Rewarding Idiocy: CNN Promotes Jim Acosta to Weekdays, Cancels ‘CNN This Morning’

February 5th, 2024 2:06 PM

On Monday morning, the seemingly constant shakeup of CNN’s fledgling, ratings-starved lineup continued as the network revealed the disastrous CNN This Morning will be axed as part of a new morning schedule that’ll include CNN’s former White House correspondent and pompous shill Jim Acosta being promoted to mid-morning weekdays after just over three years hosting late-afternoon weekend editions of CNN Newsroom.

Acosta’s smug brand of punditry masquerading as news will take place at 10:00 a.m. Eastern and remain under the CNN Newsroom banner. For years, we’ve chronicled at NewsBusters how his hours of anchoring on weekends featured eager promotion of liberal conspiracies, juvenile rhetoric and stunts, partisan flag-waving for liberal journalism, and outright lies and exaggerations.

From there, he’ll give way to fellow longtime CNNer Pamela Brown — a frequent fill-in host, one-time legal correspondent, investigative correspondent, and daughter of a former Democratic governor — for an hour-long show with the new title, The Bulletin. That, however, won’t start anytime soon as Brown’s on maternity leave.

Acosta aside, the major headline from CNN CEO Mark Thompson was the cancellation of CNN This Morning after less than two years as the replacement for New Day, which got the ax following nearly nine and a half years of ratings-challenged programming.

The show was doomed from the start, beginning with its haphazard, hastily-put-together launch on November 1, 2022 and the hodgepodge pairing by then-boss Chris Licht of Don Lemon, Poppy Harlow, and Kaitlan Collins

The poor chemistry was evident the get-go with Lemon walking wounded by the demotion from primetime, Harlow reportedly storming off the set during one Lemon hubbub, and Lemon  and sparring publicly and privately with Collins, who was a newcomer to hosting duties.

The trio only lasted five months before Lemon was fired and Collins pushed to primetime. CNN chief White House correspondent Phil Mattingly was moved to New York almost immediately for tryouts before a formal announcement on August 14, 2023 that he’d be working with Harlow.

The future of Harlow and Mattingly is yet to be determined with Thompson saying the network’s “talking to both...about new roles at CNN.”

As Variety’s Brian Steinberg reported, their future at CNN is in question (click “expand”):


The moves mean, as CNN CEO Mark Thompson said in a note to staffers Monday, 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.” Thompson said CNN would find new roles for Harlow and Mattingly. Mattingly has been told he will have a New York-based role, but people familiar with the matter suggested the network has proposed no new ideas for Harlow, a sign of how suddenly its morning plans were put into place. Anchors were said to have been informed of the revamp on Sunday. Mattingly recently moved his large family to New York for the assignment, and Harlow has served as a steady presence in mornings despite an era of behind-the-scenes chaos at the network under its owner, Warner Bros. Discovery.

The decision appears to bring to an end a years-long effort by CNN to run a New York-based morning program that tried to compete directly with A.M. behemoths like “Today” and “Good Morning America” as well as more direct counterparts like Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

CNN has slogged its way through years of failed A.M. efforts that range from “American Morning” to “Starting Point.” 

While certainly not to be confused as anything close to conservative journalists, Harlow and Mattingly are some of the more sober anchors CNN has on its roster, so here’s to hoping they stay put or, if need be, find a new home where they’ll be put to good use.

In its place, CNN’s morning program Early Start with Kasie Hunt will expand an extra hour and run from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. Eastern.

CNN News Central — which currently runs from 9:00 a.m. to noon Eastern — shift its three hours and air from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Eastern. In a small twist of irony, weekday morning CNN News Central co-hosts John Berman and Kate Bolduan will make their return to the heart of morning TV as both previously had separate stints as anchors of New Day. The pair will be joined by their other co-host, Sara Sidner.

Additionally, Thompson revealed the production side of the struggling network’s AM shows will return back to CNN’s original home city of Atlanta, Georgia after years of having been increasingly based on-set in New York.