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Thursday, February 21, 2013

CNN Joins Forces with Soledad O’Brien’s New Production Company

CNN Joins Forces with Soledad O’Brien’s New Production Company
Starfish Media Group Will Produce Specials and Documentaries for CNN
CNN is entering into a production and distribution agreement with critically-acclaimed journalist Soledad O’Brien, whose new production company will produce long-form programming specials for the network it was announced today by Jeff Zucker, president CNN Worldwide. O’Brien’s company, which will launch in June, will produce three long-form programming specials for CNN in 2014. Those specials will include one of the network’s most successful franchises, Black in America.  O’Brien’s new production company, Starfish Media Group, in conjunction with CNN, will act as the exclusive worldwide distributor of previous documentaries featuring O’Brien.  She will also host the 2013 CNN Black in America documentary, which will air later this year.

“We greatly value Soledad’s experience, and her first-rate storytelling will continue to be an asset to CNN,” said Zucker. “Documentaries and long-form story telling are important to our brand and we’re anticipating more of what we’ve come to expect from her -- riveting content.” 

“The new partnership opportunity allows me to focus on what I love to do the most, and to focus on the next stage of my career, owning my own work,” said O’Brien, “At CNN, I am grateful to have been able to tell often underreported stories and confront difficult topics.  In the new production venture, I will continue to shine a light on what we all find most interesting about America.” 

As anchor and special correspondent for CNN,  O’Brien has been integral in hosting and developing the award winning Black in America franchise, one of the network’s most successful international franchises, as well as reporting breaking news from around the globe. In 2011, she won her first Emmy for Crisis in Haiti (Anderson Cooper 360) in the category of Outstanding Live Coverage of a Current News Story – Long Form. O'Brien was part of the coverage teams that earned CNN a George Foster Peabody award for its BP oil spill and Katrina coverage and an Alfred I. duPont Award for its coverage of the Southeast Asia tsunami. The National Association of Black Journalists named O’Brien the Journalist of the Year and Edward R. Murrow Awards lauded her with the RTDNA/UNITY award for Latino in America in 2010.

Starfish Media Group is a 360 media production company and distributor, dedicated to uncovering and producing empowering stories that take a challenging look at often divisive issues of race, class, wealth, opportunity, poverty and personal stories.  Starfish Media Group will produce both long-form reporting for CNN and other platforms, as well as theatrical and scripted television projects. In addition to Starfish Media Group, Soledad, along with her husband Brad, will also continue to run the Soledad O’Brien and Brad Raymond Foundation, that sends two dozen young women to and through college (

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Anonymous said...

What a shame. I really think CNN should haven given her a prime time show. She even said she would prefer that. It would have been perfect for her to host a program in the evening simply titled "In America with Soledad O'Brien". I really do feel that would have worked out. Besides daily news and headlines, she would have had the opportunity to air clips of her documentaries that she would still do on CNN in her program in connection with the title. Sadly, I see this ending up like a Larry King situation. After he ended his show, CNN had him host 4 big interviews a year. That only lasted one year. Oh well. All good things come to an end.

Anonymous said...

Like breakfast with pundits was her idea. I don't understand why the first person Jeff Zucker went at was Soledad. It makes no sense. It is very troubling that his first targets are minorities. That sends the wrong message about CNN management.

Anonymous said...

What I find fascinating is that with all this talk online of Erin Burnett moving to mornings, I have not seen one positive comment...NOT ONE, anywhere. Just because Jeff Zucker is friends with her, doesn't mean he has to keep her. Talk about annoying. She once hosted a morning show on another network and it wasn't the best ratings wise. Hello! Anyone there? I see her being replaced in a year.

Anonymous said...

Oh what a relief that I won't have to see her on a regular basis when watching CNN! She is so hopelessly biased, dogmatic, and arrogant that I have refused to watch anything that includes her. Zucker is showing he is not afraid to make significant changes, and I am appreciative of those to date. Perhaps there is some emerging hope for CNN to regain its footing.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe this, Carol Costello and Christine Romans were involved in the worst morning show ever on CNN and they are still anchoring. This stinks.

Anonymous said...

According to TVN, CNN has not joined forces with Soledad's production company, but she may appear from time to time on CNN.
This release from CNN brass, as usual, is missleading and Soledad wouldn't have to explain exactly what transpired to Wendy Williams, if CNN had joined forces with her production company.
CNN wouldn't know a good thing if they fell over it and Soledad is a beautiful, smart, Afro-American woman, who was taken for granted and not promoted as were her male colleagues.
CNN doesn't deserve Soledad O'Brien's documentaries.
She should sell them to OWN and really make a profit.

Anonymous said...

Soledad's talent is documentaries. She is bright and articulate, but she is also very cold and unlikeable. There is no way she deserves a primetime show.

Anonymous said...

Maybe she can get a Lisa Ling thing going. That would
be great for her.

Anonymous said...

CNN handled this situation very badly. Soledad O'brien is the most high female profile at CNN. There not no high profile female journalists available for CNN. it seems as though CNN thinks Erin Burnett is bigger than she actually is and that is a problem. CNN is to dumb to
book smart guests and still trying to make pundits into journalists. Nothing has changed and CNN will be looking for a new leader within a year. NBC is now the number 5 network behind Univision. Jeff Zucker left a terrible mess at NBC.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:45 , you are so right. All press reports have reached the same conclusion : Out Front is a horrible show and Erin Burnett is mediocre at best as an anchor. CNN doesn't want to admit that the hiring of Erin BUrnett has been a disaster. Moving her to the morning show will never hide how bad she is at anchoring and interviewing. Don't even get me started about Burnett being factually challenged. CNN can't get anything right. Too bad they are going to drag down Chris Cuomo in the process.

Anonymous said...

Soledad probably wants documentaries in syndication or something she can call her own.
I don't believe this was a racist issue.
And for the record, Soledad is likeable.
Viewers may not always like what she says, but she is neither arrogant nor cruel.
She has a reputation for honestly, "keeping them, whoever them is, at the time, honest.
And she possibly made certain demands that CNN were relunctant to uphold.
Erin Burnett probably has a long term contract, but she also has a "learning curve, anchoring and reporting."
Her cutie pie appeal is wearing thin.