NEW YORK — CNN has tapped entertainment producer-writer James Andrew Miller to give shape and structure to Paula Zahn’s newscast, soon to be titled “American Evening.”
Miller, named the show’s senior exec producer, will join the news net immediately, said Teya Ryan, exec producer and general manager of CNN in the U.S.
CNN named Zahn anchor of the evening news show in April, before deciding upon a format or bringing in an exec producer. CNN continues to lag rival Fox News Channel, whose ratings are on a steep increase across all programming.
“That is very high on the agenda, that is, to figure out exactly what ‘American Evening’ will be,” Miller said. “It’s not a question of what others are doing. It is a question of creating an exciting and provocative news program.”
With Miller onboard, Ryan said she expects “American Evening” to be officially launched this summer. Show, now called “Live From the Headlines,” will continue to be based out of New York.
Miller, who most recently worked as a consultant to ABC’s “Good Morning America,” co-authored, with TV critic Tom Shales, the 2002 bestseller “Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live.”
His various entertainment posts have included CBS News producer, vice president at Norman Lear’s ACT III Communications, consultant to Brandon Tartikoff on his “Last Call” series, writer for Dick Wolf Prods. exec producer on Wolfe’s “D.C.” and a brief stint as exec veep in charge of programming for USA Networks.
“Jim Miller is very well rounded and very well read, and I think you’d be hard-pressed to trip him up on one Tom Friedman, one Paul Krugman or one Maureen Dowd column. He’s a newsie. And I think that is a real plus for this industry,” said Shelly Ross, exec producer of “Good Morning America.”