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CNN promotes Ali Velshi to anchor; Heidi Collins is leaving the network

January 7, 2010 |  9:56 am

Seeking to bolster its daytime lineup, CNN is making another anchor switch to kick off the new year. The network is giving chief business correspondent Ali Velshi his own two-hour daily show from 10 a.m. to noon PST, a time slot currently anchored by Kyra Phillips, who will take over the 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. PST hours.

Heidi Collins, who had been anchoring “CNN Newsroom” during that time, is leaving the network.

"After seven years of dedicated service to CNN, Heidi Collins will be leaving the network on January 15," a network spokeswoman said. "We thank Heidi for her contributions to the network and wish her the best."

Velshi, a veteran financial reporter, already hosts “Your $$$$$,” a weekend business round-table that airs on the network, as well as “The Ali Velshi Show” on CNN Radio. 

His new show, debuting Jan. 18, will be more broadly focused and not solely about the day’s business headlines. But Velshi said he plans to apply the same approach he’s taken to financial news: breaking down complicated issues so the audience can better grasp their real-life implications.

“It sometimes means avoiding just the politics about how something is getting done and really just tackling it,” said Velshi, who is moving to CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta. He will continue to serve as chief business correspondent.

A native of Kenya who was raised in Toronto, Velshi got his start in broadcasting in Canada, then joined CNN in 2001 as an anchor on CNNfn, the now-defunct financial channel.

Velshi’s new show will launch the same day that anchor Rick Sanchez gets his own expanded two-hour show in the afternoon. “Rick’s List,” which will be built in part around the feeds Sanchez gets on his Twitter account, will bump “The Situation Room” down from three hours to two. The truncated “Situation Room” will lead into a new 4 p.m. PST show anchored by veteran political reporter John King, who takes Lou Dobbs’ former time slot some time in the coming weeks.

-- Matea Gold