Following her role as moderator in the recent and controversial Donald Trump town hall, CNN has named Kaitlan Collins as the host of the network’s new as-yet-untitled weeknight show, occupying the high-profile (and formerly highest rated) 9 pm time slot. CNN chairman Chris Licht announced the promotion Wednesday, ahead of parent company Warner Bros. Discovery’s upfronts presentation.
“She is a smart and gifted journalist who we’ve all seen hold lawmakers and newsmakers accountable,” Licht wrote in a newsroom memo acquired by The New York Times. “Kaitlan will expose uncovered angles and challenge conventional wisdom to make sure viewers are seeing a story from every side.”
Collins’ show is set to begin in June in the highly sought after time slot that has virtually remained vacant since the firing of Chris Cuomo in December 2021.
Collins joined CNN in 2017, cutting teeth as a reporter covering the Trump White House, which eventually led to her moderator position for Trump’s May 10 town hall. The former president spent much of his time on screen dodging questions and peddling conspiracies. He repeated the “rigged” 2020 election lie, said the Jan. 6 insurrection crowd was comprised of people “with love in their hearts” and called Collins “a nasty person” when she pressed him to answer a question about the many classified documents he retained.
Despite the former president’s unruly behavior toward Collins and his vilification of writer E. Jean Carroll, whom he recently was found liable of sexually abusing and defaming, Licht defended the network’s polarizing coverage.
“You do not have to like the former president’s answers, but you can’t say that we didn’t get them,” the CNN boss said during an editorial call, according to tweets from media insider/Reliable Sources vet Brian Stelter. “Kaitlan pressed him again and again and made news. Made a lot of news… That is our job.”
Licht also addressed staff concerns about the night’s outcome and directly responded to the “uncomfortable” audience response. He said “hearing people clapping, that was also an important part of the story” because those people represent “a large swath of America” that has formerly been ignored in election coverage.
“America was served very well by what we did last night,” he concluded.
And Licht wasn’t the only one from the cable news network to defend the town hall. Anderson Cooper also weighed in with a defense on AC360 the following night. “You have every right to be outraged today, and angry, and never watch this network again,” he said. “But do you think staying in your silo and only listening to people you agree with is going to make that person” — referring to Trump — “go away?”
He continued: “Now, maybe you haven’t been paying attention to [Trump] since he left office. Maybe you’ve been enjoying not hearing from him, thinking it cannot happen again, [that] some investigation is going to stop him. Well, it hasn’t so far. So if last night showed anything, it showed it can happen again. It is happening again. He hasn’t changed, and he is running hard.”
Will you be watching Collins’ upcoming show? Let us know in the comments.
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