Michael Smerconish, the popular radio host who also leads a Saturday-morning hour on CNN, will show up in primetime next week when he fills in for Chris Cuomo at the WarnerMedia-backed cable-news outlet.
Smerconish is slated to fill in for Cuomo all next week, according to a spokesman, and the move isn’t necessarily surprising. Smerconish has worked Cuomo’s show in the past when the anchor has been on vacation. But he is the latest to take the reins at 9 p.m. after CNN’s decision to suspend Cuomo after new revelations about work he was doing for his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, while his sibling faced multiple accusations of sexual harassment. Gov. Cuomo has denied wrongdoing, but the flurry of claims forced him out of office.
CNN said earlier this week that Chris Cuomo was suspended “indefinitely, pending further evaluation,” as it reviews his actions. A passel of messages and communications released by the Attorney General showed the younger Cuomo actively engaged in tracking down leads about stories that might affect his brother, and spoke regularly with the politician’s senior staffers. He has on several occasions acknowledged an error in judgement, but said he felt compelled by family ties.
Speaking Wednesday during a show he hosts on XM Satellite Radio, Cuomo acknowledged he faced a difficult situation. “I understand why some people feel the way they do about what I did. I’ve apologized in the past. I mean it. The last thing I ever wanted to do was compromise any of my colleagues and do anything but help.” Speaking about the suspension, Cuomo said: “It’s embarrassing. But I understand it, and I understand why some people feel the way they do about what I did. I’ve apologized in the past, and I mean it.” Anderson Cooper, who usually anchors CNN’s 8 p.m. hour, extended his time on air this week and also led the 9 p.m. broadcast.
Smerconish, a former longtime Republican who now casts himself as a centrist or independent, has seen his profile grow over the years. He once worked regularly as an attorney and even had a short tenure in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as a regional operative during President George W. Bush’s administration. He hosts a weekday show on Sirius XM and is the author of seven books. Before joining CNN, he was seen on MSNBC as a fill-in host.