CNN shook up its daytime schedule, unveiling a series of changes that will affect both its “New Day” morning program as well as its afternoon programming — the latest in a series of change at the nation’s big mainstream TV news outlets in the aftermath of the 2020 election.
The WarnerMedia cable-news outlet intends to move early-afternoon anchor Brianna Keilar to co-host “New Day” with John Berman, pair morning host Alisyn Camerota with Victor Blackwell in the 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. slot previously led by Brooke Baldwin and feature Ana Cabrera at 1 p.m. weekdays. The moves come as CNN has been working to feature a lineup of anchors from more diverse backgrounds than it has in the past. Internal dynamics played a factor in the decisions as well: Camerota, who has been at the helm of “New Day” for six years, has made known for some time that she was eager to break out of the morning-news grind, according to people familiar with the matter.
The moves were announced Wednesday by CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker during the network’s daily morning production meeting. During the conference call, Zucker took pains to thank Baldwin, who announced Tuesday she intended to leave the network in mid-April. Her on-air role at CNN had diminished in recent months, particularly during the run-up to the 2020 election, and people familiar with the network suggested executives wanted to make some changes in the schedule.
As part of the overhaul, Boris Sanchez, a former White House correspondent, will take Blackwell’s previous slot at the weekend broadcast of “New Day,” where he will join Christi Paul. Jim Acosta, who had been CNN’s chief White House correspondent, will anchor three hours each on Saturday and Sunday.
All the changes will become effective in April, CNN said.
Many of the nation’s top TV-news outlets have been in the midst of recalibrating. Some of that maneuvering is par for the course after a presidential election. Some of it has been prompted by the new burden news programming has begun to carry for the media companies that own them. As more consumers migrate to streaming-video options for their scripted favorites, companies like ViacomCBS, WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal and others are counting on news and sports content to draw the big crowds their advertisers and distributors continue to crave.
In recent weeks, Fox News revamped its daytime lineup recently and added a new hour of opinion-led programming at 7 pm. The Fox Corporation-backed outlet intends to launch a late-night-styled hour at 11 p.m. featuring Greg Gutfeld. And ABC News added new anchors to the weekend broadcasts of its “World News Tonight” to fill a slot vacated by Tom Llanas, an up-and-coming anchor who is expected to land at NBC News at some point in the future.
The moves show a CNN still firmly under the direction of Zucker, who announced earlier this month that he intends to step down from his role at the end of 2021, when his current contract comes to an end. While the executive has expressed a desire to move on to new challenges, many people in the business believe he will be hard-pressed to cut ties with CNN, which he has helped imbue with new relevance since taking its reins in 2013.