John Roberts Exiting CNN's 'American Morning' Amid Show Revamp
New network chief Ken Jautz is shaking up the format of the struggling program.
CNN confirmed Tuesday that John Roberts will leave American Morning as part of a show revamp.
In a memo to staff, recently installed network chief Ken Jautz said executive producer Jamie Kraft also is departing the morning program. Kraft, who will be replaced on an interim basis by CNN vet Jim McGinnis, has taken a position at NBC Nightly News, according to Mediaite.
Roberts, meanwhile, is in discussions with CNN about an Atlanta-based reporting position, Jautz wrote, adding that the anchor expressed a desire to relocate closer to his fiancee, CNN's Kyra Phillips.
A series of rotating anchors will try out for a permanent spot in the co-host's chair alongside Kiran Chetry, starting next week with T.J. Holmes.
The news comes three months after Jautz -- who previously ran CNN's sibling networks HLN and CNNfn -- took the network reins from former president Jonathan Klein.
The exec, charged with boosting CNN's ratings, said he wants American Morning to be "better suited to the morning and to better reflect the way people view news as they're getting going with their day."
He also said he's asked American Morning staff to make the show "more upbeat and faster-paced" and to rethink the kinds of stories covered on the program.
"We've already started in this direction -- you may have noticed fewer long packages and a broader selection of stories and some changes to the set and look of the show -- and we'll be continuing down this path," he wrote.
Read Jautz's complete memo below, via Mediaite:
I want to share some news regarding American Morning, both in terms of personnel and content of the show.
First, we are announcing today that John Roberts will be leaving the morning show by the end of the year, and we are discussing an Atlanta-based reporting role for him. John told me about his desire to be based in Atlanta so as to be near his fiance and his desire to be able to spend more time reporting in the field on major stories and on documentaries.
Also, Jamie Kraft has accepted a role outside the company. Jamie has been a strong producer for both AC360 and American Morning and a great colleague, and we wish him the very best.
Moreover, we have been making some format changes to the show to make it better suited to the morning and to better reflect the way people view news as they're getting going with their day. By that I mean I've asked for the show to be more upbeat and faster-paced and for us to look carefully at the kinds of stories we're covering during that daypart. We've already started in this direction -- you may have noticed fewer long packages and a broader selection of stories and some changes to the set and look of the show -- and we'll be continuing down this path.
I want to make sure we have the right "American Morning family," as it were and we will be looking at different people alongside Kiran on a rotating basis. Beginning next week, TJ Holmes will be the first to co-anchor with Kiran and you may see some new contributors as well.
I've asked Jim McGinnis to take over immediately as the interim EP for American Morning to implement these changes. As most of you probably know, Jim is a long time CNN veteran and has been running key shows and projects for us for many years, so AM will be in good hands with him.