CNN said it would shuffle anchors across its weekday and weekend daytime schedules, grouping them together in new ways the network hopes will attract viewers as it attempts to work its way out of a longtime ratings shortfall.
John Berman, Kate Bolduan and Sara Sidner will lead a three-hour mid-morning program from New York that lasts from 9 a.m. to noon, while Brianna Keilar, Boris Sanchez and Jim Sciutto will anchor a three-hour Washington, D.C. broadcast between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. John King will keep his noontime show “Inside Politics” on weekdays.
CNN intends to showcase an energetic “newsroom headquarters” concept that untethers anchors from their desks and tries to show newsgathering and reporting on screen most of the time. Chris Licht, who took over as CNN’s CEO last year, told Variety earlier this week that he wants to make CNN look more kinetic and energetic than the network’s rivals — and that daytime programming offers a good place to start. “The look and feel of CNN during daytime is what people equate with CNN,” he told Variety.
CNN said the new programming and format would roll out “in coming months,” though Licht indicated they could be put in place as soon as the end of the first quarter.
Licht is working to move on from a heavily scrutinized year during which parent Warner Bros. Discovery scuttled an ambitious streaming-video hub called CNN+, then mandated staffing cuts at its news business as it grappled with massive amounts of debt it took on in order to buy up the former Time Warner portfolio from AT&T. CNN’s total day viewership among people between 25 and 54 in 2022 fell 35%, but it was bigger than MSNBC’s, though smaller than that of Fox News.
There are other changes in store. Victor Blackwell, who moved to New York from Atlanta to lead a mid-afternoon broadcast with Alisyn Camerota, appears to be moving back south. He is expected to anchor the 10am hour on Saturdays and co-anchor the weekend edition of “CNN This Morning” with Amara Walker. Jim Acosta will expand his role on the weekends, anchoring 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. Pamela Brown. who had been anchoring weekends, was named CNN’s chief investigative correspondent, and is expected to contribute to broadcasts across the network’s schedule.
Alisyn Camerota, who has been filling in on “CNN Tonight,” has been assigned to the program’s 10 p.m. hour. while Laura Coates, who was promised a roost on the evening schedule well before the pandemic, finally gets a spot at 11 p.m.