CNN Fires Chris Cuomo ‘Effective Immediately’

By A.J. Katz 

CNN has fired Chris Cuomo.

The announcement of Cuomo’s termination, “effective immediately,” came at 5 p.m. on Saturday. It was made after an outside law firm had been retained by the network to review information about exactly how the host of Cuomo Primetime assisted his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, when the then-governor was accused of sexual misconduct.

The network released this statement about Cuomo’s termination:

CNN had suspended Cuomo, the network’s top-rated host, indefinitely on Tuesday after New York Attorney General Tish James released additional details—transcripts and exhibits—concerning Cuomo’s defense of his brother amid the state’s investigation into allegations against the former governor.

The now-former CNN host previously said he wasn’t an official advisor to his brother, and that he was one of the people who encouraged him to resign the New York State governorship in light of the misconduct allegations.

The newly-released details from the New York AG report released last week include the fact that Cuomo leveraged his journalistic sources to pursue information on the women who accused his brother of sexual misconduct. Chris Cuomo was also actively in touch with a top aide for then-Gov. Cuomo, Melissa DeRosa, concerning incoming media reports that detailed alleged sexual harassment by the then-governor, according to a transcript of his interview with state investigators. Chris Cuomo also tried to help the governor’s office by dictating statements for his older brother to use.

“This is not how I want my time at CNN to end,” Cuomo said in a statement he tweeted.

This is a stunning fall for Cuomo, one of the most popular figures in all of television news and someone who seemingly had full support of management despite being in the center of multiple controversies. In addition for getting blowback for defending his older brother from multiple claims of sexual harassment, and the way in which he did so, there was the episode from September where Shelley Ross, a former executive producer at ABC and CBS, alleged in a New York Times opinion piece that Cuomo sexually harassed her when they both worked at ABC.

Before stepping into an hour once held by Larry King, Cuomo served as co-host of the network’s morning show New Day from 2013-2018. He joined CNN in 2013 and was one of Jeff Zucker‘s first high-profile hires after being named CNN Worldwide president. A trained attorney-turned-TV newser, Cuomo came to CNN from ABC News, where he had served as the network’s chief law and justice correspondent and co-anchor of 20/20.

Michael Smerconish, Cuomo’s primary substitute host, will fill the hour next week. Anderson Cooper 360 was previously extended to a second hour, and that could happen once again in the future.

It remains to be seen who will take on CNN’s 9 p.m. hour on a permanent basis, but of course, we’ll keep our ears to the ground. Some initial thoughts include moving Don Lemon up an hour, giving Smerconish the hour on a permanent basis, going with two hours of AC360 (which was the case prior to the launch of Cuomo Primetime), or going with one of the D.C.-based hosts, like Jake Tapper, Brianna Keilar or Jim Acosta.

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