CNN fixes its primetime programming during network chaos and scandal

Scandal-ridden CNN corrected its primetime lineup during the network chaos by moving Jake Tapper, Laura Coates and Alisyn Camerota to new time slots.

In the latest move from new CNN chief Chris Licht, Tapper, CNN’s chief Washington correspondent, will replace former Chris Cuomo’s post at 9 p.m. amid a 31% drop in second-quarter viewership among viewers between 25 and 54 years old, Variety reported Thursday.

In December, Chris Cuomo was fired from the network for helping his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, mitigate sexual harassment charges. The former governor had also sent recovering coronavirus patients to nursing homes during the rapid rise in infections and lockdowns in Democratic New York state. Controversially, Andrew was a regular guest on his brother’s network show during the pandemic.

The temporary patchwork will also include moving Coates and Camerota to co-host the 10 p.m. hour, replacing anchor Don Lemon, who moved to the 6-9 a.m. morning show.

“I haven’t been demoted,” Lemon said after the reassignment.

Licht’s new mix of media personalities “will showcase Jake’s rigorous reporting, clever analysis and consequent interviews as we ramp up our midterms coverage; and the insights, experience and strong voices of Alisyn and Laura will advance and grow that coverage,” he told network staffers Thursday.

CNN’s Laura Coates (screenshot)

Licht took over running the network after Jeff Zucker left in February after being asked about his relationship with longtime CNN executive Allison Gollust as part of the larger Andrew Cuomo investigation. Gollus left the network in February following Zucker’s resignation.


CNN’s Alisyn Camerota (Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

Zucker is widely credited with transforming former President Trump from a reality TV star into a strong presidential contender. Zucker was NBC’s showrunner The apprentice in 2004, making Trump a “family name”, the New York Times reported. Zucker was fired in 2010 from NBC and was hired by CNN in 2013.

The Associated Press

Chris Licht attends The Hollywood Reporter’s Annual Most Powerful People in Media Cocktail Party on April 11, 2019 in New York City. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Zucker’s management of CNN had been under pressure before his departure in February. In December 2021, Rick Saleeby, former senior producer of CNN The main role with Jake Tapper, resigned from his position while being questioned by the Fairfax County Child Exploitation Squad. The department’s director of public affairs said of the embarrassing incident:

The Fairfax County Police Department has launched an investigation into serious allegations involving potential child victims. Detectives assigned to the Major Crimes Bureau’s Child Exploitation Squad are leading the investigation. While we are ultimately transparent about our findings, protecting the privacy and safety of victims and witnesses as well as maintaining the integrity of our criminal investigation is of paramount importance.

Months later, reports that CNN Reliable sources host Brian Stelter would be fired at CNN come true. Stelter had claimed Hunter Biden’s authenticated ‘laptop’ was ‘Russian disinformation’. Hunter’s laptop was verified as genuine by Emma-Jo Morris of Breitbart News in the fall of 2020, 532 days before CNN admitted it was genuine.

Falling to the top, Stelter plans to teach media at Harvard University after leaving the network.

The network’s turmoil has apparently hurt its ratings and profitability. CNN’s second-quarter primetime schedule saw viewers aged 25 to 54 drop 31%, according to Nielsen. The said demographic is the most coveted by advertisers because these viewers have the highest disposable income. By comparison, MSNBC’s viewership fell by 40% and Fox News’s by only 2% in the same category.

Follow Wendell Husebo on Twitter @WendellHusebo. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.


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