The New York Observer’s Zachary Roth interviews CNN’s Rick Sanchez…
One Thursday in July, CNN’s Rick Sanchez received an e-mail from network president Jonathan Klein.
“I need a hard-throwing righty out of the bullpen,” to fill in for Paula Zahn as anchor for a week in the crucial 8 p.m. weekday time slot, Mr. Klein wrote, according to Mr. Sanchez. “Can you be in New York by Monday?”
That flight isn’t more than a couple of hours, but the distance between his gig as a weekend daytime anchor for CNN, based in Atlanta, was a world away. This was the big leagues: If only for a week, the energetic, 49-year-old Cuban immigrant would go head-to-head against Fox’s fed-up conservative, Bill O’Reilly, and MSNBC’s liberal sophisticate, Keith Olbermann.
He threw a few suits in a bag, jumped on a plane and covered for Ms. Zahn for a week. Things went well. So well, in fact, that the following week, after CNN announced Ms. Zahn was leaving the network, Mr. Klein asked: “Can you do another week?”
That week, too, went well.
“So then he says, ‘Can you do a month?’” Mr. Sanchez remembered, in an interview at his new office in the Time Warner Center. Next, he remembered, it was, “Can you go through Labor Day?” Then: “Can you go through November?” And now, said Mr. Sanchez, “We’re going through February,” when the network’s new star hire, Campbell Brown, will step into the slot.