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 AJR  The Beat

From AJR,   March 1999  issue

Cable Converts   

Harry Smith and Paula Zahn leave CBS.


By Lori Robertson
Lori Robertson (robertson.lori@gmail.com), a former AJR managing editor, is a senior contributing writer for the magazine.      


Two former CBS ``This Morning" hosts decide to give cable a go. Harry Smith , who anchored the a.m. show for eight years and served as a correspondent for the ``CBS Evening News with Dan Rather," becomes the primary host of A&E Network's ``Biography" series. And Paula Zahn , most recently anchor of the Saturday ``CBS Evening News" and morning co-host for six years, joins the Fox News Channel . ``Harry Smith is like getting a cleanup hitter in the lineup," says Michael Cascio , A&E's senior vice president of programming. ``He knows America better than just about anybody because he's been out covering people for CBS." Smith, who stayed at CBS for 13 years, did some work for A&E's sister station, The History Channel , a few years ago for fun. The draw, he says, was the growth he saw at the network and the added documentary jobs he'll do. ``For me to leave CBS," Smith says, ``it wasn't just for `Biography.' Between A&E and The History Channel, there's just a world of opportunity here." At Fox, Zahn anchors the signature one-hour nightly newscast, ``The Fox Report," and another hour of programming during the week. She fills a void left by Catherine Crier and Jon Scott , who now host a Fox newsmagazine.