CNN isn't courting Jay Leno to join the network, says Jeff Zucker. At the Television Critics Association winter press tour, the president of CNN Worldwide denied report saying that they're going to hire the veteran late-night host when he passes the baton of NBC's "Tonight Show" to Jimmy Fallon.
Saying that late-night programming's "not a priority" at this time, he admitted though, "Obviously, I have a long relationship with Jay, I think he's a terrific talent." Zucker also threw cold water on rumor suggesting that they're trying to get Ann Curry signing up, saying that the former "Today" anchor was not available and still under contract with NBC.
At the TCA event, Zucker additionally responded to Fox News Channel CEO Roger Ailes' statement that CNN's no longer focusing on news. Insisting that they remained committed to news, he explained that they planned to "broaden the definition of offerings" by including more series and documentary films on the network.
Zucker later hit back at the rival channel, saying that an upcoming Ailes biography "confirms what we've known along, which is the Republican Party is being run out of News Corp. headquarters, masquerading as a cable channel." He added that Ailes' statement which criticized CNN was made "to deflect your attention from the book this week" and "silly."
"[Ailes] doesn't do an interview in a long time and then does it the week that the book comes out?" he argued. "He's trying to deflect attention. Clearly there's probably no other network in American television that is covering news in such a substantial and serious way than CNN."