FRESH off hiring former "NYPD Blue" beauty-turned-sizzling-nude-model
Andrea Thompson, CNN may have found its next star - Bill Clinton.
Sources close to the 24-hour cable news network say the former president
been approached by Bob Pittman, chief operating officer of CNN parent AOL
Time Warner, about hosting a talk show on CNN.
One executive close to Pittman characterized the talks as
"informal," but insisted that the AOL Time Warner titan is
"very serious" about actually reeling Clinton in.
"It works for everybody," said the source. "CNN gets its ratings and Clinton
gets back in front of the cameras and makes some money."
One insider predicted that if Clinton lands the gig hosting a one-hour
similar to "Larry King Live," he'd command at least $15 million.
"Larry makes $7.5 million - Clinton's worth twice that any day," the exec said.
CNN has been on a "celebrity" hiring spree lately in an effort
to revitalize its sinking ratings. The news channel recently
hired the busty, blond Thompson to help boost ratings at its
sister channel, Headline News, and has brought back former
"Moneyline" anchor Lou Dobbs to help bring in more viewers.
A rep for Pittman refused to comment on his talks with Clinton.
And Clinton's lawyer insisted that any deal is still far from the table.
"The president has had a large number of offers from print
and broadcast news organizations," said Robert Barnett, who
is handling all of Clinton's post-presidential endeavors. "For
now, we are not considering or negotiating any of them."
But Barnett said he is working on landing a book deal for
Clinton - the details of which remain under wraps.
Pittman's overture to Clinton follows recent reports of a
potential merger between CNN and CBS News. The cable
network - looking to beef up its celebrity quotient - has been
looking at ways to get CBS's highest-profile anchors on
some of its own programs. The prospect of longtime CBS
anchorman Dan Rather appearing on CNN has been at the
heart of the negotiations, say sources closes to the talks.
"Imagine a night in which Clinton and Rather had shows back-to-back.
It would be a blockbuster," said one network insider.