Tuesday, March 15, 2016

South Africa's Eleni Giokos steps up as fill-in anchor for the week on Quest Means Business in CNN International's New York studios.

Eleni Giokos stepped up as fill-in anchor on Monday night for the week on CNN International's Quest Means Business in a move that could indicate a looming shift in her on-air status as a South African correspondent at the Turner Broadcasting news channel.

Despite mistakes and delivery problems, Eleni Giokos - formerly a financial correspondent and anchor at CNBC Africa, eNCA and Bloomberg Television - made it through her first edition behind the transparent desk in CNN's New York studios.

She is filling in for Richard Quest until Friday who is on assignment for his monthly CNN Business Traveller segment, trying to fly around the world in 8 days using only low-cost airlines. The two first met in May 2013 when Richard Quest visited eNCA (DStv 403) in Hyde Park, Johannesburg.

Eleni Giokos joined CNN International (DStv 401) in October 2015 as Africa business correspondent after a short stint at Bloomberg Television.

With Eleni Giokos sitting in as anchor for Quest Means Business at the Time Warner Center it means that viewers this week can see two South Africans anchoring programming blocks on CNN International, the other being Robyn Curnow as the face of International Desk.

The move also signals that Eleni Giokos' status at the news channel could possibly once again be changing soon.

She was flown all the way to New York to specifically anchor the show which has a well-stocked existing reserve bench of accomplished substitutes in the form of Maggie Lake, Poppy Harlow and London-based anchors.

Before fellow South African Robyn Curnow in mid-2014 was announced as a new CNN International anchor and moved from the Johannesburg bureau to Atlanta, she also flew to the CNN headquarters for several meetings, screen tests and then mentoring and training before settling in behind the International Desk.

It's very likely that Eleni Giokos' anchoring stint this week at 23:00 South African time on CNN International is a try-out for a bigger on-screen role as CNN management gets a first-hand look and sense of her capabilities.

The Monday night episode was marred by ongoing reading difficulties and mistakes throughout, as well as lots of "uhm's" and a staccato presentation - most likely due to uneven teleprompter scrolling that's not yet attuned to Eleni Giokos' delivery style, as well as too many voices through the earpiece to give attention to whilst reading.

A live interview with a rambling Maria Ramos as Barclays Africa CEO was a disaster, at least two guests had visible earpiece problems, and an esoteric Anbang Starwood Hotels report was extremely difficult to follow.

Her Monday night debut in the faux library loft that ran a few minutes over time at the end wasn't Eleni Giokos at her self-assured best although her presentation will very likely improve in the way she excelled at CNBC Africa and especially eNCA where she brought viewers much more than just financial news with aplomb.