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Soledad O’Brien Leaving Morning Show, Staying at CNN

Anchor says she will make documentaries for CNN and others

Soledad O’Brien will leave her CNN morning show but remain with the network, she told The New York Times.

O’Brien, who has led CNN documentaries including her “Black in America” specials, told the newspaper Thursday that she will form a production company and make documentaries available to CNN on a nonexclusive basis. She will also produce them for other networks and online.

The news comes two days after the New York Post reported that O'Brien would leave CNN.

“There’s so many great stories to tell,” O’Brien told the Times. She is working on two new installments of the “Black in America” franchise for CNN.

The new arrangement provides a soft landing for O'Brien, whose show is expected to be replaced with a new one led by Chris Cuomo and Erin Burnett.

The network has not yet confirmed, however, that Burnett will move from her 7 p.m. show to the mornings.

O'Brien told the Times that after Jeff Zucker took over CNN, “we had conversations in general about my role at CNN.”

“What we ended up with was, they wanted to partner with me, and I wanted to partner with them,” she said.

O'Brien's exit begins the countdown for CNN's announcement of a new morning show. Combining Burnett and Cuomo, who Zucker hired away from ABC, could allow him to try to recreate his successful run on "Today."

The show, which paired Matt Lauer and Katie Couric during Zucker's leadership, went on to win every week for 16 years, until ABC's "Good Morning America" finally broke its streak last year.

Morning news is harder to crack now than it was then, thanks to Fox News' "Fox and Friends" and MSNBC's "Morning Joe." CNN is seeking a way to gain ground on its cable news rivals, and the morning landscape Zucker knows is an obvious place to start.