CNN has announced that Kaitlan Collins, who recently hosted the network’s town hall with President Donald Trump, will fill its primetime 9 p.m. hour which has been vacant for a year since the firing of former host Chris Cuomo.
In a letter to staff, CNN chairman Chris Licht said Collins would begin regular hosting duties in June, according to the New York Times. “She is a smart and gifted journalist who we’ve all seen hold lawmakers and newsmakers accountable,” Mr. Licht wrote in a newsroom memo. “Kaitlan will expose uncovered angles and challenge conventional wisdom to make sure viewers are seeing a story from every side.”
The elevation of Collins indicates the network is betting on an intrepid reporter who has earned accolades for her interviewing skills but remains untested on a solo platform. Her handling of the Trump town hall brought in 3.3 million viewers for the struggling network, more than triple its usual viewership but less than the president’s past appearances on Fox News.
Licht has preached patience to advertisers as CNN’s primetime ratings are down 61 percent compared to a year ago and will inevitably highlight Collins’s new role in an upcoming presentation in Manhattan hosted by Warner Bros. Discovery, CNN’s parent company. Licht, a former producer for CBS, has pledged his intent to rebuild the network as the leading source for non-partisan cable news after the brand spent years battling with President Trump while he was in office.
Still, the network has a long ways to go before repairing damage that has resulted in some of the lowest viewerships among key demographics in decades. In April, longtime host Don Lemon was unceremoniously dismissed weeks after musing that 51-year-old presidential candidate Nikki Haley was “past her prime.” The jab prompted Haley to fire back, elevating the controversy as another headache for the network ahead of the 2024 presidential campaign season.