Battista set to exit CNN

O'Hearn named sr. exec producer of untitled Zahn ayem show

Bobbie Battista, host of “TalkBack Live” and one of CNN’s original newscasters, is ankling the cable news net.

Battista, who joined CNN in 1981, is leaving to form an Atlanta-based consulting company with her husband, John Brimelow, who owns Atamira Prods. The new company will work with political figures, corporate executives and newscasters.

“In many ways, leaving CNN will be extremely difficult for me,” said Battista. “However, I’m ready for a change both professionally and personally and now is the appropriate time for me to change course.”

During her 20-year career with CNN, Battista has served in a variety of positions, including co-anchor of “Newsday” and “Newshour.” For seven years, she was an anchor at CNN Headline News. Battista has hosted “TalkBack Live,” the net’s afternoon talkshow, since 1998.

CNN said that while the show will continue to air, it’s unclear whether a regular host will be hired. Until that decision is made, a rotating roster of hosts — including Tavis Smiley, Miles O’Brien and Joie Chen — will host.

Separately, CNN confirmed that Katherine O’Hearn, the net’s executive VP for business news, has been tapped as the senior exec producer of the as-yet-untitled ayem show being developed for Paula Zahn.

O’Hearn, a former ABC News exec, has been executive producing CNN’s morning block since Sept. 12.

“Creating a show when you’re already on the air is much more potent and vital,” said O’Hearn. “We have to roll with the story and the changing sensibility of the country as it unfolds.”

While at CNNfn, O’Hearn oversaw the relaunch of “Lou Dobbs Moneyline.”

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