CNN has announced that Jake Tapper's afternoon show, set to debut in March, has a name, "The Lead with Jake Tapper." They also unveiled a video promo for the program.
Tapper talked to Variety about his new show on Monday, as well as about his most recent "Jake Tapper Reports" on Army Staff Sgt. Clint Romesha. The story is after the jump.
"If you picture a great front page of a newspaper, you see six or seven stories that you really want to read, from international news, politics, business, sports and pop culture," Tapper said in a phone interview. "That is basically the goal of the show, to have a very broad swath of stories of interest to the viewers."
More specific details are coming together, but CNN did announce that the series would debut in March in the 4 p.m. timeslot, with Federico Quadrani, who has been with MSNBC since 2009, as exec producer.
Tapper joined CNN just after the presidential inauguration, after nearly 10 years at ABC News, where he had been senior White House correspondent since the 2008 election. New CNN chief Jeff Zucker was reportedly instrumental in closing the deal to bring Tapper to the network, marking one of the first additions as Zucker looks to boost the net's ratings.
"There is an interest in making the show different from what comes before it and what comes after it," Tapper said.
Tapper added that Quadrani "has built a reputation for finding great American stories and creating compelling content." Although he met with a number of "really superb candidates," Tapper said that when he sat down with Quadrani, "There obviously was a meeting of the minds."
Quadrani is exec producer of "Jansing & Co." and previously was exec producer of "The Daily Rundown With Chuck Todd." Before that, he was producer for NBC's "Today" from 2003-09, supervising all aspects of various news segments like "Where in the World is Matt Lauer?" and "Today at the Vatican." He was a writer at ABC's "Good Morning America" from 1998-2003 and contributed to the coverage of the 9/11 attacks, which won a Peabody.
On Monday, Tapper anchored CNN's coverage of President Obama's awarding of the Medal of Honor to former U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Clint Romesha, who was the subject of the first "Jake Tapper Reports" on Thursday. Tapper got to know Romesha very well as he researched his book "The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor," about the remote Combat Outpost Keating in Afghanistan, which underwent a brutal attack by the Taliban in 2009 in which U.S. forces were greatly outnumbered. Ultimately, Romesha and others were able to push the Taliban back and regain control.
Original plans were to interview Romesha for a news segment from his hometown of Minot, N.D., but Tapper said that the interview with him was "so powerful" that he called Zucker to ask for an hour. "He said, 'Write a script, and I'll take a look.'" When Tapper did that, Zucker said he "loved it" and ordered the special.
"One of the great benefits of working at a 24 news network is you can do that sort of thing," Tapper said. "It's not competing with an entertainment show; you are competing with other news shows."
The ability to do documentaries was not the primary reason he left ABC, though. Rather, he said, it was the desire to anchor a show.