NEW YORK – CNN is shaking up its morning lineup, saying Thursday that Don Lemon, Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins will team up as hosts of a “reimagined” program that debuts later this year.
They will replace the current team of John Berman and Brianna Keilar at “New Day,” which airs on the news network from 6 to 9 a.m. Eastern.
It's the first major programming move announced by new CNN Chairman Chris Licht, who has an extensive background in morning television. He helped develop “Morning Joe” at MSNBC and also produced “CBS This Morning” in the early 2010s.
“There is no stronger combination of talent than Don, Poppy and Kaitlan to deliver on our promise of a game-changing morning news program,” Licht said in a statement. “They are each uniquely intelligent, reliable and compelling. Together they have a rare and palpable chemistry.”
Much of the news Licht has made since starting his job in May has been subtractions, canceling the “Reliable Sources” media show and letting go host Brian Stelter, as well as parting ways with legal affairs reporter Jeffrey Toobin and White House correspondent John Harwood.
The morning show announcement also opens another hole in CNN's prime-time lineup, where Lemon has hosted the 10 p.m. weeknight hour. CNN still hasn't replaced Chris Cuomo at 9 p.m. after he was fired last December.
Lemon said in a statement that his last eight years as a prime-time host have been an incredible ride, but that it's time to “shake things up.”
“I was honestly floored when Chris Licht asked me to do this and I'm honored by his belief in me,” Lemon said. “It's going to be a thrill ride to take on this challenge with Poppy and Kaitlan.”
“New Day” will get a new name, format and set in the revamp. CNN said those details, including the premiere date, will be announced later.
For Harlow, the change means getting up earlier. She currently anchors the 9 to 11 a.m. hours on CNN, where she has worked since 2008.
Collins, 30, has had a meteoric rise at CNN. She joined the network in 2017 and was named the network's chief White House correspondent last year. She'll be leaving the White House, but unlike Lemon and Harlow, Collins was also named “chief correspondent” of the new morning show, meaning she'll often be reporting from news locations.
Mornings are particularly competitive in television news. Besides network offerings “Good Morning America” on ABC, the “Today” show on NBC and “CBS Mornings,” cable competitors have well-established franchises with “Fox & Friends” and “Morning Joe.”