Media giant CNN has endured quite a rocky year, from several unforeseen departures, including Don Lemon, to low ratings. In an effort to turn things around, the network recently announced its new primetime lineup.
The overhaul includes the promotion of two Black journalists and more women-led programming during primetime hours.
First up is former Washington Post reporter Abby Phillip is a familiar face of Sunday morning’s political talk show, Inside Politics. According to CNN’s official press release, Phillip will now have a weekday segment, CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillip, airing at 10 p.m.
Phillip has been with the station since 2017, becoming a standout thanks to her coverage of the 2020 election. A year later, she became the stand-in host for Inside Politics. The 32-year-old’s ability to appeal to younger generations led her to being dubbed “Next-Gen CNN” by the New York Times.
Former CNN reporter Don Lemon once held the coveted 10 p.m. slot with his long-running Don Lemon Tonight segment. After nearly 16 years, Lemon was moved to the morning slot as a host on CNN This Morning.
Earlier this year, Lemon was terminated from CNN allegedly due to strained relationships, misogynistic comments and creating a hostile environment.
CNN anchor and chief legal analyst Laura Coates will anchor a new segment, Laura Coates Live, out of Washington, D.C., at 11 p.m. The press release from the network states the new show will showcase “legal, social, political and cultural stories,” highlighting Coates’ “significant prosecutor experience.”
Veteran reporter Kaitlen Collins will continue to help the 9 p.m. spot with her hourlong segment, The Source with Kaitlan Collins.
However, keeping up the “storytelling” mission of former CEO Chris Licht, the previously announced King Charles, with Gayle King and Charles Barkley, will debut later this fall on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. as a limited series.
“The face of CNN,” Anderson Cooper, will continue to kick off the primetime hours at 8 p.m. with Anderson Cooper 360.
CNN’s daytime and weekend lineup will also see some changes. Kasie will now anchor Early Start, giving the channel a leg up on election coverage.
Award-winning politics reporter Phil Mattingly will take his talents to the chair each morning as the new co-anchor of CNN This Morning.
The only afternoon addition is the 3 p.m. segment, The Bulletin with Pamela Brown. Brown will cover big stories of the day out of D.C.
Along with two Black women journalists helming prime time spots, Black male journalist Victor Blackwell will take the 8 a.m. Saturday hour with First of All with Victor Blackwell.
Other weekend programming includes Chris Wallace with The Chris Wallace Show and Manu Raju hosting the weekend’s Inside Politics.
The revision of programming comes after the abrupt departure of Licht in June. Washington Post states CNN’s ratings declined significantly under Licht’s direction. The outlet states CNN “averaged only 534,000 total viewers in prime time,” well behind their competitors Fox News and MSNBC.
The ratings for the entire day were just as low, averaging just 426,000 total viewers, while MSNBC reported 723,000 and Fox News reported 1,071,000.
CNN Worldwide’s leadership team, Amy Entelis, David Leavy, Virginia Moseley and Eric Sherling, shared their thoughts on the network’s revamp.
They collectively stated one of CNN’s “key differentiators” is its deep roster of “experienced journalists, reporters and storytellers.”
They completed their statement saying the overhaul will ensure the network’s “ability to tell great stories across platforms, and doubling down on CNN’s position as the most trusted name in news.”