Varney split after ploy crapped out

While CNN anchor Stuart Varney was indeed annoyed over Ted Turner's "Jesus freak" remark, the longtime business anchor blew out after management rejected a "power play", a source close to the dispute said.

Varney has been wrestling with CNN management for more air time and more say over what goes on in the network's business coverage and had an offer on the table as of Tuesday night. The account runs counter to the spin that Varney, a devout Christian, quit because CNN founder and AOL vice chairman Ted Turner berated CNN employees who observed Ash Wednesday "Jesus freaks."

Varney was CNN's morning anchor for 18 years, left, then came back to to co-anchor Moneyline after Lou Dobbs left to start a dotcom. Co-anchor Willow Bay will come back from Los Angeles to New York until a new partner is selected. Varney could not be reached for comment.
- John Higgins