Victor Neufeld, the veteran producer hired by CNN two years ago to turn around “Paula Zahn Now,” is leaving the network.
CNN is developing a show for Campbell Brown for the 8 p.m. timeslot and is expected to hire an exec producer to oversee it.
The parting was described as amicable, and Neufeld was applauded at CNN’s staff meeting after prexy Jon Klein made the announcement.
Neufeld, who produced ABC’s “20/20” for 10 years and spent three years at CBS’ “Early Show,” tried several approaches with “Paula Zahn Now,” which struggled against Fox News’ “O’Reilly Factor” in the hyper-competitive 8 p.m. hour.
At first, Neufeld attempted long, magazine-style stories on health and consumer issues in a bid to counterprogram against Fox News and MSNBC. Then he experimented with devoting the show to the one hot-button story of the day before trying a hard evening newscast.
The last remake of the show, “Out in the Open,” outlasted Zahn, who left the net in August. CNN plans to continue the “Out in the Open” series, which focuses on race issues, until Brown bows her show in late February.