”Cooper, meanwhile, has seen better days.
But it’s not just Curry who Cooper should keep an eye on, sources tell the Post that Zucker is also “looking to Erin Burnett to revive CNN’s ratings by making her a morning anchor with a male co-host” — a position that could be perfect for Cooper if he plays his cards right.
Zucker, who is leaving his gig as Executive Producer of Katie Couric’s self-titled daytime talk show for the bigger CNN job, also reportedly wants to eventually bring his friend Couric to the news network — which could make it one big, happy “Today” show reunion as the NBC morning show’s ratings continue to be at record lows without Curry or Couric.
A rep for CNN dismisses any rumours, telling the Post, “There is no shortage of rumours about what Jeff will do. He doesn’t start until late January, and any speculation at this point is just silly.” An NBC rep said, “Ann Curry is under contract with NBC News.”