Much has been talked about CNN’s morning and primetime programming moves, or lack thereof. Now, the network’s daytime programming is going under the Chris Licht microscope.
The CNN chairman and CEO is looking to overhaul the network’s 9 a.m.-4 p.m. ET programming block with a format emphasizing CNN’s newsgathering capabilities.
In an interview with Variety’s Brian Steinberg, Licht said he wants to position CNN dayside anchors away from the anchor desk and allow them to generate more energy on camera by involving them with the network’s newsgathering gathering process in real-time.
“The goal we have is to take an incredible newsgathering operation that has so much coming in at all hours and from all over the world and, in an authentic way, reflect that energy on air,” Licht said.
It is believed Licht is considering a “newsroom headquarters” concept that will feature multiple personnel on screen at once, with many of them not tethered to an anchor desk.
CNN hopes to debut the new programming block around the end of the first quarter and the start of the second quarter of 2023.
Currently, CNN’s daytime block, launched in April 2021, is in a period of transition. CNN Newsroom mid-morning co-anchor Poppy Harlow moved to CNN This Morning back in November, leaving Jim Sciutto without a permanent partner in the 9-11 a.m. ET time period (Erica Hill is believed to be the frontrunner). Ana Cabrera recently vacated the 1 p.m. hour of CNN Newsroom and is no longer with the network. Alisyn Camerota has bounced back and forth between the 2-4 p.m. ET edition of CNN Newsroom and CNN Tonight recently.
Unlike his predecessor, Jeff Zucker, Licht has taken his time in implementing programming changes across the board.
His tenure as the network’s leader has so far consisted primarily of shrinking the size of the network’s operations through programming cuts or layoffs and shifting its tone of coverage to one of taking the editorial out of its down-the-middle news reporting.
His efforts at courting Republicans are starting to pay off, as many showed up on the network’s air this past week during the House Speaker vote, giving CNN the No.1 ranking for the week (including on Friday) among Adults 25-54.