First on TVNewser: Headline News has placed Jane Velez Mitchell in the 7pmET slot being left vacant by Glenn Beck. Velez Mitchell is being brought on as interim anchor for the hour. How interim, is not known.
The program to be called Issues with Jane Velez Mitchell premieres live tonight at 7pmET. Beck’s final Headline News show aired last night, hours after the announcement he was joining Fox News Channel.
Executive VP of CNN Worldwide Ken Jautz calls Velez Mitchell “a known and proven quantity to the Headline News audience.” Jautz tells TVNewser, “The fact that she’s Nancy’s [Grace] principal sub host will help us with improved audience flow between the shows. That’s been one of our weaknesses.”
Jautz met with the Beck staff today, all of whom will be kept on to produce the Velez Mitchell hour. Conway Cliff continues on as executive producer. Says Jautz, “the show will be similarly formatted to the Glenn Beck show which is a point-of-view discussion on topical events. It’s not our intention to be a crime show or solely political show but a topical event-driven show.”
Other changes are coming to Headline News prime time as well. CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight will re-air at 9pmET. “We emphasize that Lou’s show is news and opinion and we think he will do very, very well there,” Jautz says.
As for Beck’s sudden, but not-so-sudden departure…
“We have known that Glenn has been in negotiations with ourselves and various entities for some time,” Jautz says. “We’ve always assumed that this would happen, and we knew we could only go so far with our negotiations, and that it might not work out. So we had contingency plans in place. The Jane and Lou plan was decided some time ago. And we have research estimates on it, so it’s not just gut.”
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