CNN says good 'Morning' to new duo
Hoping to boost ratings in a tough time period, CNN officials Wednesday dumped Miles O'Brien and Soledad O'Brien as hosts of "American Morning" and named John Roberts and Kiran Chetry as their replacements.
Former CBS correspondent Roberts and former Fox News anchor Chetry will take over the morning show April 16.
"Why change?" CNN president Jon Klein said Wednesday. "All of our shows from 9 a.m. to midnight (EDT) are up in double digits, all except for `American Morning' ... That show is growing, but not as much as it should."
"American Morning" is up 3 percent with CNN's target audience of 25- to 54-year-old viewers in the year's first quarter, and off 6 percent for that period in total viewers. FNC's "Fox & Friends" draws nearly twice as many viewers.
Klein said the anchor change is the next step in a continuing process of tinkering with "American Morning" that includes new contributors, pacing and a focus on news. "Anchor chemistry is an important factor," he said.
Both O'Briens, who are not related, will remain with CNN in other roles.
Changing anchors, of course, comes with the challenge of getting more viewers watching while not offending those already keen on the current team.
"There's always that risk," Klein said, adding it was "way outweighed by the potential upside."