One Thursday in July, CNN's Rick Sanchez received an e-mail from network president Jonathan Klein.
"I need a hard-throwing righty out of the bullpen," to fill in for Paula Zahn as anchor for a week in the crucial 8 p.m. weekday time slot, Mr. Klein wrote, according to Mr. Sanchez. "Can you be in New York by Monday?"
That flight isn't more than a couple of hours, but the distance between his gig as a weekend daytime anchor for CNN, based in Atlanta, was a world away. This was the big leagues: If only for a week, the energetic, 49-year-old Cuban immigrant would go head-to-head against Fox's fed-up conservative, Bill O'Reilly, and MSNBC's liberal sophisticate, Keith Olbermann.
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