CNN Moves Chris Cuomo to Prime Time

CNN is turning to one of its morning anchors to shore up prime time.

Chris Cuomo, the outspoken co-host of “New Day” who has gained prominence — and received some right-wing blowback — for his coverage of the Trump administration, is set to take over the network’s 9 p.m. slot on weeknights, according to two people familiar with CNN’s plans who spoke on condition of anonymity because no formal announcement had been made.

The move would catapult Mr. Cuomo, 47 — a son of Mario Cuomo, the former New York governor, and the brother of Andrew Cuomo, the current governor — into the highest echelon of cable news, pitting him directly against Rachel Maddow of MSNBC and Sean Hannity of Fox News.

CNN has struggled recently in prime time, falling to third-place behind Fox News and MSNBC, as viewers are increasingly drawn to partisan commentary. Anderson Cooper, who hosts the network’s coverage between 8 and 10 p.m., attracted about a third of Mr. Hannity’s audience last month, for instance.

Shifting Mr. Cuomo to weeknights would reduce Mr. Cooper’s prime-time footprint from two hours to one. And the network would need to find a new host to help lead its morning coverage, which Mr. Cuomo co-anchors with Alisyn Camerota.

CNN declined to comment on Wednesday.

The shift for CNN comes as the network remains a lightning rod for President Trump, the target of “fake news” chants at rallies and the president’s own vicious tweets. Its prime-time coverage remains focused on analysis by experts and political veterans — a contrast to the deeply partisan monologues by the likes of Ms. Maddow and Mr. Hannity, both of whom regularly draw more than 3 million viewers a night.

Mr. Cooper, in February, averaged slightly more than a million viewers.

Mr. Cuomo had recently been substituting for Mr. Cooper at 9 p.m., drawing a similar audience of around a million viewers nightly. Another CNN anchor, Jake Tapper, also briefly filled in at 9 p.m. last year.

Mr. Cuomo maintains an energetic Twitter account where he often interacts and argues with fans and critics, sometimes defending his on-air coverage during commercial breaks.

He has worked at most of the major broadcast and cable networks, with his longest stint at ABC News, where he anchored the magazine show “20/20” and co-hosted “Good Morning America,” reporting from the Middle East and Haiti, among other international locations. He joined CNN in 2013, one of the earliest poachings by the network’s then-newly appointed president, Jeffrey A. Zucker.

Mr. Cuomo’s television work might seem prominent in any family but his own. He belongs to a political dynasty and in interviews, he has recounted his relatives’ skepticism about his chosen career.

“My father struggled with it as a significant form of service,” Mr. Cuomo told New York magazine in 2010.

Content originally published on by MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM