Chris Cuomo is demanding that his bosses at NewsNation move his new show to a different time slot — his latest, desperate bid to improve his sagging viewership on Nexstar’s fledging cable network, sources say.
Former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo says he does not agree with changes that have been made at the network that fired him last year over assistance he gave to his brother, disgraced New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). “I have to see how it develops. They got great horses there. They have great resources. … I don’t like the idea that they’re saying they’re going to be more middle ground,” Cuomo told journalist Kara Swisher on her new podcast, On With Kara Swisher.
Cuomo will launch Monday, Oct. 3, at 8 p.m. ET. Alexandra “Dusty” Cohen, Jonathan Faulhaber, Renee Cullen and Hillary Kun are among its key senior production hires.
He will host his own show on the Nexstar Media-owned cable news channel beginning this fall.
The former CNN primetime anchor alleged in an arbitration filing Wednesday that his career has suffered damages in excess of $125 million, and suggested CNN had allowed several of his one-time colleagues to violate standards and practices in a bid to keep viewership. The anchor also said his firing by CNN late last year cost him nearly $15 million in salary that he would have earned if he had served out his last contract.
The question now is whether Cuomo’s reversal of fortune at CNN is a product of extraordinary circumstances or if he’s just the latest in a line of prominent cable-news anchors handed too much leash by their corporate backers due to the viewership they capture in an era when big TV audiences are difficult to find.
Fired CNN host Chris Cuomo is set to sue the network if it balks at paying him at least $18 million to cover what’s left on his contract. Cuomo has hired lawyers and is preparing to file the lawsuit over the remainder of the four-year contract he signed last year — after a bitter back-and-forth about what the network knew of his secret efforts to aid his embattled brother, then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, said sources familiar with the matter.
The network boss fired the star anchor on Saturday, leaving a hole in the channel’s prime-time lineup.
The move on Saturday came after the network suspended Chris Cuomo earlier in the week to investigate his conduct when New York’s attorney general released details showing he was more involved than previously known in helping to strategize and reach out to other journalists as his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, fought to keep his job.
The network said it was pursuing a “further evaluation” of evidence regarding its star anchor’s efforts to help stave off a sexual harassment scandal that his brother, former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, was facing.
The network took him off the air Tuesday, saying that material released by New York’s attorney general shows that he played a greater role than previously acknowledged in defense of his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as he fought sexual harassment charges. Transcripts of emails and Chris Cuomo’s testimony before state investigators revealed that he strategized regularly with the governor’s aides, and tried to help them learn what other journalists were reporting about harassment allegations.
On Tuesday, the network said documents released by New York’s attorney general on Monday indicated Cuomo took a greater level of involvement in his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s efforts than CNN executives previously knew. “As a result, we have suspended Chris indefinitely, pending further evaluation,” the network said.
Transcripts released Monday, Nov. 29, shed new light on CNN anchor Chris Cuomo’s behind-the-scenes role advising his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in the face of sexual harassment allegations that forced him from office.
Shelley Ross, a former executive producer at ABC News and CBS News, said CNN anchor Chris Cuomo sexually harassed her, describing a public incident at a going away party for a colleague in 2005. In an essay published in the New York Times this morning, Ross says she doesn’t want Cuomo to lose his job but hopes instead he’ll use his power to “make change.”
In his first appearance on CNN since taking a week-long vacation, Cuomo, CNN’s most-watched anchor, defended the way he managed his relationship with his older brother as New York’s top state authority grappled with accusations of sexual harassment, and then, in a move that caught many by surprise, decided to step down. Cuomo told viewers Monday that he advised his brother to resign and face the allegations, but also said he tried to behave as appropriately as he could under CNN’s rules.
Fresh off celebrating his 51st birthday, Chris Cuomo is scheduled to return from a week-long vacation and host his prime-time CNN show.
Erik Wemple: “CNN flouted journalistic ethics in spring 2020 when it allowed Chris Cuomo to host his brother about a dozen times in flattering gab sessions — and then, when the governor’s covid-19 and sexual harassment scandals piled up in early 2021, the network somehow tracked down its internal guidelines and banned Chris Cuomo from covering his brother. That switcheroo is what is unprecedented.”
CNN is coming under internal and external criticism over its approach to conflicts of interest for journalists after host Chris Cuomo escaped disciplinary action despite advising his brother New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on how to handle sexual misconduct allegations. Current and former employees have criticized the host of Cuomo Prime Time for the transgression, but a retired CNN ethics executive says the lack of clear cut policies are largely to blame.
Network insiders said Cuomo will get away with advising his brother on how to dismiss misconduct claims. “As a woman who works here, I feel a little let down,” said an on-air star.
CNN said in a statement that Chris Cuomo has not been involved in the network’s coverage of the allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, either on the air or behind the scenes, because he could not be objective and often serves as a “sounding board” for his older brother.
Margaret Sullivan: “For years, CNN had a sensible policy about whether Chris Cuomo could interview his older brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Simply put: He couldn’t. But then came the unprecedented events of last spring, as the coronavirus pandemic roiled the world and as New York City became its scary epicenter. All bets were off. These days, CNN’s ban is back and in full force. With the governor under career-threatening fire over recent sexual harassment claims and with the apparent mishandling of some parts of his administration’s covid-19 response in the news, the brother act is over.”
Margaret Sullivan: “A month ago, it would have seemed unlikely — ridiculous, even — that the most riveting duo in America would be the Empire State’s combative governor and his kid brother, the wide-eyed cable-news host. But here we are. Sometimes comical, sometimes somber, sometimes emotional, their joint TV appearances have become one of the strangest outgrowths of the coronavirus pandemic.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his brother, CNN host Chris Cuomo, have in their interviews on the latter’s show, been praised for “enlivening coronavirus TV.” But questions are arising about whether the coronavirus-stricken host, who has been broadcasting from his basement in quarantine, should be allowed to interview a family member in a journalistic setting/
Cuomo, who looked a little pale while doing his 9 p.m. ET CNN show remotely Monday, said he’s had fever, chills and shortness of breath.
The anchor has parlayed a combative style and a “both sides” approach into the top-rated broadcast on the third-place network. He’s still not satisfied.