Brooke Baldwin, a CNN anchor who for a time became the face of the cable-news outlet’s daytime schedule, announced on air Monday that she intended to leave the WarnerMedia-backed outlet by the middle of April.
“The next chapter of my life will be focused on what I love the most about my work: amplifying the lives of extraordinary Americans,” she said as she opened her Monday afternoon broadcast. She added: “There is just more I need to do… outside the walls of this place, a place I have been privileged to call home for 13 years. Yep, we’re still in a pandemic. No, I don’t have a job I’m jumping right into. Yes, I’m feeling very vulnerable.” CNN declined to elaborate beyond her comments.
Baldwin has a new book, “Huddle,” slated to debut in early April. It looks at how women come together to solve problems or enact meaningful change.
She departs as many expect CNN to unveil some sort of reworking of its daytime schedule that could have early-afternoon anchor Brianna Keilar going to co-host “New Day,” the network’s morning show, while Alisyn Camerota, currently on in the morning, could shift into afternoons. Other moves are also possible.
Baldwin has been with CNN since 2008, and was originally based in Atlanta. But she gained new prominence at the network after moving to New York in 2014, when she started to lead two hours in the afternoon. She proved popular enough with viewers to challenge Fox News Channel in the ratings, and was able to hold her own with breaking news or extend herself to lifestyle topics, including music. She was also an early proponent of digital storytelling, relaying an account of her climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to viewers and anchoring some streaming series on interesting female figures.
“I really focus on giving the viewers compelling television, and hope that more and more people watch,” Baldwin told Variety in 2015.
The anchor was lampooned on “Saturday Night Live” and became part of CNN’s annual New Year’s Eve coverage, when she and fellow anchor Don Lemon would anchor proceedings after midnight, spurring viewers to guess if they were over-imbibing. And she became an object of national interest when she detailed her fight with coronavirus last April.
As CNN placed more of its focus on the 2020 election and politics, however, Baldwin was seen less on the air. CNN expanded the early-afternoon hours of Keilar and even took Baldwin off the air for a time to give more air to anchor Jake Tapper. In recent days, CNN has announced new programming led by many of its Washington anchors, including Pam Brown and Jim Acosta.