Miles O’Brien To Leave CNN. Network Shutters Science, Space and Tech Unit

By Chris Ariens 

Breaking: TVNewser has learned 16-year veteran CNN correspondent and anchor Miles O’Brien will soon be leaving CNN.

O’Brien’s departure comes as the network dismantles its science, space, environment and technology unit in Atlanta. That includes O’Brien as well as six producers. O’Brien has been CNN’s chief technology and environment correspondent since being replaced as anchor of American Morning in April 2007.

Before, during and after anchoring, O’Brien worked the NASA beat for CNN. He covered John Glenn’s return to space in 1998. In 1999 he led CNN’s coverage of the failed Mars Orbiter and Polar Lander missions. And in February 2003, O’Brien led coverage of the shuttle Columbia tragedy.

CNN spokesperson Christa Robinson tells TVNewser the unit is being shuttered as the network integrates science, environment and technology reporting into the general editorial structure. “Now that the bulk of our environmental coverage is offered through the Planet in Peril franchise, which is part of the AC360 program, there is no need for a separate unit,” Robinson says.

O’Brien joined CNN in April 1992. His departure date is not yet set.

> More: Statements from Miles O’Brien and from CNN on O’Brien’s work, after the jump…

CNN Statement: “Miles has made many contributions to CNN over the years. He is a terrific reporter and we wish him all the best.”

Miles O’Brien Statement: “In television news, a nearly 17-year stint at one shop is more than just a good run – it is an epoch. I can honestly say I have loved every minute of my time at CNN (well maybe not the 2:45 AM alarm bell when I was anchoring American Morning). It has been my privilege to be surrounded by the most talented, dedicated and creative people in the business. Collaborating with them – sharing many great adventures – is what I will miss the most. But I leave with great memories and great friendships intact. I see a lot of exciting opportunities – and I look forward to exploring what is on the horizon – which, after all, has been my mission at CNN all these years.”