If O’Brien’s shtick is appreciably more acerbic than conventional morning fare, her ex-boss, former CNN/U.S. president Jonathan Klein, praises “her tough questioning and lean-in demeanor, her ability to get people to open up to her, and her relentless drive to make everything as good as it possibly could be.” Klein left the once-dominant cable outlet in late 2010 amid chronically low ratings, and the management shake-ups continue to this day. But O’Brien, who dropped out of Harvard in the late ’80s for an entry-level job at Boston’s NBC station (she went back to Harvard a decade later and completed her degree), is keeping her head down and screening out the “noise.”
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