February 21, 2013 1:54pm PT by Erik Hayden
Soledad O'Brien to Leave CNN Morning Show
Soledad O'Brien is partnering with CNN to produce a series of longform programming specials, the network said Thursday. It's the latest in a string of changes made during Jeff Zucker's tenure.
The Starting Point anchor is forming a company called Starfish Media Group, which will produce three documentaries for CNN in 2014, the network said.
"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."
O'Brien called it an opportunity to "focus on the next stage of my career, owning my own work," she said. She'll be leaving the network's morning show in the spring, reported The New York Times.
The anchor was widely speculated to be out at the network after the New York Post cited an anonymous source who said that O'Brien was "likely to leave" if she didn't receive a primetime slot.
On Thursday, she addressed the speculation on The Wendy Williams Show by saying that she was "talking about my role" with CNN. "As you know, it's been reported a lot that the morning show is going a different direction," O'Brien said on the show.
"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," she added, noting that she was interested in doing documentaries.
Sources had told The Hollywood Reporter that O'Brien's future with CNN was unclear but that she would be leaving the morning beat.
A new morning program hosted by Chris Cuomo -- who last month joined the network from ABC News, where he spent time as the news anchor on Good Morning America -- and likely Erin Burnett is expected to premiere in April.
Marisa Guthrie contributed to this report.