CNN Readies Jesse Jackson Talk Show : Television: The whole thing will be scrubbed if Jackson decides to take a run at the presidency.


Cable News Network is planning to produce a weekly talk show hosted by the Rev. Jesse Jackson--provided that Jackson does not decide to run for President. In an unusual move, CNN is beginning to hire staff for the show, which is due to premiere this fall, although Jackson does not intend to announce his decision about running for President in 1992 until sometime this fall.

According to sources at the network, CNN recently signed an agreement in principle with Jackson to host the new show, “Both Sides of Jesse Jackson,” and will air it Saturday nights. Like “Larry King Live” and other CNN talk shows, the Jackson show will be produced by CNN producers, at the network’s Washington studios. Although the deal has not been completed or announced, CNN executives recently have been meeting with Jackson and his representatives to find a format for the show and gear up for production.

“We are going forward with our plans for the show--although they’re clearly contingent on Rev. Jackson’s decision about running for President,” Tom Johnson, CNN president, said Monday. “If he decides to run, we won’t go with the show. “


The network, Johnson said, would not want to have someone who is an active political candidate hosting a talk show. Jackson--who sought the ’84 and ’88 Democratic presidential nominations--declined to comment on either his CNN show or his presidential plans. But his press secretary, Unnia Pettus, said: “He will make the decision about running for President and announce it in early fall.”

Jackson previously hosted his own syndicated public-affairs program, “The Jesse Jackson Show,” produced by entertainer Quincy Jones’ production company.