Date: 31st August 2000

Kaplan: "Basically I Got Fired!"

CNN officially "realigned" Rick Kaplan out of the job of president of the news channel Wednesday. In a wordy and unwieldy statement, it announced "a realignment of CNN News Group executive responsibilities designed to better leverage our leadership strength across multiple technology platforms and position CNN for expansion and growth."

The statement went on to say: "Rick Kaplan, who has done a terrific job as president of CNN/U.S. these past three years, has informed us of his plans to leave CNN to pursue new opportunities."

However, Kaplan told USA Today, "Hey, I'm a big boy and this is the big league. Basically I got fired." In other interviews, he said that he had not heard a hint that the axe was about to fall until he entered a meeting on Tuesday and was shown a reorganization chart on which his name was conspicuously absent. Kaplan told today's (Thursday) Washington Post that he did not try to discuss the chart with anyone in the room.

"It's kind of like your girlfriend saying she doesn't like you any more. There's no sense asking why or saying, 'Yes, you do.' That decision has been made." He told the Post that his firing came as "a total surprise."

In his interview with USA Today, Kaplan also took issue with CNN chairman Tom Johnson who insisted on Wednesday that ratings had nothing to do with Kaplan's departure. "It absolutely had to do with ratings," Kaplan said.

Source: Studio Briefing