At WBD Upfront, CNN Announces Kaitlan Collins as 9 PM Anchor

By A.J. Katz 

Just minutes ago at the annual Warner Bros. Discovery upfront, CNN officially announced Kaitlan Collins as the network’s new 9 p.m. anchor.

Collins will step into the role on a regular basis this June.

“In her new program, officially launching later this summer, Kaitlan will showcase why she’s one of the top reporters and interviewers in the game. She is a smart and gifted journalist who we’ve all seen hold lawmakers and newsmakers accountable. She pushes politicians off their talking points, gets real answers – and as everyone who’s worked with her knows – breaks a lot of news,” CNN CEO Chris Licht said in a note sent to staff just prior to the upfront.


Collins will transition off CNN This Morning, which will be led by Poppy Harlow alongside a rotation of CNN guest anchors.

Puck reported last week that Licht planned to offer Collinsco-anchor of CNN This Morninga new contract to serve as host of 9 p.m. The key timeslot has been vacant since December 2021, when CNN fired Chris Cuomo.

Collins has been a co-anchor and chief correspondent for CNN This Morning since the show’s November 2022 debut. She also moderated the highly-publicized and scrutinized live CNN town hall with former President Trump a week ago today. Despite the chaotic nature of the event, Collins received mostly positive reviews for her performance.

At 31 years of age, Collins is considered a rising star at the network. She joined CNN in 2017  as a White House reporter covering then-President Trump, and was promoted to CNN chief White House correspondent in January 2021. She left the White House beat last fall and moved to New York to co-anchor CNN This Morning.

Before joining CNN, Collins was White House correspondent for The Daily Caller, a conservative digital news outlet founded by Tucker Carlson. She also covered the 2016 presidential campaign for the website, while also leading its entertainment coverage.

But CNN had more to offer on upfront day than just the Collins announcement. After showing a sizzle reel of its varied on-air talent reporting live from around the world, Licht took the stage to discuss the network’s DEI efforts (No. 1 on Juneteenth among Black viewers), CNN Digital, and upcoming presidential campaign coverage.

He also discussed significant live event programming, which includes coverage of the Total Eclipse next year.

“Our audience is coming to us for space and science events, and when the world needs the truth, they can trust us to deliver,” said Licht. “We have doubled down on our commitment to you, the audience, by strengthening the role of journalism in daily life.”

Licht also touted having “greater resources, reach and original reporting than anyone else — thousands of journalists, and 36 bureaus around the globe supercharge our newsgathering operation to provide reliable news and information.”

He added, “We prioritize the reporting over punditry to separate the news from the noise.”

Licht also announced a new CNN on-air graphics package will debut in June. “To mark this new chapter in CNN storied history, we will be rolling out a new graphics package across the network. I think you can see it’s a significant improvement. It’s clean, modern, and very easy to look at.”

Licht then tossed it to Anderson Cooper, who appeared via video from his nearby studio. Cooper briefly noted CNN longform programming like his new The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper on Sunday nights, as well as three new Original Series. He also announced the Collins news with the new host by his side.

“I’m excited to join the ranks and obviously could not have a better lead-in, and I’m thrilled about that,” said Collins. “The new show is going to feature thoughtful perspectives, varied conversation and respectful debate around the day’s top news and I will be in good company it sounds like …”

Cooper then announced the new Gayle KingCharles Barkley offering, King Charles, which will air Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET beginning in the fall. The announcement included a behind the scenes taped piece featuring Barkley’s NBA on TNT co-hosts Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal.

Below, more information about upcoming CNN Original Series:

  • Columbia: The Final Flight (working title)
    • With access to the incredible archives of NASA’s Columbia mission and through first-hand testimony, Columbia: The Final Flight (w/t) will tell the definitive and dramatic story of the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster. The series is a co-production between CNN Original Series, BBC and Mindhouse Productions and is being distributed globally by BBC Studios.
  • TinderBox: Great Moments in Pop Culture (working title) 
    • TinderBox explores the most explosive TV moments we all watched together – the ones that lit a match and ignited a cultural phenomenon. From Ellen DeGeneres coming out on her sitcom to the first interracial kiss on Star Trek, this CNN Original Series revisits these moments that shaped a generation – with never-before-heard details from those who were there – as we consider their lasting legacy.
  • Spy Wars (working title)
    •  It’s the early 1980s and the Cold War is reaching its dramatic climax. Mistrust, hostility and paranoia strain relations between East and West, bringing them to the very edge of open conflict. Keeping the fragile balance of power between the two sides is a secret network of spies. In the shadows, they wage a clandestine battle, using espionage, brinkmanship, and double agents in a bid to try and keep their leaders – Reagan, Thatcher and Gorbachev – one step ahead. Spy Wars (working title) a co-production between CNN Original Series and BBC, will tell the hidden story of the real-life spies and traitors embroiled in a deadly game of cat and mouse, risking everything to ensure their own side gains the upper hand in this cutthroat battle for world domination.