Maria Bartiromo‘s got a new network, an earlier timeslot and greater perspective about the business of business news. As her 20 years at CNBC wound down, she was frustrated about the limited time given to guest segments. “I’d say, let’s give this person 30 mintues, let’s give this person 20 minutes.” “No” was the short answer. Shorter is better. “And I always had this pressure to have five people on at once,” she adds. This morning, the third edition of her new show, “Opening Bell” Bartiromo interviewed former AIG Chairman Hank Greenberg for most of the 10am hour.
After the show, TVNewser sat down with Bartiromo in her 17th floor office in the News Corp. building — just down the hall from Bill O’Reilly, Shepard Smith and other Fox News notables. We began by asking why now, after 20 years at CNBC, this time was the right time for a move across the street:
Maria Bartiromo: I had done four five-year deals at CNBC and every time I did a new deal I re-signed early. So I never spoke to anybody, even though people would speculate. As I was approaching 20 years, I said to myself ‘you know, this time I probably should just see’ … see if there’s an opportunity to do something where I can give more perspective and longer interviews. So I did. And my boss was great, [CNBC president] Mark [Hoffman] came to me in January of ’13 and my contract wasn’t up until November and they made me a great offer and were as elegant as could be. And I still, from my own heart, I had to say if I go another 5 years doing this, all these guests and so little time, what happens to my brand? I talk to CEOs all the time and they say, “Maria, that was ridiculous, I gave you my time and you gave me 5 minutes.” I wanted so much to say, “I know, you’re right” and I couldn’t do that because I’m not going to show the dirty laundry. And in that period [Fox News Chairman] Roger Ailes comes to me and gives me this fantastic offer, not only two hours daily, but a weekend program on the Fox News Channel.
TVNewser: And what are you going to be doing with the Sunday show [debuting late March at 10amET]?
Bartiromo: Here’s the vision: I feel like every Sunday you see all these politicos and they’re talking about all these issues of the day and it’s all talking points. And so you put on ‘Meet the Press’ you put on Bob Schieffer or whatever and it’s all the talking points. When it first became apparent that I could have a Sunday show on the Fox News Channel, I started looking at Sunday, and I realized all these politicos, no one’s ever connecting the dots, it’s about the economy, it’s about business, it’s about creating jobs, it’s about growth. I want to get business people as part of the conversation on a Sunday and I feel like it’s so genius. I really think this is a real void in the marketplace.
TVNewser: And so you think there’s an audience craving that on a Sunday morning?