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Paula Ann Zahn (born February 24, 1956) is an Americanmarker newscaster, formerly the host of Paula Zahn Now on CNN. On July 24, 2007, she announced her resignation from CNN. The final broadcast of Paula Zahn Now aired August 2, 2007. In January 2009, Discovery Communications announced that Zahn had entered into a development deal for a newsmagazine series, On the Case With Paula Zahn. The series, which profiles real crime stories, premiered October 18, 2009 on the Investigation Discovery cable channel.

Early life and career

Zahn was born in Omaha, Nebraskamarker, to a schoolteacher/artist mother and an IBM sales executive father. She initially grew up in Canton, Ohiomarker, with her parents and three siblings. The family relocated to Naperville, Illinoismarker, as her father's job as required them to move frequently. She once joked that "IBM" really stood for "I've been moved". She attended Jefferson Junior High School in Naperville and later graduated from Naperville Central High Schoolmarker in 1974. She also competed in several beauty pageants, making the finals of the 1973 Miss Teenage America Pageant. Zahn continued her education at Stephens College in Columbia, Missourimarker on a cello scholarship, and received firsthand knowledge of the news business by working as an intern at WBBM-TVmarker in Chicago, Illinoismarker. She graduated in 1978 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. Zahn then spent the next 10 years working at local stations around the country, including WFAA-TVmarker in Dallas, Texasmarker, KFMB-TVmarker in San Diego, Californiamarker, KPRC-TVmarker in Houston, Texasmarker, WHDH-TVmarker (then WNEVmarker) in Boston, Massachusettsmarker, and KCBS-TVmarker in Los Angeles, Californiamarker.


In 1987, Zahn accepted an offer to work at ABC News, initially anchoring The Health Show, a weekend program on health and medical issues. Within a few months she was co-anchoring World News This Morning, the network's early morning newscast, and anchoring news segments on Good Morning America.


Due to her work on Good Morning America, in 1990 she was offered a job at CBS News, which she took, co-anchoring CBS This Morning with Harry Smith. After changes were made at the morning show in 1996 she went on to work as anchor of the Saturday edition of the CBS Evening News, as well as substituting for Dan Rather during the week, and contributing reports to 48 Hours, Public Eye with Bryant Gumbel, and CBS News Sunday Morning. While with CBS, she also helped cover the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France with Tim McCarver, and the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norwaymarker.

Fox News Channel

After nine years at CBS News, she moved to the world of cable news, joining Fox News Channel (FNC), where she anchored FOX Report, the network's nightly newscast. Months later, she helped launch her own prime time news program, The Edge with Paula Zahn. Two years later, FNC discovered she was in negotiations with CNN over a possible move there and fired her for what they alleged was a breach of her contract. A suit FNC filed against her agent was subsequently thrown out by a New York State Supreme Court judge.


Zahn began her work at CNN on September 11, 2001, joining anchor Aaron Brown in the coverage of that day's terrorist attacks. She began her scheduled morning shift the next day, and by January she launched her CNN morning news program, American Morning with Paula Zahn.

In 2003, during Iraq War, Zahn moved back to prime time, hosting a two-hour program labeled Live from the Headlines which offered continuing coverage of the war and other events. Anderson Cooper took over the first of the two hours by early summer, and by September, her show, Paula Zahn Now, premiered.

On July 24, 2007, Zahn announced that August 2, 2007 would be her last day at the network. The announcement came less than a day after CNN hired Campbell Brown, the former co-host of Weekend Today. Initially, guest hosts essentially continued Zahn's program under the title Out in the Open. This was later replaced by election campaign coverage and ultimately Brown's program, Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull.

Future plans

According to Zahn's goodbye letter penned to CNN staff, she stated "I plan to take a break between jobs and catch my breath before I take on my next role." In a New York Times interview, which was conducted right after the announcement of her resignation broke, Zahn told Jacques Steinberg that "she had no idea what she would be doing next".

On November 9, 2008, Zahn became the new host of "SundayArts" on Bloomberg TV, PBS, WLIWmarker and WNETmarker.

On January 9, 2009, Discovery Communications announced that Zahn along with producing partners Scott Weinberger and Scott Sternberg entered into a development deal to produce a news magazine series to air later in the year.

Personal life

Zahn has three children with Richard Cohen, a New York City real estate developer. In April 2007, she announced she was divorcing Cohen after 20 years of marriage.

The couple was in the news in 2004 when the nest of the well-publicized red-tailed hawk Pale Malemarker was removed from their Manhattan co-op building. Cohen, president of the co-op board, supported the removal; in 2001 Zahn had spoken approvingly of the hawk and its habit of feeding on rats and pigeons.

An accomplished cellist, Zahn played at Carnegie Hallmarker in May 1992 with the New York Pops orchestra. She is also an honorary board member of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, and has been an active advocate for issues of cancer awareness in general, and breast cancer in particular.

In May 2003, Zahn received an honorary degree from Dowling Collegemarker of Oakdale, New Yorkmarker.


  1. TVNewser
  2. Investigation Discovery's Paula Zahn Lends Support to Department of Justice's 15th Anniversary Commemoration of the Violence Against Women Act
  4. ABC News: Would America Miss Miss America?
  5. Spurned Fox News Channel takes after CNN's Paula Zahn - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
  6. TVNewser
  7. CNN transcripts
  8. Paula Zahn Will Leave CNN - New York Times
  9. CNN Newswoman Paula Zahn to Divorce., April 4, 2007
  10. No Fighting the Co-op Board, Even With Talons, The New York Times
  11. Onstage at Carnegie Hall
  12. Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation Honorary Board

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