Veteran TV journalist Chris Cuomo is coming back to cable news with a new prime-time program on NewsNation starting in the fall, less than a year after his messy breakup with CNN.
Cuomo, 51, announced his new deal during an interview Tuesday with NewsNation host Dan Abrams. It was Cuomo’s first TV appearance since his firing from CNN in December after an eight-year stint.
The combative Cuomo was the most-watched personality on CNN before he was terminated over how he advised his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, on the handling of sexual harassment complaints brought against him. Andrew Cuomo eventually resigned over the claims in August 2021.
While CNN executives were aware of Chris Cuomo consulted with his brother, they contended they did not know the extent of the anchor’s involvement with the former governor’s staff, as revealed in a report by New York State Atty. Gen. Leticia James.
In March, Cuomo’s attorneys filed a demand for arbitration with the Judicial Arbitration and Mediation service, saying that CNN executives were fully aware that he was providing advice to his brother. He is seeking $125 million from his former employer.
An investigation into Cuomo’s actions conducted by an outside law firm hired by CNN revealed an undisclosed romantic relationship between former CNN President Jeff Zucker and his top aide Allison Gollust, violating parent firm WarnerMedia’s company policy. Both executives were forced to resign ahead of WarnerMedia’s merger with Discovery Inc.
Before Cuomo was fired, a former female colleague at ABC News accused him of sexual misconduct over an incident that allegedly occurred when they worked together. Cuomo denied the accusation, which was a factor in CNN’s decision to cut ties with him.
While Cuomo will arrive at NewsNation with some baggage, he will still be the most prominent on-air talent on the cable network which has failed to draw many viewers since it was launched in September 2020.
NewsNation was launched by Irving, TX-based Nexstar Media Group as a nonbiased alternative to the opinionated prime-time hosts on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. Cuomo being one of those hosts could undercut that positioning.
Cuomo, who had previously been an anchor and correspondent at ABC News, tried to mitigate the perception that he is a partisan liberal commentator in his recently launched podcast. Even though he grew up in a prominent Democratic political family as the son of three-term New York governor Mario Cuomo, he acknowledged having voted for president.
In his new role, Cuomo will be reunited with Michael Corn, who runs NewsNation’s editorial side. A former top executive at ABC News, Corn worked closely with Cuomo during their years at ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Despite the small audience numbers for NewsNation, which averages around 60,000 in prime-time according to Nielsen — a fraction of its long-established competitors — Nexstar remains committed to building the channel.
The Chicago-based NewsNation took over the channel position of WGN America, an entertainment channel that carried reruns of network sitcoms and dramas. The channel still runs scripted shows due to contractual commitments, keeping NewsNation from being a go-to for viewers when breaking news occurs during the day.
NewsNation currently has 11 hours of live news a day, with plans to expand to 24 hours by the middle of 2023. The network has been building staff, adding former Fox News political director Chris Stirewalt, Dray Clark, a New York correspondent who came from the Black News Channel, and George Will, the conservative conservative analyst, as a senior political contributor.