Being A High-Paid Weekend Anchor and Fill-In Just Doesn't Cut It
NBC News has been quick to publicly claim its love and affection for Campbell Brown, the co-anchor of "Weekend Today" and designated Brian Williams fill-in on "NBC Nightly News." They've done everything short of putting Xs, Os and gold stickers on her paycheck as her contract comes up for renewal next month.
Thing is, Brown has shown she has the chops to be more than the scrappy utility player off the bench. Which is why she felt rightfully felt wronged when NBC threw open its vault to snag Meredith Vieira to replace Katie Couric on "Today," when they already had Brown lying in wait, and who could have been had for a lot less.
So, now comes news from various sources, including The Washington Post, that Brown is on the verge of leaving 30 Rock and head west to the Time Warner Center, where CNN has its New York digs.
NBC could match any offer, but likely won't, as any Brown deal will likely be in the seven figures, and as John Siegenthaler and Stone Phillips found out the hard way, the network isn't inclined to pay those sums any more to anyone but those perched on the top shelf. To be sure, Brown belongs there but there just isn't any room.
So, it's likely off to CNN, which is likely bad news for Paula Zahn, whose ratings have been decent, yet still pale in comparison to "The O'Reilly Factor." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes how CNN has been patient, perhaps to a fault, nurturing Zahn's show since she jumped from Fox News Channel in 2003.
Brown's arrival could be the impetus CNN needs to do something about that, namely move "Lou Dobbs Tonight" to 8 p.m. to take on O'Reilly, leaving Brown to slip into Dobbs' slot at 6 p.m. or to get a 7 p.m. gig if CNN revamps Wolf Blitzer's "Situation Room," which now runs 4-6 p.m. and 7-8 p.m.