Soledad O’Brien is leaving CNN’s morning show Starting Point, but she isn’t straying too far from the network.
The host announced that she is forming her own media company, but will be partnering with CNN to produce a series of longform programming. Her new venture, Starfish Media Group, will produce three documentaries for CNN in 2014, The Hollywood Reporter noted.
“So, we’re talking about what ways I can contribute to CNN, doing the stuff that I like to do, which is hard-hitting journalism,” Soledad O’Brien told Wendy Williams on Thursday.
Soledad O’Brien’s shift is part of a host of changes since Jeffrey Zucker took over as head the network. CNN has attracted ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols as part of its plans to expand coverage beyond politics and news, and Zucker has promised other changes as well.
Soledad O’Brien’s departure is not a surprise to media insiders. She was reportedly planning to leave CNN if she didn’t receive a primetime slot, the New York Post reported.
Zucker said O’Brien will still be an important contributor to the network.
“We greatly value Soledad’s experience, and her first-rate storytelling will continue to be an asset to CNN,” said Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide. “Documentaries and longform storytelling are important to our brand, and we’re anticipating more of what we’ve come to expect from her — riveting content.”
With Soledad O’Brien departing from Starting Point, CNN’s morning programming is set to go in a new direction. A new program hosted by ABC News recruit Chris Cuomo is expected to debut in April, with Erin Burnett reportedly on board as well.