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Long-time CNN host Anderson Cooper is set to get a new gig as his network continues to shuffle the deck with talent in an attempt to rescue its flagging ratings. Beginning April 16, Cooper will begin hosting a Sunday evening show in addition to his daily weekday program “Anderson Cooper 360,” the network’s CEO, Chris Licht, announced on Thursday.
“Powered by CNN’s unmatched global journalism operation, ‘The Whole Story’ goes behind the headlines, touching every continent and corner of the planet, as we bring our viewers into the heart of the essential stories of our time,” Licht said in a statement, according to Mediaite.
The new program will provide a more in-depth exploration of individual topics, with an immersive hour-long format that will showcase other CNN journalists and correspondents, the network said.
CNN anchor Sara Sidner will uncover “the political and social issues plaguing the city by the bay” as she highlights the current state of San Francisco in the first episode.
Mediaite noted that additional topics include baby powder fears that will feature stories from “women who say that Johnson & Johnson’s now-discontinued talc baby powder is responsible for their cancer.”
.@AndersonCooper is getting a prime-time Sunday night slot on @CNN.
"The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper" will premiere on April 16 at 8 p.m.https://t.co/4etTimY724
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) March 24, 2023
The first season of the show will also cover magic mushrooms, the upcoming coronation of King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla, and stories from migrants seeking refuge in the United States.
But it’s unclear if the new offering will be able to attract much of an audience, let alone viewers away from cable news powerhouse Fox News, whose own Sunday evening line-up features popular hosts like Trey Gowdy, a former GOP lawmaker from South Carolina, and top conservative radio talker Mark Levin.
To that point, Licht’s hand-picked morning show trio of former evening prime time host Don Lemon as well as co-hosts Poppy Harlow and Kaitlin Collins appears to have been a bust, as the show is not only struggling with attracting an audience, but its co-hosts are having trouble getting along.
According to the New York Post earlier this month, CNN enlisted the services of two experienced executive producers to manage “CNN This Morning” after the show has been struggling with ratings and has faced controversies for months.
The outlet noted: “Longtime CNN producer Lauren Mensch and Chris Russell, who recently was the executive producer for NewsNation’s ‘On Balance with Leland Vittert,’ will grab the reins from Eric Hall, according to the cable news network. The moves come amid a flurry of bad publicity for Lemon.”
Late last month, Lemon survived calls to have him fired after he made some sexist remarks about GOP presidential contender Nikki Haley and engaged in an off-camera rant against co-host Kaitlin Collins, according to reports.
CNN executives allowed him back on the air in the mornings with Collins and fellow co-host Poppy Harlow after he received “formal training” for sexism, The First TV reported.
“I sat down with Don and had a frank and meaningful conversation. He has agreed to participate in formal training, as well as continue to listen and learn. We take this situation very seriously. It is important to me that CNN balances accountability with fostering a culture in which people can own, learn and grow from their mistakes. To that end, Don will return to CNN This Morning on Wednesday,” CNN CEO Chris Licht told staff on Tuesday, the streaming network reported at the time.
Reports in February noted that Lemon rattled Collins as well as the crew following an off-camera confrontation with her. Reports said he “screamed” at her for allegedly interrupting him on the air.
According to a separate report by the New York Post, several sources said that Lemon “screamed” at Collins following an on-air incident on the set, with tensions continuing to rise as the show tanks and as Lemon, apparently, is unhappy sharing on-air duties with Collins and Harlow.
Now, Collins appears to be ready to move on to something else, thanks mainly to a worsening relationship with Lemon.
According to sources who spoke to RadarOnline.com, Collins, 30, has “had private conversations about returning to Washington, D.C., leaving her on-air frenemy Don Lemon, 57, and Poppy Harlow, 40, in the dust. The revelation comes three months after Lemon blew up on Collins, ‘screaming’ and accusing her of ‘interrupting’ him after their December 8 broadcast.”
After Lemon’s outburst, several witnesses noted that Collins appeared “visibly upset,” and “shaken.” Now, according to the report, Collins wants to limit her work with Lemon as much as possible. Furthermore, Collins — who became CNN’s youngest White House correspondent in the network’s history — has distanced herself even more by parting ways with her United Talent Agency agent, Jay Sures, who also represents Lemon.