Brooke Baldwin kicked off 2018 by anchoring CNN’s raucous late-night New Year’s Eve coverage with colleague Don Lemon. Now she’s getting set, she hopes, to make even more of a mark in the year to come.
Baldwin on Wednesday will launch “American Woman,” a digital-video series that is the latest of the Time Warner-owned cable-news outlet’s efforts to draw its TV viewers to offerings available via desktop or mobile. The eight-part series profiles women who have shattered ceilings in different industries. Through interviews, Baldwin explores their lives, careers, personal setbacks and all the hurdles these women overcame to accomplish their dreams.
The anchor, whose weekday coverage between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. has drawn the notice of CNN viewers and “Saturday Night Live,” says she has been working on the project for months. During coverage of the 2016 election, “I had never seen and heard so many female voices come together,” she says. “So now what? What happens to all of those voices? Where are they going to go? I wanted to make sure somebody was listening.” After covering President Trump’s inauguration, Baldwin says she pitched her bosses at CNN on a project that would tell women’s stories. “This needs to be the Year of the Woman for me,” she says she told executives.
Over the course of the series, which will be promoted during her weekday anchor slot, Baldwin will interview everyone from musician Pat Benatar to actress Issa Rae. Other profiles will look at Diane von Furstenberg, Ava Duvarney, Sheryl Crow, Betty White, Tracy Reese and Ashley Graham.
Baldwin says she often had to find and book the guests herself, using her own contacts or by nagging publicists. She met Benatar at an event and was able to get her phone number. Crow had appeared on her show in the past. Much of the work was done, Baldwin says, in her spare time.
CNN has in recent months hired a bevy of digital journalists to boost its online presence, launching daily newsletters and podcasts. Through digital journalism, CNN has expanded its coverage of politics, the media and technology, among other topics. In June of last year, Dana Bash, the network’s chief political correspondent, launched a digital-video series focused on female politicians who broke barriers on the way to Washington, D.C.
This isn’t the first time Baldwin has used CNN’s digital might to breathe life into some of her extracurricular interests. In 2015, she sent a dispatch about a climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro for CNN’s digital outlets, and added a few selfies taken with the aid of a GoPro.
She sounds eager to tackle other topics, as time allows. “I needed to fill my soul,” says Baldwin. “And this project ended up being exactly that for me this year.”