Greenfield exits ABC to join CNN

NEW YORK — Jeff Greenfield is jumping the ABC News ship and climbing aboard with CNN, according to a deal inked Thursday.

The three-time Emmy Award-winning political/media analyst, who has been with ABC since 1983, is the latest on the list of ABC defectors to join CNN, which includes Linda Patillo and Judd Rose — and CNN/USA prexy Rick Kaplan himself.

As of Feb. 1, Greenfield told Daily Variety, he will be hosting, or co-hosting, a new weekly strip magazine show based on Time Inc. magazines, along with acting as the “designated sub” when Larry King wants a night off. That’s just for starters, he added.

“Look, the possibilities at CNN are endless,” Greenfield said. “There’s an election coming up, and I’ve been known to dabble in political reporting. I might do short pieces for ‘Inside Politics,’ or develop a long-form show.”

Clearly, CNN’s viewership is a mere fraction of ABC’s, but Greenfield said, “At a place like CNN, you are not tied to the minute-by-minute ratings flips that keep the network news divisions jumping. At the end of the day, I just couldn’t say no to being able to try this kind of freedom.”

In announcing the deal, Kaplan (who worked with Greenfield at ABC for 14 years) said Greenfield’s “insights and analytical abilities will complement the network’s already excellent standards of news gathering.”

While at ABC News, Greenfield appeared regularly on “Nightline,” and “World News Sunday,” and served up plenty of political reporting during many an election season. He has also covered media stories ranging from the growth of cable TV to the transition to digital. Prior to ABC, Greenfield spent time at CBS News and was a staffer for former Gotham Mayor John Lindsay.

The new deal will allow Greenfield to continue writing his regular column for Time magazine, and he’ll also begin writing for other mags in the Time Inc. family.

“I might even try my hand at sports again,” he suggested. “It’s really an amazing opportunity to do a little of everything I love to do.”

Greenfield will leave ABC at the end of December and said he’ll use his time between jobs to “try desperately” to finish his second novel — an as-yet-untitled satire of big media.

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