Inside Move: CNN checking out Friedman

Producer worked for 'Early Show,' 'Today Show'

TV news maverick Steve Friedman — offline for more than a year now — is among those being considered to exec produce Paula Zahn’s fledgling primetime show on CNN.

Gig would mark Friedman’s first serious foray into primetime. An ayem master, Friedman was executive producer of NBC’s “Today Show” for nearly a decade and came up with the concept of a streetside news studio.

Just over a year ago, Friedman left his gig as exec producer of CBS’ “The Early Show,” not long after anchor Bryant Gumbel announced his exit from the lagging show. Friedman and Gumbel had arrived at the breakfast-cast together with the purpose of giving the show a new face and even a new name.

CNN confirmed that it is in the process of meeting with several people regarding the top slot on Zahn’s show, including Friedman. The cable net stressed that no final decision has been made.

Friedman could not be reached for comment.

There is plenty of buzz these about Zahn’s own move to primetime after a successful run as anchor of CNN’s “American Morning.” Zahn’s news-cast, “Live From the Headlines,” runs from 7-9 p.m. ET, an unusually long window for a primetime newscast.

Show, now in its third week, is floundering in the ratings. Some attribute the lackluster performance to Zahn herself; others blame a lack of vision on CNN’s part, i.e., no format and no executive producer.

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