ABC’s Chung hops to CNN for own show

Skein will air opposite Fox's 'O'Reilly'

NEW YORK — Connie Chung is jumping from ABC News to CNN, where she’ll anchor a new one-hour primetime show.

The hire is good news for the cable news net, which earlier this month lost Greta Van Susteren to archrival Fox News. Chung’s new show will air in Van Susteren’s former 8 p.m. ET timeslot — opposite Fox News’ top-rated “The O’Reilly Report.”

Deal also reps part of an escalating talent war between CNN and Fox News. CNN had been looking to boost its roster of stars, who include Paula Zahn and Aaron Brown. CNN poached Zahn from Fox News last summer and hired Brown from ABC News. In addition to Van Susteren, Fox has hired CNN business anchor Terry Keenan and CNN foreign correspondent Steve Harrigan. The net also recently hired Geraldo Rivera from CNBC.

Industry insiders say CNN approached Chung, who jumped at the opportunity to have her own show. ABC News agreed to release the “20/20” co-anchor from her contract, which still had a year remaining.

“Connie has been a valued member of the ABC News family,” said ABC News prexy David Westin. “This is a very important opportunity for her to have her own program. We wish her nothing but great success and happiness in her new job.”

Chung enjoyed a comeback of sorts with her exclusive interview of California Rep. Gary Condit last summer, but while at ABC News, she saw her star eclipsed by Diane Sawyer and Barbara Walters. Her career also has had its share of setbacks. After co-anchoring the “CBS Evening News With Dan Rather” for two years, Chung was fired by the Eye net in 1995.

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