Jake Tapper: Jeff Zucker ‘A Big Part’ Of Why He Jumped

By Alex Weprin 

Credit: CNN

CNN’s Jake Tapper gives a series of interviews previewing his new show “The Lead,” which debuts Monday at 4 PM. Tapper tells TV Guide‘s Stephen Battaglio talks to Tapper about why he made the move, and notes that other suitors, including Fox News, were after him. Tapper cites Jeff Zucker as “a big part” of why he made the move, recalling how his hour-long special on Clint Romesha came about:

Looking back I can’t believe I did this — but I called Jeff Zucker and said, “You have to give me an hour.” He said, “Write me a script and I’ll see if it holds up.” So I wrote a script that week and on Friday handed it in to him and Saturday he e-mailed me to say, “I love it” and by Thursday it’s on. It was the first interview with Clint to air. I was watching it with my wife. When we got through the second segment she turned to me and said, “You made the right decision.” Here’s an organization that will crash an hour-long documentary and will give me an hour to do it and it’s a very serious story.

He previews the show’s format to the LA TimesJoe Flint:

“It will be about all sorts of stories that are relevant to our lives,” Tapper said. The show, he added, will include national, world and financial news as well as a political story or two. There will also be room for some sports and entertainment. Eventually he hopes to have a correspondent assigned full time to the show as well as a rotation of panelists for round-table discussions during the program’s second half-hour.

He also spoke to The Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone:

And in covering politics, his specialty, Tapper said that it’s “essential for us to be independent, for us not to be part and parcel of any particular ideology or viewpoint.”

“I think that people want that in media and when they feel that they’re getting that, it can be very important and compelling to viewers or readers or listeners,” Tapper continued. “I think independence is essential.”