CNN Shakes Up Primetime Schedule As Ratings Plummet

On Monday, CNN revealed a significant primetime restructuring in response to a substantial decline in ratings over the previous year.

Abby Phillip of CNN will occupy the 10:00 PM time slot, with Laura Coates hosting the 11:00 PM hour, as announced by the network. These positions have remained open since Chris Cuomo was terminated in December 2021, and Don Lemon, who was subsequently fired, was reassigned to “CNN This Morning” in November 2022.

CNN reported that Phil Mattingly, the network’s chief White House correspondent, has been selected to co-anchor “CNN This Morning” with Poppy Harlow. The program had initially featured Harlow, Lemon, and ex-Daily Caller journalist Kaitlan Collins. Lemon’s firing in April and Collins’ transition to her own 9:00 PM show left two vacancies on the program.

According to CNN, anchor Kasie Hunt is slated to take over “Early Start” following Christine Romans’ exit in late July, and Pamela Brown will present a new program during the 3:00 PM time frame.

In addition, CNN is revamping its weekend schedule. As per CNN’s statement, Victor Blackwell will host a Saturday program at 8:00 AM, Chris Wallace at 10:00 AM, and Christiane Amanpour at 11:00 AM.

This latest reorganization comes amidst an ongoing transition period for CNN, grappling with reduced ratings and earnings. The network’s profits dipped below $1 billion for the first time since 2016 last year, influenced by the growth of streaming platforms, and it marked its lowest-rated year in the significant 25-54 demographic since the inception of ratings tracking in 1992.

Chris Licht, who succeeded Jeff Zucker as CNN President in 2022, was dismissed from the network in early June.

Fox News Channel’s freshly introduced weekday primetime lineup, which premiered on Monday, July 17th, outperformed all cable news rivals in terms of overall viewership and the key younger demographic of A25-54. During the 7–11 PM/ET time slot, FNC averaged 2,160,000 viewers and 211,000 in the A25-54 category, dominating CNN and MSNBC in every segment, winning the combined total viewers, and multiplying CNN’s overall viewership by more than three times.

Closing the month as the top-rated primetime lineup across all of cable, FNC stands out as the sole cable network to achieve an average of over 1.5 million viewers during primetime. It’s worth highlighting that this new primetime schedule boosted FNC’s proportion of the cable news audience from the previous month, growing from 41 percent to 48 percent in total viewers and from 34 percent to 42 percent in the A25-54 demographic.