Chris Cuomo Joins CNN

Finishing point for 'Starting Point' as CNN launches ayem program in Spring

After foundering recently in the morning-news arena, CNN appears to have hit on what it thinks is a winning formula: Be more like the leader in the field, ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

CNN said Thursday that former “GMA” news anchor Chris Cuomo, ABC News veteran Matt Frucci and former “GMA” executive producer Jim Murphy would be among those tasked with making the Time Warner property more of a contender in the important morning-show wars.

Beginning this spring, Cuomo will be joined on screen by CNN veteran Kate Bolduan, one of the network’s congressional correspondents, and Michaela Pereira, a longtime co-host of the morning-news program at KTLA, a Los Angeles CW affiliate owned by Tribune Co.

The morning-show changes represent the most recent in a seemingly unending series of programming maneuvers put in place since former NBCUniveral chief executive Jeff Zucker took the reins of the venerable cable-news outlet at the start of the year. Zucker has also installed former ABC News correspondent Jake Tapper in a late-afternoon program and toyed with other hallmark CNN programs.

CNN may see more opportunity than it has in the past. While ABC’s “Good Morning America” has taken the lead in the ratings, owing perhaps to inclusion of some softer topics and a “halo effect” accorded the program during host Robin Roberts’ illness, NBC’s “Today” has experienced some backlash since the departure of co-host Ann Curry. Meantime, CBS has retooled its “CBS This Morning” while other shows including Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends,” MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and HLN’s “Morning Express With Robin Meade,” have staked out turf. Business-news outlets like CNBC and Bloomberg also have devoted audiences

Zucker is a veteran of AM-news to-and-fro, and is recognized by many for his skills in edging out competitors with booking stunts and other techniques.

The CNN announcement has long been expected and will put an end to the network’s current morning show, “Starting Point,” anchored by Soledad O’Brien. The network has already announced that O’Brien will form a production company and contribute documentaries to CNN’s schedule.

CNN executives no doubt hope the new morning show will end its breakfast-TV woes. CNN for nearly a decade aired “American Morning,” initially hosted by Paula Zahn and Anderson Cooper, but in recent years began to cycle through hosts. Bill Hemmer replaced Cooper in 2002, and then O’Brien and Miles O’Brien anchored the program from 2003 to 2007. Kieran Chetry and John Roberts replaced them, but left several months before the program was canceled in 2011.

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