O’Brien told the New York Times that she is returning to the role she had before she became the host of “Starting Point” in 2011: a roving documentary reporter. The twist this time is that she is forming her own production company, Starfish Media, and will not be tied exclusively to CNN; she will be able to shop programs to other networks and air them on the Web as well.
O’Brien’s future as a regular face on the network was immediately put into doubt when CNN announced that Chris Cuomo would be its new morning host. O’Brien’s “Starting Point” had generated plenty of headlines, but was perpetually low-rated.
On Wednesday, Page Six reported that she was headed out the door completely. This proved to be false.
“We had conversations in general about my role at CNN,” O’Brien told the Times. “What we ended up with was, they wanted to partner with me, and I wanted to partner with them.”
On Thursday, O’Brien appeared on “The Wendy Williams Show,” where she said she was looking forward to “doing stuff I like to do, which is hard-hitting journalism.”
CNN later issued a press release saying it was excited to be “entering into a production and distribution agreement” with O’Brien, who was described as a “critically acclaimed journalist.” The release mentioned many of the programs O’Brien had made for CNN, but did not reference her current morning show at all.