In an exclusive interview, tennis legend Billie Jean King told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour she “thrilled” to represent the United States at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. “I'm very proud to go as an athlete, and as a gay woman,” she said. “I'm thrilled.”
Asked by Amanpour if there will be any protests, King said “Maybe we should wave rainbow flags or something, I don’t know,” she said, drawing an analogy to the Black Power salute – a raised fist – given by two American athletes at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. She added “As long as we’re not being malicious, we can show our feelings.”
President Obama named the former tennis champion, who is gay, to the American delegation at the Olympics earlier this week. The President himself will not attend the Games – the first time in more than a decade that an American president has not done so.
King said if the anti-gay law was the reason for the President’s non-attendance he should “go ahead and say it,” but added – with tongue in cheek – that he was “sending a ‘King’ instead of a president.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a press conference Thursday, knocked down criticism over the law as “Western values.”
CNN Special Report: Extraordinary People An hour special with Anderson Cooper and Robin Meade looking back on who was truly extraordinary in 2013. LaDonna Cob, a teacher assistant from Oklahoma who risked her life during a deadly tornado. Carlos Arredondo, an immigrant from Costa Rica who helped save a life after terrorists bombed the Boston Marathon. A New Yorker, Sergio Consuegra stepped into someone else’s fight with a group of New York bikers. Zach Sobiach, a teenager battling cancer who sang his way into our hearts with a poignant song about his death. And Antoniette Tuff, a bookkeeper at a suburban Atlanta school whose unshakable faith and the power of love turned a school shooting around.
CNN Special Report: Extraordinary People airs tonight at 10pm ET on CNN
U.S. Major General Michael Lehnert (retired), first commander of the Guantanamo Bay Prison, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that he thinks the terrorists were "successful" in changing America, and he wants to see the facility closed. “The objective of terrorism is to change the nature of their adversary,” he said. “And I would opine that they've been successful. They've changed the way we've acted, they've caused us to walk away from the Constitution, and they've caused us to act as if we were afraid.” He added “We need to move forward; we need to say that the Constitution doesn't stop at our water's edge and that we need to close Guantanamo.”
Lehnert was there in the very first days of the Guantanamo Bay Prison; originally, he said, he thought it would be open for only a short time. “But as I was down there, by about the second month, I realized that we were going to be in for the long haul,” he said. “I also began to recognize that many of the individuals that had been sent to me probably never should have been sent there in the first place.” FULL POST
Live from Times Square Beginning at 9 p.m. ET
Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin will co-host CNN’s coverage of New Year’s Eve celebrations on Tuesday, Dec. 31, from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. (ET). Back for their 7th consecutive year, Cooper and Griffin will ring in the New Year live from NYC’s Time Square for CNN’s “New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin.”
About the upcoming show, Cooper said “Wait...what? CNN hired her again? For real?” Kathy Griffin was humble as always, “I’m so thrilled Anderson Cooper has agreed to be my assistant once again as I single-handedly host New Year's Eve on CNN for my global adoring audience.”
CNN is creating another destination for extraordinary acquired documentary films in a new brand, “CNN Films Presents,” it was announced today.
CNN Films Presents will be a sister brand to “CNN Films,” which was launched in October 2012, and is the network’s brand for acquired or commissioned documentary features, following their exhibitions in theaters. All CNN Films Presents broadcasts will be acquired films. And, the new brand will also be distinguished from CNN Films in that its documentaries will have broadcast windows that are not first-on-television premieres.
The first CNN Films Presents broadcast will be the French nature documentary, MARCH OF THE PENGUINS, produced by Ilann Girard, directed by Luc Jacquet, and stirringly narrated by Academy award-winning actor, Morgan Freeman. Released in 2005, MARCH OF THE PENGUINS received the 2006 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the 2005 Best Documentary award from the Broadcast Film Critics Association. The film will air on CNN/U.S., beginning on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014. FULL POST
CNN International today announced that First Bank is the exclusive sponsor of a new weekly segment series, ‘African Start-Up’.
First Bank’s integrated campaign runs across TV and digital, including sponsorship of a weekly sponsored segment in ‘Global Exchange’; weekly commercial vignettes; sponsorship of a bi-monthly 30 minute show and sponsorship of the ‘African Start-Up’ microsite, www.cnn.com/africanstartup FULL POST
HLN announces the following new hires: Keith Brown, SVP, Programming; Kari Kim, VP, Program Development; Adrienne Lopez, Director, Special Projects
HLN executive vice president and general manager Albie Hecht today announced the hiring of the following key programming executives and their new roles: Keith Brown, senior vice president, programming; Kari Kim, vice president, program development; and Adrienne Lopez, director, special projects. All three newly appointed executives will be based in New York.
“Marrying the talented trio of Keith, Kari and Adrienne to the dynamic HLN team creates a powerful force that will no doubt catapult the network’s brand evolution and invigorate programming,” said Hecht. FULL POST