Looks like I was a few months early writing about the friendly (or maybe not so friendly) rivalry between CNBC anchors Erin Burnett and Maria Bartiromo. Noticing back in March, when I was on a massive CNBC kick, how great Burnett was hosting her afternoon show Street Signs, I wrote about how underrated Burnett was compared to her colleague Maria Bartiromo. But, now, just four months later, after being profiled on Portfolio.com (a story in which this blog was quoted), Broadcasting and Cable and in the New York Post (which dubbed her the 'Street Sweetie'), Burnett certainly is "rated" these days.
Burnett has exploded on the scene to such an extent, apparently Bartiromo is none too pleased. Watching Morning Joe tonight (as I wrote last week, I tend to watch Morning Joe, at least the third hour which I miss while driving into work, at night) host Joe Scarborough, who has Burnett on each morning around 8:20, talked about another New York Post story which details Bartiromo's displeasure with Burnett's rise.
An inside source tells Page Six the Money Honey has been fuming that curvy Burnett, in addition to her duties as anchor of "Street Signs" and co-anchor of "Squawk on the Street," is getting substantial airtime on the "Today" show, which gives her a much bigger audience. "Maria is like, hey, why isn't it me on the 'Today' show? She's very jealous of all the attention Erin is getting," our source said.
Burnett's star is certainly skyrocketing. Broadcast & Cable magazine called the petite, blue-eyed brunette CNBC's "secret weapon" in its upcoming battle with the soon-to-launch Fox Business Channel, which is owned by News Corp., The Post's parent. Adding insult to injury, the trade journal quoted CNBC senior VP Jonathan Wald as gushing about Burnett, "She's a natural. She's both energetic and solicitous, but she never appears fawning."
While there may be some feathers ruffled over at CNBC, as I'm sure there are at most networks when a new anchor is quickly rising up the charts, I think Burnett's success has as much to do with her on-air demeanor as it does her looks as the Post implies. While newspapers may like to refer to her as "Sweet Sweetie" and "curvy,", and there's no doubt Burnett is very beautiful, it is Burnett's ability to interact with her guests and co-hosts, and a certain genuineness which is at the root of her success. Though, TV Newser has a source which says Burnett may be the source of the New York Post story, and may herself be fueling the rivalry, so who knows.
Actually, now that I think about it, has anybody considered that the feud may be a ruse? With the Fox Business Channel set to enter CNBC's territory sooner than later, knowing that papers like the New York Post love stories like this, what if Burnett, Bartiromo, and some CNBC people are leaking these stories to increase their publicity and hopefully ratings going into the Fox Business Channel launch? By increasing Burnett's visibility, both on Morning Joe (where she's great and has a great chemistry with host Joe Scarborough), and the Today Show, and getting these stories about her rise to the top of the business journalism world, and putting her on the same level as the already highly respected and well-known Bartiromo, CNBC suddenly has two top anchors that are household names. Hmmm...