CNN has told staff it is moving its much-hyped Chris Licht-era morning show, This Morning, from New York to its Atlanta headquarters, two people familiar with the matter have told The Hollywood Reporter.
The show’s 50-person team have been told they can reapply for jobs within the network, according to the people familiar. Phil Mattingly and Poppy Harlow will be moving to new roles, per sources.
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CNN will move up its News Central show, hosted by John Berman, Sara Sidner and Kate Bolduan, to help fill the time slot. Early Start host Kasie Hunt will anchor from 5 a.m.-7 a.m. ET, News Central moves from 7 a.m.-10 a.m. and Jim Acosta signs on at 10 a.m. ET.
The network declined comment.
CNN’s new chief, Mark Thompson, sent a note to staffers, below:
I wanted to let the whole CNN family know about changes we informed our US cable morning programming team of earlier today, which will go into effect later this month.
We have decided to reshape how we approach mornings on domestic cable. First, we’re expanding the show currently known as Early Start by an hour so that in future it will run from 5-7am ET under the CNN This Morning brand. It will be anchored as now by Kasie Hunt in DC and will be produced in Atlanta.
Second, we’re moving our CNN News Central franchise with John Berman, Kate Bolduan and Sara Sidner up to 7am and will run it until 10am ET. This production team will continue to be based in Atlanta.
That move opens up two hours of new programming at 10am and 11am. Jim Acosta will anchor CNN Newsroom at 10am, and 11am will feature The Bulletin with Pamela Brown, which will launch in the spring. Wolf Blitzer will anchor the 11am hour in the interim while Pam is on maternity leave. Both of these shows will also be produced out of Atlanta.
These changes mean that we will no longer produce morning programming in New York and will be disbanding the team that currently produces CNN This Morning in that city. Our New York-based primetime and weekend programming will continue.
What we are announcing today is a change in strategic direction and not a reflection on the talent, expertise and dedication of the New York based editorial production and operations teams who’ve worked on our morning output – they’re among the best in the business. We will be strongly encouraging them to apply for the many new open roles that we are making available this week in Atlanta and Washington, DC, along with a number of other open roles in New York in other programming blocks. We are also talking to both Poppy Harlow and Phil Mattingly about new roles at CNN.
I’m very aware that today’s announcement means a great deal of uncertainty for many valued colleagues. Change and uncertainty are inevitable in an industry undergoing a revolution, but we must never underestimate the human consequences that come in their wake. So to everyone who has been involved in the New York based Early Start and CNN This Morning, thank you for your hard work and your total commitment to the show since its launch.
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