Lynne Russell leaving CNN

Veteran CNN Headline News anchor Lynne Russell has resigned after 18 years at the cable network, Reuters reports.

Russell cited personal reasons for her imminent departure that are unrelated to CNN's recent hiring of former NYPD Blue Andrea Thompson. The Thomspon hiring has been a sore point with some CNN staffers. Russell was one of the first anchors hired at CNN Headline News after it launched (as CNN2) in 1982.

Russell developed a cult following over the years, authoring How to Win Friends, Kick Ass and Influence People. She once appeared on Late Night With Conan O'Brien wearing a little black dress with a gun and holster strapped to her thigh.

Russell's last day is Friday. No word on who will fill her spot.