CNN's shake-up continues as Jake Tapper is PROMOTED to Chris Cuomo's old 9pm primetime slot after woke-warrior Don Lemon was moved to front flagship breakfast show
- CNN announced Thursday that Jake Tapper has been tapped to take over Chris Cuomo's old 9pm slot - the latest in a series of sweeping changes by the network
- Tapper, 53, the outlet's lead Washington anchor, will man the hallowed timeslot through this year's midterm elections, starting October 10
- While temporary, the job - held by Cuomo until he was nixed for helping brother Andrew through a sex scandal - could become permanent if Tapper draws eyes
CNN's Jake Tapper has been tapped to take over Chris Cuomo's old 9pm primetime slot - the latest in a series of sweeping changes enacted by the network as it looks to shed its perception of being too liberal.
Tapper, the outlet's lead Washington anchor, will man the hallowed timeslot through this year's midterm elections, the network announced in a statement Thursday, starting October 10 and continuing until November 11.
While temporary, the job - which was held by Cuomo until he was nixed for helping brother Andrew through his sexual misconduct scandal - could become permanent if Tapper, 53, draws viewers.
Ratings for the hour have suffered since Cuomo's ousting last December, with the network failing to fill the slot long associated with the host, who is set to begin a new job anchoring for non-partisan network NewsNation in October.
The slot has since been manned by a series of rotating hosts, but has failed to garner the numbers it did under 52-year-old Cuomo.
The shuffle comes days after CNN announced a 'reimagined' morning show featuring famously progressive anchor Don Lemon - despite new CEO Chris Licht's repeated pledges to move the network away from left-leaning commentary.
Jake Tapper, CNN's lead Washington anchor, will man the hallowed timeslot through this year's midterm elections, the network announced in a statement Thursday, starting October 10
'The world has come to rely on Jake's no-nonsense approach to covering the news, especially during high-stakes election cycles,' chief executive Licht said in a statement announcing the latest shakeup at the famously liberal network.
'This move will showcase his tough reporting, smart analysis and consequential interviews as our audiences navigate the myriad of issues at stake in the midterms,' the CEO added.
Licht, who replaced also ousted boss Jeff Zucker last February, added that in addition to the 9pm change, anchor Alisyn Camerota and legal analyst Laura Coates will share the 10pm through 12am time slot - a post that will be left abandoned by Lemon.
'By adding the insights, experience and strong voices of Alisyn and Laura, we will advance and expand on that coverage, creating something complimentary and compelling in primetime,' Licht said of Camerota and Coates.
The shuffle comes days after CNN announced a 'reimagined' morning show featuring famously progressive anchor Don Lemon - despite the new CEO's repeated pledges to move the network away from left-leaning commentary
Since taking the helm, Licht, has demonstrated a desire to move away from opinionated reporting that became especially prevalent during Donald Trump's election campaign and subsequent presidency.
Insiders have since said that the longtime televisions exec - headed Stephen Colbert's Late Show for six years until it was announced he was replacing Zucker - wants to return to the station's roots as a hard-hitting news source.
So far, Licht's tenure has seen a marked decrease in partisan panels featuring outspoken anchors such as former Trump aide Alyssa Farah.
However, the recent shakeup with Lemon - who has long criticized conservatives such as Donald Trump and has touted woke ideals on the air - seems to contradict this effort.
CNN announced the change last week, revealing that Lemon will officially sign off from his 10 p.m.-midnight block on October 7.
At that point, the network will launch its new morning program, which will be headed by Lemon, as well as co-anchors Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins.
While temporary, the job - held by fired Chris Cuomo (pictured) until he was nixed for helping brother Andrew through a sex scandal - could become permanent if Tapper draws viewers
The trio's production is set to replace the 'New Day' show hosted by John Berman and Brianna Keilar, which currently runs from 6 to 9am.
'There is no stronger combination of talent than Don, Poppy, and Kaitlan to deliver on our promise of a game-changing morning news program,' Licht wrote in a statement announcing the change.
'They are uniquely intelligent, reliable and compelling; together they have a rare and palpable chemistry. Combined with CNN's resources and global newsgathering capabilities, we will offer a smart, bold and refreshing way to start the day.'
Lemon has anchored his primetime hour since 2014, and has been with CNN since 2006.
