Ex-CNN anchor Chris Cuomo returning with online, cable shows
NEW YORK (AP) — Seven months after being fired by CNN, Chris Cuomo is emerging publicly with a new podcast and plans to host a prime-time television show again starting this fall on NewsNation.
Cuomo made the latter announcement Tuesday on NewsNation, a fledgling cable news outlet created by Nexstar Communications in 2020 to replace WGN America. He was interviewed by Dan Abrams, who hosts a prime-time show there.
“I’ve been jealous of you while I’ve been away, out watching and I want to help,” Cuomo told Abrams. “I want to find a way to help people.”
NewsNation said Wednesday that Alexandra “Dusty” Cohen, who spent 20 years behind the scenes at “The View,” will be Cuomo’s executive producer. No show name, time slot or premiere date has been announced.
Cuomo, once CNN’s most popular prime-time personality, was fired in December after the network said he wasn’t forthcoming about the extent to which he was helping his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, try to weather a sexual harassment scandal.
During the inaugural episode of “The Chris Cuomo Project” that appeared on YouTube and on podcast services last week, Cuomo said that, “as for CNN, I’ll never be a hater.” He does, however, consider his firing unfair and has asked an arbitrator to award him $125 million.
“This has been a very heavy period for me personally,” Cuomo told Abrams. “I didn’t really see what was coming my way.”
Cuomo cited the litigation in not responding specifically to some of Abrams’ questions about the circumstances surrounding his firing. “I’m telling you, I never lied and there were no secrets,” he said.
In NewsNation, he’ll join a network that has ambitions to be a 24-hour news outlet but currently airs news in morning and evening hours. Ashleigh Banfield and Leland Vittert, formerly of MSNBC and Fox News, respectively, have prime-time shows.
Last year, the network had a prime-time average audience of 46,000 viewers, compared to CNN’s 1.1 million, the Nielsen company said.
CNN has not named a full-time host to replace Cuomo in the 9 p.m. Eastern slot.
Cuomo’s free-wheeling YouTube show was filmed in his house. The first episode stretched to two hours, including a 45-minute interview with actor Sean Penn conducted through a video service. They talked about Penn’s Ukraine documentary, and Cuomo also showed video from his recent visit to the war zone.
“Thank you for checking in on me and the family and for telling me to get back here,” Cuomo said in an opening monologue. “I really appreciate it more than you could imagine.”
Through Wednesday afternoon, “The Chris Cuomo Project” had received more than 47,000 views on YouTube in nearly a week.
Cuomo told listeners that “now more than ever before, I’m talking to you as me… these words are only my own. Nobody is telling me to stay on a story even if it has been run into the ground.”
The son and brother of two men who spent more than two decades as Democratic governors of New York, Cuomo said that he was not a Democrat. Or a Republican. He said he was “anti two-party partisanship.”
He also revealed that his first vote — while his father was governor in 1988 — was for Republican George H.W. Bush for president.