By: Stephen Lovekin Getty Images Entertainment
(USA TODAY) - Chris Cuomo, the co-anchor of ABC's 20/20 and a a former news anchor for Good Morning America, is heading back to mornings...on CNN.
The cable-news network Tuesday announced the high-profile hire, among the first by incoming CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker, to revive its lagging fortunes. Cuomo will "have a major role in a new CNN morning show," the network says, and will also anchor and report on major news events throughout the day.
"This is a fantastic opportunity to do what I value the most and hopefully to do the work that I do best," he says in a statement. Cuomo, 42, was passed over for the role of GMA anchor in 2009, replacing Diane Sawyer, when ABC chose George Stephanopoulos instead. He's also been ABC's chief legal correspondent, and is the younger brother of New York governor Andrew Cuomo and the son of former governor Mario Cuomo.
Zucker, the former NBC Universal chief who established his career as Today's youngest producer, has made rebuilding CNN's morning and prime time hours key goals. But the morning competition for news viewers is more fierce than in prime time, because cable networks are also competing with Today, GMA and CBS This Morning. Hired late last year, Zucker officially started his new job last week, when the network also hired ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols to anchor a planned CNN sports show and work for sibling Turner Sports.
He has some work to do. Last year, when the presidential election, Hurricane Sandy, the Newtown school shootings and the Olympics lifted MSNBC and Fox News, CNN's ratings dropped further, to an average of 416,000 viewers across the day (down 13% from 2011) and 681,000 in prime time (down 2%). The network ranks third in both measures.
At 20/20, David Muir has been tapped to replace Cuomo as co-anchor, alongside Elizabeth Vargas.
Gary Levin, USA TODAY