CNN, ABC Veteran David Doss in Talks with Al Jazeera America (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety

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Veteran news producer David Doss is in talks for a senior editorial position with Al Jazeera America.

Doss is not a contender for the cabler’s top job of president-CEO. That post is still up for grabs, with leading candidates said to be former CNN prexy Jon Klein, former  NBC News prexy Steve Capus and former CNN managing editor Mark Whitaker.

A rep for Al Jazeera America declined to comment on Doss, and a source emphasized that the hire was not yet a done deal. But if it does come to fruition, Doss would bring a long resume and experience in producing primetime newsmags and live newscasts news to the startup.

From 2006 to September 2011, Doss was a senior executive producer at CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” which he created. Prior to CNN, Doss was an exec producer for ABC News’ “Primetime with Diane Sawyer” for five years and an executive producer for “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw” from 1994 to 2000.

Al Jazeera America has been ramping up its staff in preparation for its launch in late August, with plans to hire as many as 800 employees across a network of 12 bureaus across the U.S. particularly the key cities of New York, where it will have its headquarters, Washington D.C., L.A. and Miami.

In its effort to establish a beachhead in U.S. TV, parent org Al Jazeera shelled out $500 million in January to buy Current TV, the cabler that will be transformed into Al Jazeera America. Although there is no word yet on a CEO for Al Jazeera America, sources say the company is sticking with its plan to launch next month, though the date has not been announced.

Al Jazeera America recently unveiled its first four news anchors: Jonathan Betz, Richelle Carey, Morgan Fogarty and Del Walters who will present live news throughout the day, based out of its Gotham studio headquarters. On Monday, Al Jazeera America announced the hire of former CBS News international correspondent Sheila MacVicar as a contributor to its daily primetime current affairs magazine program “America Tonight.” Soledad O’Brien, a former anchor at CNN, has also inked a deal to become a special correspondent to “America Tonight” as well as to produce documentary specials for the network.

Al Jazeera has been making the rounds of cable, satellite and telco operators to close new distribution deals. The company has said it expects to have carriage in nearly 50 million pay TV homes at launch.


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