Though the fourth-place finisher on Survivor: Australian Outback may have worn out her welcome on The View, Elisabeth Hasselbeck apparently won't have any trouble finding a job. A source tells The New York Post's Page Six today that CNN and Jeff Zucker are "definitely" knocking. "We hear CNN honcho Jeff Zucker is interested in seeing her join his cable channel," reports the Page Six source, which is always a qualifying phrase and could be some competitor, since the source also says other unnamed networks are interested in the conservative lightning rod. Last we checked in on the ongoing saga of the daytime star America loves to hate-watch, the plan was for Hasselbeck to leave The View on her own terms, probably sometime in the summer or fall — and that might time nicely with CNN's turnaround.
While the image of Elisabeth Hasselbeck reporting from a floating tin of human squalor might excite some, that might not be what Zucker has in mind in his own ongoing saga of firing a bunch of people and bringing in a bunch of new talent as CNN's new boss. Just this week journalist Roland Martin confirmed he was leaving, and tweeted that "new boss wants his own peeps." And though it hasn't happened yet, Page Six has been also telling us that Zucker, who rose from morning-show producer to young star executive when he turned around the Today show and turned Katie Couric into a mega-star, so desperately wants a softer, cushier morning show, perhaps with Erin Burnett anchoring it. Any softer morning slate will contrast with a desire to do hard-hitting journalism from Soledad O'Brien, whose departure from Starting Point was announced late last month; her documentaries for the network will air in 2014, so maybe Zucker still has a few months to get his morning lineup in place. A little fire and ice from Hasselbeck might be to Burnett was, say, Hoda is to Savannah Guthrie. Or maybe Burnett just wants too much money.
"I'm fairly confident that I'm not going to be cooking salmon and doing fashion shows on CNN," O'Brien told The New York Times Magazine back in December, pre-axe. Looking back, maybe O'Brien was onto something. Maybe salmon and fashion shows is what Zucker wants — he softened the Today show in the late '90s with outdoor concerts and a soft, often opinionated version of the news... along with ratings gold. And Hasselbeck is strong on the opinionated-salmon circuit: America fell in love with her in the Outback on Survivor, under the tutelage of Mark Burnett. Maybe Zucker will be better than Barbara Walters? Or maybe Hasselbeck will get into shouting matches with rumored morning-show co-host Chris Cuomo, which should be a fun wake-up call.