I’m on vacation from Sept. 25 to Oct. 9. I will be back on Oct. 10. This was written before I left. If you have any breaking news, contact my colleague Melissa Ruggieri (email@example.com) or editor Tracy Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org). If not, I’ll catch everyone up the week of Oct. 10!
Erin Burnett is the latest journalist to tackle CNN’s embattled evening programming schedule starting October 3 at 7 p.m.
Her show “Outfront” takes over for “John King USA,” which moves back to 6 p.m.
She’s not an unemployed former politician. She’s not a pundit or tastemaker. She’s an actual journalist from CNBC who had aspirations to do broader news.
Burnett began her career as a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs. But she decided to try out journalism as a writer and booker on CNN’s “Moneyline.” Later, she handled CitiGroup’s media operations, then worked at Bloomberg and CNBC.
At CNBC, she co-anchored “Squawk on the Street” and hosted “Street Signs.” NBC also allowed her to do stories overseas doing stories such as the revolution in Cairo earlier this year and sub in at “The Today Show.”
CNN nabbed her late spring. She has since been prepping for this show, building her team from scratch. “It was like starting a new business,” Burnett said. She has been doing test shows in September and is itching to get on the air live.
Covering business, she said, “was a very good experience. It’s very fact based. It’s not politically oriented. I think it’s fantastic as I broaden out. It’s great to come into the political sphere, especially during an election season. I’m seen as nonpartisan. That’s really important to me.”
The seven o’clock hour, she said, is still known as a news hour, as opposed to the pundits who dominate primetime. She wasn’t specific in terms of how the hour will flow or what regular features will anchor the show. She said a lot of that hadn’t been finalized when I spoke with her in mid September.
Topics that deeply interest Burnett include the Middle East and the growing influence of China. She is also going to look at women’s issues. “I’m a female anchor in primetime. It’s a strength we can take advantage of,” she said.
She said she is excited by how CNN is formulating its evening: “I feel like in terms of the vibe and sensibility, there’s a consistency for CNN in primetime that’s invigorating for me.”
Burnett said she won’t be studying the ratings. “Once you start doing that,” she said, “it’s like death. We just want to put on a show that we’re passionate about and fulfills its mission.”
“Erin Burnett OutFront,” 7 p.m. weeknights on CNN starting Monday, Oct. 3
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