Soledad O’Brien Launching Production Company in Non-Exclusive Deal with CNN

Soledad O’Brien will depart CNN’s morning show Starting Point and start her own production company, which will have a production and distribution agreementwith CNN, the network announced Thursday.

O’Brien’s company, called Starfish Media Group, will launch in June and produce three long-form programming specials for CNN in 2014, including new installments of O’Brien’s Black in America series. Starfish, with CNN, will also be the exclusive distributor of O’Brien’s previous documentaries.

Under the non-exclusive agreement, O’Brien will be free to provide long-form programming to other outlets, or take hosting or reporting jobs at other networks. She told The New York Timeson Thursday she will leaving Starting Point this spring.

O’Brien’s exit from CNN’s mornings had been assumed for weeks, ever since new CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker hired ABC’s Chris Cuomo to headline a new morning show, likely with current primetime host Erin Burnett.

“We greatly value Soledad’s experience, and her first-rate storytelling will continue to be an asset to CNN,” said Zucker in a statement Thursday. “Documentaries and long-form story telling are important to our brand and we’re anticipating more of what we’ve come to expect from her -- riveting content.”