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CNN, Seeing Stars, Snags Connie Chung

By® Staff

Originally Posted

"We're committed to spend what it takes to do good journalism," says CNN honcho Walter Isaacson.

Then, trying to keep a straight face, he goes and hires Connie Chung.

Mrs. Maury Povich, at ABC since 1997, couldn't muscle out Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer, and grew tired of waiting for them to die. She also has worked at NBC and CBS, prompting news analyst Andrew Tyndall to weigh in: "When you get to [your fourth network], I think of a person whose reputation exceeds their contributions."

But Connie is making a minor star's wages now. Her $2 million plus a year doesn't come close to Katie Couric's $13 million or Larry King's new contract, variously reported at $6.5 to $14 million. Even so, she is expected to deliver, hosting her own show opposite Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, the hottest guy on cable.

CNN's starry lineup now includes some promotable figures -- King, Ka-Chung, Paula Zahn of zipper fame, Keith Olbermann, Aaron Brown, and Lou Dobbs.

Chung, 55, best known for one successful interview with Congressman-suspect Gary Condit, actually has some journalism history, although the folks at CNN seem to have forgotten to mention it: Three Emmies. Watergate coverage. One of only two women to have served as a co-anchor on an evening network newscast.

In the current climate of television "news," it is promotable personalities that get the bucks. If they actually can read the news, it's a bonus.

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