Less than two weeks after officially taking the reins at CNN, Jeff Zucker announced his second hire: ABC News’s “20/20” co-anchor Chris Cuomo, who will host a new morning show for the ratings starved cable news network.
And, in other Jeff Zucker-shaking-CNN-till-its-teeth-rattle news, network contributor James Carville was making the press rounds Tuesday, putting his spin on his and wife Mary Matalin’s exit from the network. And CNN exec vp/managing editor Mark Whitaker sent an email to staff Tuesday morning announcing his bow-out.
Busy day all around at CNN.
“Chris is an accomplished anchor who is already an established name in morning television, as well as a widely respected investigative journalist,” said CNN worldwide prez Zucker of his latest hire. “What I love about Chris is that he is passionate about every story he tells, never forgets about the viewer, and represents the type of journalism that makes CNN great.
Cuomo was ABC’s “Good Morning America” news anchor from ‘06-’09.
Not long after Zucker’s news was made official, ABC News president Ben Sherwood announced correspondent David Muir had replaced Cuomo on “20/20,” joining Elizabeth Vargas. In that announcement, Sherwood spoke glowingly of both men, concluding, “please join me in thanking Chris and congratulating David.”
The network did not address reports Cuomo will co-host with Erin Burnett, who currently anchors a CNN primetime show. That might be considered a demotion except Zucker’s a guy who knows a thing or two about morning news TV — he exec-produced NBC’s “Today” for a decade — one of the show’s good decades.
Cuomo’s the second piece of ABC News on-air talent CNN has grabbed since Zucker signed to become president of the cable news network; Jake Tapper jumped from ABC, where he was senior White House correspondent, to headline a CNN show. (Tapper made his CNN debut last week on the net’s “The Situation Room.”)
Cuomo’s hire comes just days after Zucker announced he’d signed longtime ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols to anchor a new weekend sports program on the cable news net. Making that announcement, Zucker said Nichols is “an important step in expanding the range of programming and storytelling on CNN.”