This post is part of our Money Face-Offs feature. Let us know who you think comes out ahead in this head-to-head match-up, and check out our other Money Face-Off posts.
Who needs to worry about the subprime mortgage meltdown or the Iraq War when we can debate whether CNBC's Maria Bartiromo still is the "Money Honey" or if her crown has been taken by upstart Erin "Street Sweetie" Burnett.
Bartiromo's image has been tarnished by the Todd Thomson fiasco, the trademarking of "Money Honey," and her countless appearances at corporate events, while Burnett's star is on the rise thanks in part to hugely flattering articles by the likes of Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post. He recently wrote of Burnett, "Under the lights, in a smoky blue dress that matches her eyes as well as her shoes, her flowing dark hair perfectly teased, she is not exactly hard on the eyes." No word on whether he feels the same way about Mark Haines.
Yes, television is a superficial medium. Yes, discussions of the attractiveness of Bartiromo and Burnett are sexist, to say the least. I personally couldn't care less whether the anchors are best of friends or are constantly trying to stab each other in the back, as has been reported by the tabloids.
But as another of my Bloomberg colleagues, Jon Friedman of MarketWatch, points out, CNBC needs to find a way to make both alpha females happy as the General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) cable channel faces competition from the Fox Business Network that launches next month.
"Clearly, CNBC is relying on Bartiromo and Burnett more than ever," Friedman writes. "These anchors have helped it build an audience among the institutional Wall Street crowd."
Indeed, News Corp. (NYSE: NWS) Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch would love to lure either Bartiromo and Burnett (who also worked at Bloomberg, though I don't remember meeting her) to his fledgling business network. But if the network has to decide between keeping one or the other, the "Money Honey" would be shown the door because there's no star quite like a rising one. That's show business.
[Note: we replaced our original photo of Erin with a more current one after several comments alerted us to the fact that it was from a much more youthful time!]
Vote in our poll for Erin Burnett or Maria Bartiromo, and let us know in the comments why your choice has the financial edge in this match-up. Also be sure to check out our other Money Face-Offs.