nymag.cableOn Monday night, CNN will launch "Parker Spitzer," the network's latest 8 p.m. challenge to the higher-rated Keith Olbermann on MSNBC (and the even-higher-rated Bill O'Reilly on Fox News). But CNN wouldn't be going after Olbermann if recently ousted network president Jon Klein had his way in poaching Olbermann a few years back.
According to Gabriel Sherman's New York magazine cover story out Monday on the cable news wars, CNN seriously considered hiring the MSNBC star just as he was gaining traction speaking out nightly against the Bush administration.
"Jon and I were in very deep discussions on a regular basis for me to go over there," Olbermann told Sherman. "One of the premises was we would have put MSNBC out of business."
But not everyone was on board, including Klein's boss. CNN Worldwide President Jim Walton wasn't convinced that Olbermann was the right fit for the cable news pioneer. "I'm not gonna be the guy who's gonna turn CNN into an opinion network," Walton reportedly told executives in meetings.
Olbermann said that he "bailed out when it became apparent that the people above [Klein] were less than sanguine about this."
So Olbermann stayed put and CNN tried Campbell Brown at 8 p.m. Brown left amid poor ratings.
But she, Olbermann, Klein, new CNN hosts Kathleen Parker and Eliot Spitzer, MSNBC President Phil Griffin, and MSNBC network stars like Joe Scarborough, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell all spoke to Sherman about the ways the two cable networks are "chasing Fox."
Beyond this timely revelation about Olbermann and CNN (#1), newsy nuggets are scattered throughout the lengthy piece. Here's a brief rundown:Read More »from CNN tried to hire Keith Olbermann and 7 other revelations