Chris Licht, CNN’s new president, told employees at a city hall meeting Thursday that he hopes to have a new show at 9pm this fall after experiencing the timeslot over the summer.
9pm is a pivotal time for the network, as it historically generates some of CNN’s highest ratings and provides valuable ad revenue. The previous anchor, Chris Cuomo was fired from CNN last year after an investigation into his efforts to help his brother, the former governor. Andrew Cuomo of New York, responding to allegations of sexual misconduct.
“Let’s try some things at 9,” said Mr. Licht, according to a recording of the meeting reviewed by the New York Times. “Let’s have some fun’. Let’s just try a few things. But my intention is to have a show ready to launch in the fall at 9 o’clock. “
Thursday’s meeting, which lasted more than an hour, was the first time Mr. Licht has spoken to CNN employees since taking over as president of CNN this week. Mr. Licht approached them in late April when he shut down CNN +, the ambitious venture that aimed to provide a beachhead for the streaming network.
A CNN spokesperson declined to comment.
During Town Hall, Mr. Licht was interviewed by Erin Burnett, host of CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront”, which airs weekdays at 7pm.
During town hall, Ms. Burnett asked Mr. Licht about his approach to CNN morning programming. Mr. Licht said he thought the CNN morning show could be a “disruptive force” and added that he had plans to work with CNN executive producer Eric Hall to figure out the future of his him starting lineup.
“Once I find out where the toilets are, one of the things I’m looking forward to is to sit down with him and his team and figure out what this show can be?” Mr Licht said.
The past few months have been a tumultuous time for CNN. Longtime network president Jeff Zucker stepped down in February after not disclosing a romantic relationship with a close colleague.
Mr. Licht also said during town hall that he hoped Chris Wallace, the former Fox News Sunday host who hosted a show on CNN +, would stay with the network. Mr. Licht claimed that Mr. Wallace was an “extraordinary talent” and added that the network was also working on a podcast and show with former NPR host Audie Cornish, who also hosted a show on CNN +.
The Puck news site previously reported that CNN was planning to keep Chris Wallace online and to port his show to the HBO Max streaming service.
In response to a question about the layoffs, Mr. Licht said he has no plans to make major cuts in the ranks of CNN employees.
“This is an organization that has had one punch in the stomach after another,” said Mr. Licht. “And most of the organizations out there wouldn’t have survived.”
Towards the end of town hall, Mr. Licht said he had had conversations with Mr. Zucker about how CNN employees don’t leak, adding that he thought the network had “strayed a little from that.”
“Let’s make this a reset,” said Mr. Licht.