Hemmer Considers Departure From CNN

Bill Hemmer, with
Bill Hemmer, with "American Morning" co-host Soledad O'Brien, has been told the network wants to shift him to White House correspondent. (Eccles - AP)
By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Bill Hemmer, co-anchor of CNN's "American Morning," may leave the cable news network after being told that executives want to shift him to the post of senior White House correspondent.

"It is no secret that other outlets have expressed interest in me," Hemmer, whose contract expires in the fall, said last night. "CNN has offered me a position at the White House, a good position by many estimations, but I am weighing my options. . . . What does CNN have for me to continue doing there?"

Hemmer, 40, a 10-year CNN veteran who shares morning anchor duties with Soledad O'Brien, did not sound happy that the Web site FTVLive reported last night that he is being replaced on "American Morning."

"So CNN leaked word; that's the tactic they've chosen," he said.

Hemmer, who for the moment is barred from negotiating with other networks, said he is weighing the White House post -- recently vacated by John King -- against his enjoyment of living in New York. But a person close to him said Hemmer was concerned that moving from anchor to correspondent would be seen as a demotion.

If Hemmer leaves the network, it would be the latest in a series of personnel shake-ups that include Tucker Carlson's defection to MSNBC. Veteran anchor Judy Woodruff said recently she is leaving CNN but that her decision was not related to the network's decision that she would no longer host "Inside Politics." CNN President Jonathan Klein has announced plans to cancel "Inside Politics" and "Crossfire" and replace them with a three-hour afternoon show anchored by Wolf Blitzer.

Hemmer said he must decide whether to continue in some capacity at CNN or whether there is "another venue that is more worthwhile" for his career.

Howard Kurtz hosts CNN's weekly media program.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company