CNN drops Carville, Matalin, Erickson and executive VP Mark Whitaker

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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The direction Jeff Zucker is going to take CNN, who was hired last November to lead the struggling news network, is starting to show with a major talent shakeup Tuesday.

In addition to the hire of former ABC White House correspondent Jake Tapper last month, CNN has announced the departures of power couple James Carville and Mary Matalin, Red State editor Erick Erickson and executive vice president Mark Whitaker.

After his tenure as an adviser to former President Bill Clinton, Carville had been a staple at the network, best known for his tenure on “Crossfire,” which lasted from 2002 until its cancellation in 2005. Matalin had separate stints at the network, including “Crossfire” in 1999, but was later hired by the network again in 2009 as a political contributor.

As for Erickson, he had been a contributor at the network since 2010, but not without some push-back from liberal groups protesting his presence at CNN. Erickson offered his thoughts on his blog shortly after his departure from CNN was announced. Erickson will be taking a job with the Fox News Channel.

“Let me set the record straight in a way I could not were I still under contract because of how self-serving it would sound,” Erickson wrote. “For three years I have worked with some of the greatest people I have ever had the joy of meeting. It has been a privilege to sit in a green room and hear Paul Begala or James Carville or Donna Brazile or Hillary Rosen or David Gergen or Alex Castellanos or Ari Fleischer or Mary Matalin or Gloria Borger or so many others tell stories about their days in the White House or on the campaign trail or covering the politicians who’ve governed the country these last few decades.”

Whitaker’s time as executive vice president at CNN lasted roughly two years. He had come from NBC News, where he had been the network’s Washington bureau chief from 2008-2011.

The network’s morning show “Starting Point” also looks to be headed for a change with Chris Cuomo departing ABC for CNN, making the current host, Soledad O’Brien’s future unclear.

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