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CNN Formalizes New Anderson Cooper Hour in Prime-Time

'AC 360 Later' to debut Sept. 16 along with revived 'Crossfire' at 6:30 p.m.

CNN formalized its early evening and prime-time lineups Tuesday, saying it would launch its revived version of “Crossfire” Monday, Sept. 16, along with a 10 p.m. hour led by Anderson Cooper and a panel of guests dubbed “AC 360 Later.” The new programs will launch Monday, Sept. 16.

The new Cooper hour will compete directly in the time slot with “On The Record with Greta Van Susteren” on Fox News Channel and “The Last Word” with Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC.

The announcements codify much of what was already in place in prime time. For the past several months, CNN would air Cooper’s program at 8 p.m., then repeat it at 10 p.m, though at times he has returned to the air at 10 after “Piers Morgan Live” to present new material. CNN experimented briefly in April with a panel talk show led by MSNBC and CNBC personality Donny Deutsch, but “(Get To) The Point” was yanked after just a week on the air.

The Time Warner-owned cabler said “AC 360 Later: would have at its center a panel conversation, featuring “CNN correspondents, analysts and commentators plus a special guest each night.”

After struggling for many years with its prime-time schedule, CNN has seen new momentum in the daypart and elsewhere on its schedule, lifted by breaking-news coverage of such events as the recent George Zimmerman trial. In July, the network finished second to 21st Century Fox’s Fox News Channel total day, prime-time Monday through Friday and daytime in both total viewers as well as viewers between the ages of 25 and 54, the demographic most favored by sponsors of news programming.

Crossfire” will launch at 6:30 p.m., CNN said. Wolf Blitzer, the anchor who typically holds forth in the 6 p.m. hour with “The Situation Room,” will add the 1 p.m. hour of “CNN Newsroom” to his duties as of Sept.16, CNN said. Suzanne Malveaux currently anchors that hour, along with the previous 60-minute slot.

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