Former NBCer High to e.p. new Soledad O'Brien show

As reported earlier this week, CNN’s “American Morning” is going the way of the dodo, with Soledad O’Brien set to anchor an as-yet untitled new show from 7:00 ayem to 9 ET, while Ashleigh Banfield and Zoraida Sambolin will anchor the net from 5 to 7.

CNN made it official today, announcing O’Brien’s return to mornings — she’ll continue to serve as special correspondent on the net, working on long-form stories.

Both programs will be produced by Shannon High, who joins as e.p. from NBC Peacock Productions. Before that post, she worked at MSNBC as veep of daytime program development and helped develop “The Dylan Ratigan Show.”

O’Brien has worked on many of the net’s highest-profile stories since she arrived from NBC in 2003, including the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and meltdown, the destruction caused by hurricane Katrina, and ongoing conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.

Banfield, too, has covered international news; most recently, she was at ABC, where she reported for “Good Morning America,” “20/20″ and “Nightline.”

The net continues to focus on international coverage as it expands its reach laterally across the world. CNN’s managing editor Mark Whitaker touted the org’s “international reach” — which is larger than other U.S. news cablers — and observed that “(t)his is an exciting time to be relaunching our morning show, with the morning television audience more up for grabs than it has been in years.”

Whitaker will oversee development on both O’Brien’s show.

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