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O’Brien will greet ‘Morning’ at CNN

Journo takes over Zahn's spot on show

CNN announced Thursday it has tapped NBC News weekend ayem host Soledad O’Brien to co-anchor the cable net’s weekday morning show.

When O’Brien arrives at CNN’s “American Morning” in July, she’ll take the seat left empty when CNN’s Paula Zahn was named anchor of a new evening newscast.

O’Brien will co-anchor the three-hour show with CNN’s Bill Hemmer. It is not her first foray into cable news; she worked for MSNBC in the late 1990s.

“We think ‘American Morning’ viewers will find her smart, engaging and a perfect fit to work with Bill, Jack Cafferty and the rest of the ‘American Morning’ team,” said CNN/U.S. exec veep and general manager Teya Ryan.

O’Brien co-hosted NBC’s “Weekend Today” with David Bloom, who died during the Iraq war as he was embedded with U.S. troops. She joined the show in 1999.

NBC said it hopes to have both anchor seats permanently filled by the end of the summer.

“We appreciate all of Soledad’s contributions to NBC News. This is a great opportunity for her, and we wish her the best,” NBC News prexy Neal Shapiro said.

O’Brien’s salary at CNN is expected to be about $1 million.