Mr. Isaacson, who was previously the editorial director of Time Inc., was in CNN's Atlanta offices today. He takes over from Tom Johnson, who retired abruptly last month.
CNN's ownership of the cable news niche has been substantially eroded by the likes of MSNBC and, most recently, by News Corp.'s Fox News Network. In the wake of the completion of the AOL Time Warner merger early this year, CNN laid off about 400 staffers -- about 20% of the new company's total layoffs.
Mr. Isaacson, 49, won kudos during his 23-year career at Time Inc., most notably as managing editor of Time from 1995 through 2000, when he was widely credited with for reinventing the newsweekly in an era of ever-speedier news cycles.
In addition to the flagship network, CNN News Group encompasses CNN-branded Web sites, radio outlets and related cable properties like Headline News, CNNfn, CNN/SI, CNN en Espanol and CNN International.
Mr. Isaacson will report to Jamie Kellner, chairman of AOL Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting Systems division. No replacement for Mr. Isaacson at Time Inc. has yet been named. -- Jon Fine
Copyright July 2001, Crain Communications Inc.