The changes will also force further tweaks to the network's dayside schedule, where both Tapper - the anchor of the late-afternoon news program The Lead - and Camerota led news hours.
New Day anchors John Berman and Brianna Keilar, meanwhile, will now be moved from the morning hours to make room for Lemon's new morning program, and will each fill in during Tapper’s The Lead, which airs from 4-5pm. Network fixture Wolf Blitzer, meanwhile, will add an hour to The Situation Room at 5 pm to fill the gap.
With that said, both Anderson Cooper and fellow anchor Erin Burnett will remain at their current hours - with CNN saying other fill-in hosts will be named in the coming weeks.
The call served as one of Licht's most prominent decisions amid the 'opinion-based' overhaul, often involving anchors who slam conservatives and the GOP.
Since taking the helm, Licht, who headed Stephen Colbert's Late Show for six years, has demonstrated a desire to move away from opinionated reporting that became especially prevalent during Donald Trump 's election campaign and subsequent presidency
Lemon, 56, will conclude Don Lemon Tonight, his evening program, in preparation for his morning debut.
After being announced as Zucker's successor, Licht sent a memo to his future staff hinting of the changes that were to come.
'Our viewers demand the truth from us, and I want to learn the truth from you,' Licht wrote at the time. 'Together, we will double-down on what's working well and quickly eliminate what's not.'
Licht has also said his one directive as incoming CNN president is to ensure that it 'remains the global leader in news' as the network's parent company, WarnerMedia, merges with the Discovery Channel - emphasizing the word 'news' in capital letters.
In February, Zucker resigned under pressure for violating corporate policy by not disclosing the nature of his consensual romance with second-in-command Allison Gollust, his friend and colleague of over 20 years.
The new CNN boss will work to tone down the often opinionated and emotional reporting from anchors like Don Lemon, who currently hosts the network's underperforming primetime slot
Kaitlan Collins (left) and Poppy Harlow (right) will appear in the new morning show alongside Don Lemon in October
Gollust subsequently left the network following a third-party investigation into 'issues associated with Chris Cuomo and former Governor Andrew Cuomo,' WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar said in a statement.
At the time, Discovery's largest shareholder, John Malone, a billionaire businessman who donated $250,000 to Trump's inauguration in 2017, criticized the network, and voiced concerns of the network's left-leaning bias ahead of the mega merger.
'I would like to see CNN evolve back to the kind of journalism that it started with, and actually have journalists, which would be unique and refreshing,' the media billionaire told CNBC.
'I do believe good journalism could have a role in the future portfolio that Discovery/TimeWarner's going to represent.'
CNN hopes to move on from drama after the bombshell ousters of host Chris Cuomo and network boss Jeff Zucker (together above in 2014), as it merges with Discovery Inc.
CNN founder Ted Turner's biographer Porter Bibb, meanwhile, then revealed that both Turner and Malone 'adamantly' opposed the direction Zucker had taken with CNN 'turning it into an opinion network, to compete with Fox and losing the concept of hard news.'
Bibb wrote that Turner and competitor-turned-friend Malone agreed on their disappointment in the current state of the network - and the direction it needs to be taken as the fallout surrounding the merger continues to persist.
'John Malone is not only speaking his own opinion of what CNN should be doing as an all-news network, but he speaks for Ted,' Bibb said.
Malone, meanwhile, has been credited with the ouster of Zucker, after he learned of the ex-president's affair with Vice President Gollust.
The decision is one of Chris Licht's largest when it comes to revamping the news network
CNN has been purging itself of the reputation of being a woke media source since Licht pledged to make the network reliable to the people again by halting the slander of Republicans.
The new movement has resulted in the termination of popular CNN hosts, including John Harwood and Brian Stelter, along with their shows.
Licht previously warned CNN staffers that changes to the network were coming to the network that they would 'not understand' or 'like.'
It's unclear when the new morning show will be released in October, or if the anchors will abide by Licht's new policies, but the new CEO doesn't appear to be shy terminate large profile journalists.
Tapper, meanwhile, who also cohosts State of the Union on Sunday mornings, has reportedly told colleagues he does not want the 9 pm show, due to issues stemming with the hour's perspective-driven approach, which he said conflicts with his straight-news approach, Vanity Fair reported.
The brand-new lineup is set to kick off after the first week of March.