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CNN duo in for Dobbs

'Business Center' crunches in on 'Moneyline'

NEW YORK — Stuart Varney and Willow Bay will replace Lou Dobbs as co-anchors of CNN’s “Moneyline News Hour.”

Varney and Bay will take the reins of the “Moneyline News Hour” beginning July 19. Dobbs quit CNN after 19 years in early June to build Space.com, a Web site devoted to outer space.

Varney, a CNN financial anchor from 1980 to 1998, will return to the Turner net after a one-year hiatus from TV news.

In addition to co-anchoring “Moneyline,” Bay will retain her duties as co-anchor for the CNN primetime magazines “CNN & Fortune” and “CNN & Entertainment Weekly.”

Dobbs built “Moneyline” into one of CNN’s most profitable and influential programs. Because of “Moneyline’s” wealthy viewership, CNN charges about $6,000 per 30-second spot. That price towers over the roughly $1,500 CNBC charges for its financial news show, “Business Center.”

CNBC capitalizes

In an attempt to capitalize on Dobbs’ departure, CNBC increased “Business Center” to a full hour to compete head to head with “Moneyline” from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. CNBC also replaced “Business Center” anchors Maria Bartiromo and Tyler Mathisen with Ron Insana and Sue Herera.

Last week, Insana and Herera’s first week competing with “Moneyline,” the CNBC anchors made inroads on CNN’s viewership.

The new “Business Center” increased the CNBC hour from a 0.3 (209,000 homes) to a 0.4 rating (238,000), according to Nielsen Media Research. That was good enough for a ratings tie with “Moneyline,” which decreased from a 0.5 (379,000 homes) to a 0.4 (293,000) for the week.

Steve Korn, vice chairman and chief operating officer, CNN News Group, said the new “Moneyline” will contain more financial reports in it’s first hour than “Moneyline” had under Dobbs, who was also president of CNN Financial News.

Prior to joining CNN in 1998, Bay was co-anchor of ABC News’ “Good Morning America/Sunday” for four years and a correspondent for ABC’s “World News Saturday” and “World News Sunday.”

In his 18 years at CNN, Varney has anchored shows such as “Your Money,” “Business Morning” and “Business Day.”

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