CNN’s CEO is pushing forward with his aggressive overhaul strategy to bring the veteran news network into the digital age.
The latest phase of chief executive Mark Thompson’s plan is changing up the network’s morning show, CNN This Morning. The program, hosted by Poppy Harlow and Phil Mattingly launched in 2022 under former station head Chris Licht, but ratings never took off.
CNN This Morning will move to Washington, D.C. and air 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. with anchor Kasie Hunt, who previously anchored morning segments on MSNBC and worked on the station’s Morning Joe show.
In addition, CNN News Central move up a time slot to air from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., to make way for “an additional two fresh hours of programming” with Jim Acosta anchoring a show at 10 a.m., and Pamela Brown anchoring a show at 11 a.m., according to CNN Business.
“What we are announcing today is a change in strategic direction and not a reflection on the talent, expertise and dedication of the New York based editorial production and operations teams who’ve worked on our morning output – they’re among the best in the business,” Thompson wrote in his memo to staffers.
A source close to the matter told CNN Business that the shake up could impact dozens of people. The station is in talks with Harlow and Mattingly about new roles, according to CNN.
“We will be strongly encouraging [impacted employees] to apply for the many new open roles that we are making available this week in Atlanta and Washington, DC, along with a number of other open roles in New York in other programming blocks.”
This comes after Thompson announced his goals to combine all of CNN’s newsgathering operations into one unit that will serve the network’s TV, streaming, and digital platforms. A separate team is currently exploring growth and possible subscription formats.
So far, Thompson seems to be pulling from the same playbook he used to digitize The New York Times.
While CNN’s name is still largely synonymous with news and its linear TV service still makes money, cord cutting has hit the media industry hard over the last few years. As a result, the network’s revenue isn’t as stable as it once was.
The company over the years has also had to navigate a political minefield, a constant stream of misinformation to correct, programming shakeups, the failure of CNN+, as well as mass layoffs, including the ousting of previous CEOs and popular names like anchors Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon.