Just two months after pulling the plug on Chris Licht’s tumultuous tenure as network boss, and amid continued ratings challenges across its daily programming, CNN on Monday announced an overhaul to its weekday and weekend lineups.
The reshuffle features rising network star Abby Phillips scoring a weeknight primetime slot, legal analyst Laura Coates securing a late-night show, White House correspondent Phil Mattingly co-anchoring CNN’s weekday morning program, and Kasie Hunt taking over the early morning hour.
Additionally, venerated journalists Chris Wallace and Christiane Amanpour will now host Saturday morning shows, congressional reporter Manu Raju will jump into the anchor chair for the Sunday version of Inside Politics, and weekend anchor Pamela Brown will move to weekday afternoons to host her own Washington-based show.
King Charles, a primetime series featuring NBA legend Charles Barkley and CBS star Gayle King, will still premiere later this fall at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday nights. In its announcement on Monday, the network noted that it will be a “limited series.” Prior to his abrupt departure, Licht had made the Barkley-centric program the linchpin of his vision of a “centrist” and less politically divisive news channel.
In a statement applauding the new lineup, the executive group that replaced Licht in June boasted that the network’s revamped programming shows the channel is filled with both extremely experienced journalists and up-and-coming talent.
“One of CNN’s key differentiators is our deep roster of experienced journalists, reporters and storytellers,” CNN Worldwide leadership team of Amy Entelis, David Leavy, Virginia Moseley and Eric Sherling said. “Many joined CNN early in their careers and have grown with the network throughout the years. They are extraordinarily talented and share the same CNN sensibility: versatility, determination and an inquisitive and empathetic approach to reporting the news.”
The statement added: “By expanding the range and depth of our programming lineup across multiple dayparts, we are strengthening our reporting excellence throughout the schedule, elevating our ability to tell great stories across platforms, and doubling down on CNN’s position as the most trusted name in news.”
After largely relying on a rotating slate of guest hosts after moving since-fired primetime anchor Don Lemon to mornings last year, the network settled on Phillips to host the 10 p.m. hour and Coates to finish off the evening at 11 p.m. Phillips had recently been the Sunday moderator of the political roundtable show Inside Politics, which will now be hosted by Raju. Coates, the network’s top legal analyst, had been one of the regular fill-in hosts of Lemon’s old slot.
With Lemon’s firing and Kaitlan Collins’ move to 9 p.m. earlier this year, CNN This Morning had only Poppy Harlow left as a full-time anchor. Mattingly, who had been regularly filling in as her co-host in recent weeks, had now been permanently added to the show—which has struggled to find an audience while mired in turmoil since its launch late last year.
Just weeks after longtime Early Start anchor Christine Romans announced she was leaving the network, former MSNBC star Kasie Hunt will be the show’s new host. After leaving NBC News for CNN in 2021, Hunt was supposed to be one of the faces of CNN+, the channel’s much-hyped digital streaming service. However, less than a month after her CNN+ program debuted, the network’s parent company Warner Bros. Discovery shuttered the streamer amid a bevy of cost-cutting moves.
Amanpour and Wallace will now man late Saturday mornings for the network, with Wallace continuing to host his interview show Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?, which has been airing on CNN’s Friday nights.
Seemingly lost in the shuffle is veteran anchor Alisyn Camerota. After moving from mornings to weekday mid-afternoon a couple of years ago, Camerota had most recently been filling in as a primetime host following Licht’s decision to fill CNN’s middays with multi-anchor news blocks. In its announcement on Monday, CNN said Camerota would “focus on reporting for CNN’s long-form unit, specifically on forthcoming episodes for The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper,” the channel’s Sunday night news magazine.