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Posts Tagged ‘Soledad O’Brien’

Al Jazeera America Taps Joie Chen As Anchor Of ‘America Tonight’

Al Jazeera America has named Joie Chen the anchor of its primetime newsmagazine, “America Tonight.” Chen is a CNN and CBS News veteran, and most recently worked as a media consultant in Washington DC. She left CBS News in 2008, as we reported at the time.

Before joining CBS Chen spent more than a decade at CNN and CNN International.

“I’m thrilled to create world-class journalism with some of the best in the business,” said Chen in a statement. “America Tonight will bring together the powerful and diverse voices of Al Jazeera America and stand out from other networks with its fearless, unbiased reporting,” she added.

Among the contributors to “America Tonight” will be Soledad O’Brien, as well as a number of correspondents AJAM recently added. It will air every weeknight at 9 PM, making it one of AJAM’s signature shows.

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David Shuster To Join Al Jazeera America

Former MSNBC anchor David Shuster will be joining Al Jazeera as an anchor, a network source confirms to TVNewser. Shuster will likely anchor in the evenings, although a timeslot has not been confirmed. Shuster’s hire was first noted by Michael Calderone of The Huffington Post.

Shuster has been a regular on radio in Washington DC, and appeared frequently on Current TV after leaving MSNBC in 2010. MSNBC suspended Shuster in April of 2010 when it learned that he taped a pilot for CNN. The pilot never went anywhere, but MSNBC still felt compelled to lock him out until his contract with the network was completed.

At AJAM, Shuster is joining a bevy of TV news veterans, including former CNN anchors Ali Velshi and Soledad O’Brien and former HLN anchor Richelle Carey.

AJAM still does not have a chief executive or a head of programming, two roles that it should probably fill before it launches in a month’s time.

Richelle Carey Joining Al Jazeera America

TVNewser hears that former HLN anchor Richelle Carey is joining Al Jazeera America as an anchor, based in AJAM’s New York City headquarters. It isn’t entirely clear what program Carey will be anchoring for AJAM.

Carey left HLN in June after seven years with the cable channel. Before HLN she was an anchor at KMOV St Louis.

Carey will join a number of former colleagues from CNN and HLN at the channel, which launches next month, including Ali Velshi, Soledad O’Brien and Kim Bondy.

Al Jazeera America may be launching next month, but it is still waiting to announce who its chief executive will be. Whoever it is will have a programming slate more or less filled out already.

Soledad O’Brien: No Jodi Arias-Style Stories For Al Jazeera America

Former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien talks to The Wrap about her new deal with Al Jazeera America, as well as her production deals with HBO and CNN. As she was in our interview last month, O’Brien seems giddy about being her own boss, but she also sees the partnership with AJAM as a chance to cover stories that her CNN and HBO deals may not work for:

I covered Katrina, I’ve covered the tsunamis, all of them, the Haiti earthquake … you get to a certain point in your career where you say I want to now cover what I want to cover. So for one of our first Al Jazeera pieces for “America Tonight,” we’ll go back to Haiti – I go back there every year – and we’ll take a look at what’s working and where the money’s gone?

There’s a lot to do there, so I’ll go in and do a couple pieces on, for all the Americans who gave a lot of money, what’s happening in Haiti? And then we’re going to do a great piece on the variation of the quality of public education across America. That’s an amazing story.

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Al Jazeera America Launching August 20

Al Jazeera America now has a launch date, as it continues to staff up. AJAM will launch Tuesday, August 20, according to Ali Velshi on Twitter. AJAM will be taking over the channel space currently occupied by Current TV in some 40 million U.S. homes.

Earlier this month, Al Jazeera’s executive in charge of AJAM, Ehab Al Shihabi, said they expected to launch the week of August 24.

Al Jazeera America has still not announced who its chief executive will be, although we hear that a decision has been made on who the final candidate is. AJAM is believed to be hiring for two roles: a chief executive and a chief programmer. The chief executive would be responsible for day-to-day oversight of the channel, with the chief programmer overseeing content, with a dotted line to Al Jazeera headquarters in Doha.

Despite the fact that it does not have a chief executive or chief programmer, AJAM has been staffing up under Al Shihabi, adding former CNNers Velshi and Soledad O’Brien, and announcing a U.S.-centric version of “The Stream.”

 

Soledad O’Brien Named Special Correspondent For Al Jazeera America

As TVNewser first reported was in the works last week, Al Jazeera America has signed former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien to a development deal, and will feature her as a “special correspondent” for its primetime newsmagazine, “America Tonight.”

O’Brien’s company, Starfish Media Group, will produce longform documentary specials for AJAM when the channel launches in August, with O’Brien appearing on-air for shorter-form reports on AJAM’s newsmagazine.

“I look forward to beginning a relationship with Al Jazeera America, which has made a commitment to producing quality programming and pursuing underreported stories,” O’Brien said in a statement. “I am thrilled to be back in business with Kim Bondy, who is a long-time friend and among the finest journalists in the broadcast news business today. With this agreement, Starfish continues its expansion as a cross-platform media company dedicated to compelling storytelling and enterprise journalism.”

The deal with AJAM gives O’Brien three development deals since she signed off from CNN’s “Starting Point” at the end of March. She has a “first-look” deal with CNN (ncluding for the “In America” series) and HBO (which includes scripted fare), and appears on-air for HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.”

AJAM continues to staff up with talent even as it lacks a chief executive to run the day-to-day operations of the channel. We hear that a decision on who that person may be is imminent, and could happen as soon as this week.

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Soledad O’Brien To Make ‘Real Sports’ Debut Tuesday

On Tuesday, HBO will debut the new season of ‘Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.”

It will also mark the show’s debut of former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien. O’Brien first report for “Real Sports” is called “The Fight Club,” and profiles an Iraq war veteran who organized a club to help veterans with PTSD alleviate their issues through mixed martial arts.

O’Brien also explained what she is looking for in her stories in a “Real Sports” video interview.

WATCH:

‘New Day’ Review: CNN’s New Morning Family Grills, Overdone

The debut of CNN’s “New Day” this morning can be summed up with my favorite Oscar Wilde quote: “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

As promised by senior executive producer Jim Murphy, the hyper-promoted 6-to-9amET broadcast – sorry, Soledad O’Brien — had tons o’ news and, at times, a “comfy and conversational tone,” but both were presented in wretched excess.

With gray-suited Chris Cuomo sandwiched between Christmas co-anchors Kate Bolduan (green dress) and Michaela Pereira (red dress), segments ran at a dizzying pace. That’s heavy voltage before breakfast.

Moreover, CNN dragged out practically its whole roster of correspondents for live talk backs. By my count, there were eight in the first eight packages alone. It was overkill, even for network boss Jeff Zucker.

The lead story was about a new CNN poll that showed Pres. Obama’s plummeting popularity. Cuomo chatted up John King. One story later, “New Day” went to that well again, this time with Dana Bash as Cuomo’s partner. Let’s hear it for moderation.

Lest we forget, HLN’s Nancy Grace popped up at about 8:20 to rant about two missing-child cases. She did not disappoint. In her usual high dudgeon, she acted like a “Saturday Night Live” parody of herself. I hope she never ups her meds.

As for the “comfy and conversational” aspect, that, too, was overdone. While Bolduan and Pereira gabbed like girlfriends around the glass table, the uber-intense Cuomo seemed uneasy and out of place. Face it, the guy can make a lost-kitten story sound like a mass murder.

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Soledad O’Brien, The Brand

For former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien, HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” is something of a reunion. A former low level staffer at NBC News, O’Brien recalls producing segments with then “Today” anchor Gumbel.

“I was terrified,” O’Brien tells TVNewser. “[Gumbel] was one of the smartest and best interviewers in the business, and it was kind of an overwhelming prospect to be in his space.”

Now O’Brien will be on-air contributing to Gumbel’s HBO program, widely regarded as one of the best sports journalism programs on television. O’Brien will join a correspondent team that includes Mary Carillo, Bernard Goldberg and Andrea Kramer.

“I will do what I do, interviews, and to really tell stories, more about the human struggle to overcome something, to get through something,” O’Brien says of her “Real Sports” role. “It is longer form, but for me it is often under-told stories about the human condition.”

Her deal with HBO also includes a “first look” clause, giving the pay cabler first dibs on scripted programming and “long-form programming concepts” from O’Brien’s production company Starfish Media Group. HBO is known for taking real stories and turning them into dramatic films, most recently with the critically-acclaimed Liberace biopic “Behind the Candelabra,” and also for “Game Change.”
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Soledad O’Brien Joins HBO’s ‘Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel’

Former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien is joining the team at HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” HBO Sports says.

In addition, HBO has signed a “first look” deal with O’Brien’s production company Starfish Media Group, giving it the first crack at scripted projects and “long form programming concepts” that they develop.

O’Brien has a similar first look deal with CNN for doc series, such as the “In America” series. The deal with HBO actually keeps O’Brien in the Turner Broadcasting family, as HBO and CNN are sister networks under the Turner Broadcasting umbrella, which is owned by Time Warner. HBO docs and series are occasionally replayed on CNN.

“Soledad is a perfect fit for ‘Real Sports,’” said HBO Sports president Ken Hershman in a statement. “She’s an extraordinary interviewer and storyteller, and we’re thrilled to be able to add her to a franchise where the emphasis is on finding and presenting thought-provoking stories in the diverse and ever-fascinating world of sports.”

More information after the jump.
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