Wolf Blitzer to be Replaced by 'Younger, Hipper Host': CNN Source

Image: Wolf Blitzer to be Replaced by 'Younger, Hipper Host': CNN Source

Monday, 03 Jun 2013 02:43 PM

By Michael Mullins

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Wolf Blitzer's days at CNN appear to be numbered with rumors spreading that the network's top executive is looking to replace him with a younger, more physically attractive host, a source tells the New York Daily News.

Host of "The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer," which airs Monday through Saturday, the 65-year-old veteran journalist started with the Cable News Network in 1990 as a military affairs reporter.

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According to the source, CNN's new boss Jeff Zucker — the former NBC Universal chief executive who arrived earlier this year amid plummeting ratings — is responsible for the recent infusion of younger, attractive correspondents such as Chris Cuomo and Jake Tapper.

"Wolf is going to be gradually phased out and replaced with a younger, hipper host," the CNN insider told the Daily News. "The decision has been made that people want to look at beautiful people, and although Wolf is no beast, they’re thinking younger."

"Of course they want journalists with great credentials, but they also want reporters with a face, and body, for TV — not radio," adds the CNN source. "Anderson Cooper is the network's poster child for a reason: He is super-cute and charming."

In January, it was reported by Britain's Daily Mail that former ABC News anchor Jake Tapper, 44, was brought onboard to gradually take the place of the more senior CNN chief national correspondent John King, 49. Tapper is currently CNN's Chief Washington correspondent.

"Everyone is a little worried," the CNN insider added. "You know the on-air talent is scared when you see Piers Morgan eating a salad at lunch. If he is spotted at the gym, then you know the most trusted name in news will also be the prettiest."

In recent months, CNN has seen a substantial amount of correspondent turnover since Zucker's arrival.

Among the most notable recent departures were the Democratic strategist and political commentator James Carville and his wife Mary Matalin, a Republican political consultant and conservative journalist.

Additionally, conservative commentator Bill Bennett and CNN's Executive Vice President and Managing Editor Mark Whitaker also left upon Zucker's arrival.

CNN liberal political analyst Roland Martin announced his departure from the network in March.

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Following his exit, Martin, who is African-American, lashed out against CNN executives, who he described as being "largely white male" and claiming they were uncomfortable with "strong, confident minorities" in prominent positions, the Daily News reported.

Since Zucker's arrival, the network has seen a ratings boom, with daytime viewership in May up 61 percent and primetime viewership up 70 percent from the same time period last year.

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