UAL747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (10 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 2168 times:
Okay, he's brilliant, handsome, and whitty. I'm in love. Anyway, looks like he beat Aaron Brown out of his 10PM spot, while Brown got the boot. If I could have any hubby in the world, it would be Anderson, sigh....
Here's the story:
Cooper Takes Over Brown's Slot at CNN
By Matea Gold, Times Staff Writer
NEW YORK — CNN "NewsNight" anchor Aaron Brown is leaving the network after officials decided to give Anderson Cooper Brown's flagship 10 p.m. broadcast and create an expanded role for Wolf Blitzer in prime time, officials announced today.
With the programming changes, Brown — who had anchored the 10 p.m. EST hour for the last four years — was effectively elbowed out of a time slot.
"There weren't that many options left that made sense for someone of Aaron's stature," CNN/U.S. President Jonathan Klein said in a telephone interview, calling Brown's departure "a mutual decision."
The 56-year-old anchor was on vacation and could not be reached for comment. His agent had no comment.
Since early September, Brown and Cooper had been paired together on an extended two-hour "NewsNight" that Klein said gave the network "fire and ice." But it's been clear that Cooper's star was the one ascending.
The 38-year-old's emotionally involved, ardent reporting style — in contrast with Brown's lower-key style — has drawn the attention of critics and the CNN president, who has repeatedly touted Cooper's approach as the kind of storytelling he wants to see on the network.
In an e-mail to CNN staff, Klein noted Brown's "enormous contributions to CNN" and said the anchor "is very much looking forward to some well-deserved time off with his family."
Brown, who worked at ABC before being tapped by CNN, garnered a following for his folksy contemplations and unruffled demeanor, especially during his coverage of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks — his first day on the air at the network. So far this year, the ratings of "NewsNight" were 13% higher than last year, with an average audience of 839,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.
However, some viewed him as "almost too pensive for television news," said former CNN correspondent Charles Bierbauer, now dean of the University of South Carolina's College of Mass Communications and Information Studies.
"CNN is and has been for a long time looking for someone who could deliver the holy grail in the evening hours," Bierbauer added. "Cooper is younger, more energetic. He cuts a different figure than Aaron Brown."
Klein said today that "Anderson acts like a regular human being, not like an anchorman. He's comfortable in his own skin.… He lets his passion for the stories show. It's refreshing and it's authentic.
"You don't want an anchor who's just so over it," he added. "Too many on TV, like overpriced NBA stars, are just phoning it in. Anderson gets in the game. It's infectious."
Cooper is the son of socialite and writer Gloria Vanderbilt.
His expanded platform underscores the climate of change at CNN, which has undergone significant upheaval in its programming under the direction of Klein. Since taking the helm of the second-place cable news network last November, Klein has sought to hit on a formula to challenge the preeminence of Fox News, the top-rated cable news network since 2002.
To that end, Klein canceled Beltway mainstays such as "Crossfire" and "Inside Politics," replacing them with a three-hour afternoon news block called "The Situation Room," anchored by Blitzer. He shuffled around the morning lineup, replacing "American Morning" anchor Bill Hemmer — who subsequently went to Fox News — with Miles O'Brien.
On Wednesday, Klein announced a revamping of CNN's prime time, effective Nov. 7. Cooper's 7 p.m. E.T. program "Anderson Cooper 360" will replace "NewsNight" at 10 p.m. and expand to two hours. (All shows air three hours earlier on the West Coast.)
Blitzer will now take over Cooper's 7 p.m. time slot with an evening edition of "The Situation Room." That program, which had aired from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., will continue to run from 4 to 6, with the early afternoon show "Live From" with Kyra Phillips extending an hour until 4 p.m.
Klein said he decided to make the changes because he believes both Cooper and Blitzer's programs show "clear momentum," especially after Hurricane Katrina hit.
"In the wake of Katrina, you saw the audience and people who follow the news were embracing Anderson's phenomenal coverage and glued to reports in 'The Situation Room,'" he said.
Blitzer's show has drawn an average audience of 937,000 this year, according to Nielsen Media Research. Cooper's viewership has averaged 706,000 at 7 p.m. — a 39% hike over last year. But both programs trail the competition on Fox.
Overall, CNN's average prime time audience for the year is 879,000, a 2% increase over last year, while Fox News has grown 11% in prime time, with an average audience of nearly 1.8 million.
"Ratings are a long, slow process to change," Klein said. "We are happy to take the time."