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CNN TV
EDITIONS

CNN LIVE AT DAYBREAK

"HEADLINE NEWS" Re-Vamped

Aired August 6, 2001 - 07:20   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN ANCHOR: This is a big day here at the CNN Center in Atlanta. Today our sister network, "HEADLINE NEWS," gets a totally new look. And after 20 years on the air, why not?

Here is CNN's Alisha Davis to tell us about it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are changing.

ALISHA DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): "HEADLINE NEWS" is ready to make headlines.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not only are they doing a fresh look, but they are doing -- your new music. They are taking a new direction. They are going to totally relaunch.

DAVIS: We are changing everything but the name.

A team in Florida spent months building this set before driving it in pieces to the CNN Center in Atlanta.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is just pulsating news. It's just constant...

DAVIS: Teya Ryan, executive vice president of "HEADLINE NEWS" wanted to create a newscast for today's fast paced lifestyle, and the set shows it.

ANDREA THOMPSON: But of course, this circular studio isn't complete without lots of new faces, including mine, to compliment this state-of-the-art studio.

DAVIS: And you probably already know some of them -- like Andrea Thompson from "NYPD Blue." Thompson and CNN veteran Miles O'Brien are co-anchoring the 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. time slot.

Another big change -- "HEADLINE NEW" is going live nine hours a day, and that's just for starters. Our new newscast requires advanced technology. The network created special software, and seasoned employees have gone back to the classroom for some new training.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will learn to take an ordinary, plain, trailer park kind of looking newscast, turn it into the swimsuit edition.

DAVIS: Sorry, guys. The anchors won't be in bikinis. But the screen has a hot new design. It is weather maps, stock market and sports information, so time crunched viewers, this is for you.

With adrenaline pumping and excitement building, producers, writers, anchors and technical staff have been rehearsing for weeks to be ready for our big debut. So get ready.

I am Alisha Davis, and we'll all see you on the new "HEADLINE NEWS."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCEDWARDS: Well, well, well -- "HEADLINES NEWS" anchors, Andrea Thompson and Miles O'Brien are right here to tell us about the all-new "HEADLINE NEWS."

Good morning, guys.

ANDREA THOMPSON, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Good to see you.

MCEDWARDS: It's exciting you two. We just heard about all the rehearsals, saw the set. It looks great. How is it going?

THOMPSON: It is going fantastic. It is going very well. And we're not worried at all about how the show will look to the viewers. I think they are going to be very excited about our new look and the content of the show.

MCEDWARDS: That's great. Miles, what is going to look different about it?

O'BRIEN: Well, that screen is a departure for "HEADLINE NEWS." It is more like the Internet really if you think about it. And quite frankly for my tastes, it took a little while to get used to. But once you get used to it and you get used to seeing those streams of data as they come down as the anchor is talking, it actually is I find it very useful as you watch. And I think it's going to help viewers, who simply don't have the attention span we are used to anymore.

MCEDWARDS: Yes, getting younger as we hear. We want to attract the viewers who are younger. But I wonder if you are concerned at all about the possible criticism that it is too "entertainmenty," that's it's not that straight hard news headline format, Andrea?

THOMPSON: Well, anything that is new at first is going to get that. I mean, I believe that the viewers we already have are going to stick with us, and I do believe that we can draw a younger audience, and that's really all to the good. I mean, the more people who are watching news, the better (INAUDIBLE) we are.

O'BRIEN: Well, and if we were sacrificing our journalistic principles for the sake of entertainment, you would have a fair criticism. I don't think that you are mutually exclusive. And there is an inherent assumption that because it looks good, it looks slick, it somehow is not real and it's not substantive. But that's not the case.

MCEDWARDS: We are still there.

O'BRIEN: We are still CNN.

MCEDWARDS: What is the day part going to look like? Well, first I should ask you when you guys are on. Tell our viewers that. And then tell me what the day is going to look like -- Andrea.

THOMPSON: We're on from 6:00 to 9:00 at night, and...

O'BRIEN: That's Eastern.

THOMPSON: Yeah. Right.

O'BRIEN: Eastern Time.

THOMPSON: Eastern Time. And in the beginning, we are going on with a kind of a modified schedule, but we're easing our way into it. You know, we are going through growing pains here at the moment.

O'BRIEN: Actually, it will be almost all-live all day long. And what you're going to see, you're going to see a lot more faces that you've seen on "HEADLINE NEWS" over the years. You know, over the years, it's been pretty much a single-anchor format. And as they have gone to sports or entertainment or other areas, you haven't necessarily seen other people. There is more opportunities for interaction. And there is also the criticism there might be, well, this is a lot of happy talk. But quite frankly, those exchanges can be very effective ways of communicating in other ways to viewers, which I think viewers want.

MCEDWARDS: Right. And you, my friend, are you still going to be able to cover space issues for the network as well?

O'BRIEN: That was one of the things I insisted on.

MCEDWARDS: You are going to be...

O'BRIEN: I am still the space cadet.

MCEDWARDS: ... busy. Good. Well, we'll look forward...

(CROSSTALK)

MCEDWARDS: ... we'll look forward to your space reports ...

O'BRIEN: All right.

MCEDWARDS: ... here on CNN. Well, good luck to both of you.

THOMPSON: Thank you.

MCEDWARDS: It's really exciting -- appreciate you being here.

O'BRIEN: Thanks, Colleen.

THOMPSON: Thank you.

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