NEW YORK – CNN has replaced Bill Hemmer (search) with Miles O'Brien (search) as anchor of its morning show, reconfigured its afternoon schedule and hired two new executives to run Anderson Cooper's and Paula Zahn's shows.
O'Brien, the network's veteran space correspondent, will team with Soledad O'Brien (search) on "American Morning," which airs 7 to 10 a.m. EDT.
"I wanted to improve the chemistry in the morning," said Jonathan Klein, president of CNN, adding Miles O'Brien would be better at "sharing the spotlight" with his co-anchor.
Hemmer, the so-called "chad lad" for his high-profile reporting from Florida in the aftermath of the disputed election had been with CNN since 1995 and with "American Morning" since 2002.
In a statement, Hemmer said he's enjoyed working at CNN but "at this point in my career, it is time for me to move forward with a new set of challenges."
The Washington Post reported that Hemmer had been offered the chance to cover the White House for CNN. But he's apparently settled in New York and wants to stay. Neither CNN nor Hemmer's representatives would discuss their talks on Monday.
Two CNN staples — "Crossfire" and "Inside Politics" — went off the air on Friday. The network will now air "The Situation Room," a news show anchored by Wolf Blitzer, from 3 to 6 p.m.
Blitzer will keep viewers up to date on breaking stories involving politics, national security and international affairs during that time, Klein said.
Former "Crossfire" hosts Paul Begala, James Carville and Robert Novak will stay on as analysts, Klein said. Judy Woodruff (search), former host of "Inside Politics," had previously announced she was leaving the network.
Jack Cafferty, the curmudgeonly commentator on "American Morning," will move to the afternoon show.
Finally, Klein replaced the executive producers behind Cooper's and Zahn's shows, which have struggled in the ratings behind Fox News Channel's dominant 7 to 9 p.m. hours.
He's turned to two veteran broadcast network hands: Victor Neufeld, formerly chief of ABC's newsmagazines and currently working at CBS's "The Early Show," will run Zahn's show. David Doss, former chief executive at NBC's "Nightly News" and ABC's "Primetime Thursday," will run Cooper's show.
"We brought in two of the all-time great prime-time producers in Victor and David," Klein said. "It's a show of our support for Paula and Anderson. We believe the best years of these shows are ahead of them."