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The Changing Face Of Talent

(AP)
As widely reported and expected, CBS News has announced that CNN anchor Anderson Cooper will become a contributor to "60 Minutes," starting this coming fall. It's not the first time CNN and CBS have teamed up to share talent. Cooper contributed two stories to "60 Minutes" in 2004 and international correspondent Christiane Amanpour has been a contributor to the show in the past as well.

It seems to me that this type of talent-sharing arrangement makes sense for both parties. In the case of Cooper, "60 Minutes" gets a young, fresh face who is commonly described as one of the fastest-rising stars in broadcast journalism. Cooper, and by extension CNN, get the imprimatur of a respected and legendary news program. According to the announcement, Cooper will contribute up to five stories a year to "60 Minutes," and the pieces will run once each on CNN after appearing on the show. Here's how CNN President Jon Klein put it in the press release issued by CBS News today:

Anderson's work for 60 Minutes continues a unique collaboration we've had with CBS News and 60 Minutes for several years — and it's a strong, mutually beneficial one," said Klein. "CBS News gets strong journalism from one of our most respected and talented journalists, and Anderson gets much deserved exposure for his distinctive reports. We are also pleased that we have arranged, for the first time, for CNN to air Anderson's 60 Minutes reports."
All this raises a question: In an environment with ever more ways to get information, will talent begin to become something that is not hoarded or monopolized, but leveraged for maximum exposure? One is reminded of the fortunes of movie studios, who long controlled the careers of their stars before those stars earned autonomy and changed the landscape of the business. This is a very different situation, of course, and it's unlikely that we'll see a network anchor doing a star turn on a competitor's news show anytime soon. But it wasn't all that long ago a talent-sharing arrangement between any TV news organizations was unthinkable. Does the changing media environment mean cross-pollination of network talent just may become more and more common?
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