CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker finally unveiled his morning infotainment show team: Chris Cuomo and — what’s this? — congressional correspondent Kate Bolduan — not Erin Burnett, as had been widely speculated by the press, citing well-informed sources.
KTLA Los Angeles morning show anchor Michaela Pereira will read the news for the New York-based show, which does not yet have a start date, or a name.
“We were floored with excitement when we saw Chris and Kate together on screen, and by adding Michaela to the mix we feel we have something very special,” Zucker said in Thursday’s unveiling, adding, “I’ve been looking forward to this announcement since I first joined CNN.”
Zucker, who made his name as the exec producer of NBC’s morning infotainment “Today Show” in the heady Katie Couric years, said when he joined the ratings hungry cable news network that one of his top priorities would be remaking its morning infotainment program. He nabbed ABC’s “20/20” co-host Chris Cuomo in late January just days after he officially took his CNN top-spot.
“We believe there is an opening to do news in the morning with a fresh, new voice,” said Zucker, sounding an awful lot like a nose thumb at the NBC morning show that’s been circling the drain since it flushed Ann Curry last June.
Speaking of “Today,” former golden boy Matt Lauer’s so toxic these days Deadline reported NBC contacted CNN’s own Anderson Cooper about possibly replacing Matt, and Matt got wind of the call and phoned Cooper to scare him off.
Which, while drastic, seems like overkill, given how unlikely it seems that Zucker would let NBC pirate his on-air talent pool to staff its program overhaul, like he’s done to ABC with the hires of Cuomo, and Jake Tapper, who now hosts “The Lead” on CNN.
Speaking of “The Lead,” we haven’t checked in in a few days to see how Tapper’s doing.
Tuesday night, he clocked his biggest audience since his March 18 debut: 433,000 viewers — 113,000 of them in the 25-to-54-year-old age bracket that’s the currency of news programming ad sales.
But the very next night, he plunged to his worst numbers yet: 318,000 viewers — and just 61,000 of them in the key age bracket. That’s just 10,000 shy of Nielsen ratings “scratch.”
That 61,000 is the smallest demographic crowd of any CNN program on Wednesday — tied with Piers Morgan’s show’s 3 a.m. repeat.