Brown a hot ‘Topic’ for CNBC

Former 'Vanity Fair' editor's show goes weekly

Mag maven Tina Brown has fallen for television, with CNBC announcing Tuesday it is taking her quarterly talkshow weekly.

Beginning in January, “Topic A with Tina Brown” will air Sunday at 8 p.m. ET. It will be rebroadcast on the financial cable news net at 11 p.m. ET.

Brown — former editor of Vanity Fair, the New Yorker and Talk — told Daily Variety that she and CNBC began the show on a quarterly basis to see if she could make the oft-fraught transition from print to TV. She said she now wants to take the next step and make “Topic A” a destination show.

“That really does mean you have to be very focused and very clear about what you are trying to get from an interview,” Brown said. “I’m trying to learn to be more of a blowhard.”

Announcement also reflected CNBC’s attempt to develop original primetime programming.

“Once a quarter, Tina has been able to assemble a unique array of intelligent, insightful guests and spark discussions and debates that last long after her program ends,” CNBC prexy-CEO Pamela Thomas-Graham said.

Brown’s final quarterly show airs tonightat 10 p.m. ET. Guest lineup includes CBS chairman Leslie Moonves — who’ll be talking about the Eye net’s upcoming 75th anniversary — N.Y. state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, attorney David Boies and Democratic consultant James Carville, co-star of HBO’s new reality-drama hybrid “K Street.”

Drawing from her high-profile, 25-year print career, Brown has been able to lure big names. Guests on her first three shows included actor-producer George Clooney and Mouse House topper Michael Eisner.

In September, CNN foreign correspondent Christiane Amanpour created plenty of buzz when she told Brown that CNN and other news nets seemed to be “muzzled” by the Bush administration.

Brown’s first three shows drew average ratings for a CNBC program. News net is known for having a smaller, upscale aud.

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