This was posted on Monday, February 6, 2017 by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Former Atlantan Carol Costello tearfully said goodbye Friday to CNN, replaced by John Berman and Poppy Harlow from 9 to 11 a.m.. Kate Boulduan is going solo at 11 a.m. with Berman’s move.
Costello watched clips of her from year’s past with goodbyes from many of her colleagues such as Brooke Baldwin, Wolf Blitzer, Don Lemon, and Anderson Cooper. Even her husband Timothy Snyder shows up on video, thrilled they’ll be in the same city together, something that only has happened three out of their 13 years together.
Costello isn’t leaving the Turner/Time Warner family. Rather, she’s moving to sister station HLN for an as-yet unnamed show in Los Angeles. In an interview, she didn’t say what time her show will air or when it will start.
“I do know what the show will be,” she said in an interview last week in her just emptied Manhattan apartment. “This was very important to me. I’m from the Midwest – Ohio. I care about what happens to my people. I do think the networks tend to think about the coasts more. HLN wants to do a very newsy show that will focus more on the Midwest and Southeast, more on the people level and how politics will affect them. Will the president bring jobs to the Rust Belt. Will they help people in the ways they expected? We won’t fixate on one topic.”
Costello actually started at HLN when it was still CNN Headline News back in 2001 for six months working with Chuck Roberts in Atlanta. She then moved over to CNN’s “Daybreak,” then “American Morning” as a news reader and correspondent. In 2008, she moved to D.C. in the “Situation Room” with Wolf Blitzer, the only time she was actually close enough to her husband to live with him while he worked in Baltimore.
But after he moved to Connecticut, she returned to Atlanta to anchor mid-mornings in 2012. For two years, she stayed in Atlanta before going to New York for the first time in 2014. Her husband was still in Baltimore at the time so that was manageable. Then last year, he landed a college presidency job at Loyola-Marymount in Los Angeles.
“I couldn’t handle the coast to coast,” Costello said last week in an interview. “We did it for a year. That was enough. I was just exhausted.”
For now, she said she has to focus on hiring a staff of writers and producers and do it quickly. She said the Los Angeles bureau is growing. Her former CNN colleague Michaela Pereira is already out there, airing a show that airs daily from 11 to 1 p.m. EST.
When I mentioned how HLN seemed to change strategy multiple times in recent years including an ill-fated effort to focus on Millennials, she admitted it was painful to watch at times. But she feels they have the right people in place and are “serious about winning. I do a very successful show now. I would not have gone to another network even in the family if I didn’t want to win.”
She notes that HLN – in a way that touches upon its Headline News roots – “whips through stuff. We won’t waste your time, at least on my show. We won’t carry hearings. We’ll monitor them.”
She hopes to have more “real” voices, fewer analysts and commentators.
Costello, aware of how divisive the nation has become, is able to block out the nasty comments on social media and focus on the good ones. “The people who have wonderful things to say don’t post on social media as often,” she said.
Last Friday, she wasted no time to see her husband. Right after her shift was over, she went straight to the airport.
And even while she’s off air before her HLN show starts, “I will write for CNN.com. I will work for CNN digital. I will do some reporting. They’ll be plenty to do.”
She enjoyed her brief time in New York. “I’ll miss the energy,” she said. “It makes you want to work day and night. L.A. will be much more relaxed. That will freak me out for awhile.”