CNN on hiring jag with Bourdain, Berman

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John Berman. ()
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CNN seems to be on a hiring spree.

Following yesterday's news that the network has lured Anthony Bourdain away from the Travel Channel to host a new weekend food program, the network announced today that it has hired longtime ABC News correspondent John Berman as an anchor for its newish morning show, "Early Start." He will also report for "The Situation Room" and other programs.

“We are so fortunate to have this talented and seasoned journalist join our morning show and become a regular presence on our air throughout the day," said CNN executive vice president Ken Jautz in a statement. "John is a skilled reporter with a passion and personality that shine through, whether he’s covering the political season or his beloved Red Sox.”

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In a separate statement, CNN Worldwide executive vice president and managing editor Mark Whitaker rattled off some of Berman's reporting credentials from his 17 years at ABC News, including "the past four Presidential elections, experience as an embedded journalist in Iraq, on-site reporting during the 2006 war in Lebanon, plus his pop culture interest and acumen."

ABC News president Ben Sherwood praised Berman in a staff note announcing his departure from the network.

"John is one of the most versatile and creative storytellers in television," said Sherwood. "Inside our building when we brainstorm, there’s a reason that we often exclaim: 'That’s a John Berman story.’ He is a gifted writer who brings a singular voice and flair to everything he does."

Berman and Bourdain join CNN as pressure mounts on the network to turn around the ratings slump into which it's sunk in recent years, particularly in its weeknight primetime lineup. Poaching marquee talent from other networks is one way to try to get the momentum rolling.

In other news...

Fact-checking Roger Ailes' Ohio Universirty commencement speech, in which the Fox News chief made up some nonsense about The New York Times lying about him. [Jay Rosen]

Donald Trump vs. Wolf Blitzer. [Mediaite]

Donald Trump vs. Greta Van Susteren. [Mediaite]

News that the New Orleans Times-Picayune is reducing its frequency and slashing staff has journalists trembling at Newhouse-owned papers in New Jersey and Staten Island. [The New York Post]

Here's a take-down of Henry Blodget over his incendiary "Why Do Some People Hate Jews" post (which was retitled many times in the course of the day, including one title that read "Why are the sources of anti-Semitism?"). [WaPo/Erik Wemple]

The parents of Etan Patz are sick of "media people" staking out their Soho home. [HuffPost New York]

A Syracuse University grad student has been killed covering the conflict in Syria. [Jim Romenesko]

The "Mad Men"-ification of Joe Hagan's New York Times Company feature. [Politico/Dylan Byers]