CNN shakes up its morning program schedule

The sun is setting on “CNN This Morning.”

The morning show with Poppy Harlow and Phil Mattingly launched under previous CNN chief Chris Licht will have its last airing later this month. The co-hosts will be replaced by Washington-based anchor Kasie Hunt, the current anchor of “Early Start.” Hunt’s shift will expand by an hour — running 5 to 7 a.m. Eastern — and take over the “CNN This Morning” name.

The three-hour morning edition of “CNN News Central” with John Berman, Kate Bolduan and Sara Sidner, will start two hours earlier, sliding into the 7 to 10 a.m. Eastern slot. Veteran anchor Jim Acosta will get a daily hour, “CNN Newsroom,” at 10 a.m. Eastern, followed by “The Bulletin with Pamela Brown,” a new program anchored by the network’s chief investigative correspondent.

The programming moves — the first under CNN chief executive Mark Thompson, who took the reins this past fall — appear to be driven by cost savings as the New York staff of “CNN This Morning” will be eliminated, according to people familiar with the plan. In an internal memo, Thompson said Harlow and Mattingly — who moved his family from Washington to New York after taking the host role in August — will be offered new roles at the network.

“CNN This Morning” has been a troubled project since its debut in December 2022 with Harlow, Don Lemon and Kaitlan Collins as co-hosts. Revamping the morning — never a strong time of day for CNN as it competes with broadcast network programs such as NBC’s “Today” and ABC’s “Good Morning America” — seemed an odd choice since the channel’s prime-time lineup needed more attention.

There was tension on the set as Lemon, used to working alone in prime time, clashed with his co-hosts and was forced to apologize when he said that Republican presidential contender Nikki Haley was “past her prime.” Lemon was fired from CNN in April, with the network paying out millions of dollars left on his contract.

Collins moved to a prime-time slot while Mattingly was moved from CNN’s Washington bureau to become Harlow’s co-host. But the program never gained traction in the ratings and remained the least-watched program on CNN.

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