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CNN Prepares Morning Show Refresh

What we first reported in September, is about to happen at CNN. Soledad O’Brien who has been CNN’s lead documentary correspondent, will return to anchoring mornings. O’Brien anchored “American Morning” from 2003 to 2007.

The morning shuffle, which could be announced this week, will come nearly a year after the last permanent anchor team split. John Roberts moved to Atlanta and Fox News in January. Kiran Chetry left CNN in July.

CNN is expected to break up the mornings into two two-hour shows: 5-7amET and 7am-9amET, both produced from New York. O’Brien is expected to lead the 7am while Ashleigh Banfield, who anchored on MSNBC, CourtTV and most recently has been working for ABC News, is expected to co-anchor the 5am, likely alongside Zoraida Sambolin who, according to TimeOut Chicago is joining CNN from NBC station WMAQ.

The new shows are not expected to hit the airwaves until after the New Year. O’Brien is finishing up a new “Black in America” series for November and, as she told us last month, she plans to take a few weeks off after what’s been a busy 2011. Banfield’s contract with ABC runs through the end of the year.

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