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Fox sues as CNN signs Zahn

The war over Paula Zahn heated up Thursday, as Fox News filed a lawsuit against Zahn's agents the same day CNN introduced her as the host of a new morning program.

Fox News filed suit with the Supreme Court of New York, alleging Zahn's reps N.S. Bienstock illegally brokered a deal with CNN while she was still under contract. Her contract with Fox News ran through February 2002. Zahn signed a new multi-year deal with CNN Thursday, one day after she was fired from Fox News.

"Twenty-four hours ago I didn't know we'd be talking about exactly what we were doing on the show," Zahn said Thursday at a CNN press conference in New York, adding that she thought it would be six months before she joined CNN.

Some reports have said CNN is paying Zahn $2 million a year, but CNN executives would not comment on the financial details.

Zahn, who anchored The Edge with Paula Zahn nightly on Fox News and previously co-hosted CBS' morning show, said she was disappointed by Fox's reaction, but defended her actions, saying "Everything that I have done has been totally consistent with my contractual obligations to Fox."

Zahn will host a morning show currently in development from a new street-level studio in the Time-Life building in New York City.

CNN News chief Walter Isaacson said the show will benefit from Zahn's early arrival: "One of the great things about having Paula do this with us is we get to sit down for a few months now and say how can we do something interesting." - Allison Romano