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TELEVISION & RADIO

Zahn will leave CNN on Aug. 2

July 25, 2007|Matea Gold | Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Veteran anchor Paula Zahn confirmed Tuesday that she was leaving CNN, adding that for the first time in her three-decades-long career, she has not decided on her next move.

"I am going to take a deep breath and catch my breath before I decide what I want to take on next, which is a luxury I've never had," said Zahn, who worked at ABC, CBS and Fox News before joining CNN.

The 51-year-old anchor, whose tenure at CNN started six weeks early when she rushed in to help cover the terrorist attacks in 2001, characterized her departure as a mutual decision, saying she and CNN/U.S. President Jonathan Klein "both decided it was time to move on."

In an e-mail to CNN staff, Klein said he was "grateful for her dedication, professionalism and class" and praised her coverage of topics like race.

Zahn, whose last day on the air will be Aug. 2, is being replaced by former NBC anchor and correspondent Campbell Brown, who is taking over the 5 p.m. slot in November. The move comes after "Paula Zahn Now" has been getting trounced by Fox News and MSNBC.

Zahn said she was in the most competitive time slot in cable news, one that appears more welcoming to opinion programs.

"That is something we try to confront with a number of different formats, and we did the very best we could on all of them," she said. When asked if she thought Brown will fare better, Zahn said, "I wish her the best," calling it "a huge challenge."

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matea.gold@latimes.com

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