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Connie Chung Leaving ABC News to Join CNN

January 23, 2002|PAUL BROWNFIELD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Marking perhaps its highest-profile signing of news talent from a major network, CNN will announce today that Connie Chung is leaving ABC News to host a prime-time show on the cable news channel.

CNN, a unit of AOL Time Warner Inc., confirmed the deal but declined to offer specifics. However, Chung is expected to fill a lineup void created by the departure of Greta Van Susteren, who hosted the 8 p.m. show "The Point" before jumping to Fox News Channel earlier this month.

Hiring Chung represents the latest salvo in a noisy, colorful battle for on-air personalities between CNN and News Corp.'s Fox News, which has been cutting into CNN's ratings dominance. CNN has been aggressively changing the face of its news, hiring Paula Zahn to host a morning show and bringing Aaron Brown over from ABC to anchor a prime-time program.

Although Chung scored a coup by landing an exclusive "20/20" interview last summer with embattled Congressman Gary Condit, ABC hadn't found her a regular anchor slot. Chung, who joined ABC in 1997, had several months remaining on her contract but the network, a Walt Disney Co. unit, is letting her leave early.

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