CNN Considering Chris Wallace and Brian Williams to Fill Chris Cuomo’s Spot

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When CNN fired Chris Cuomo in December, many in the industry believed that Jeff Zucker would fill the 9 pm spot with another liberal opinionist like Don Lemon or Brianna Keilar. But Zucker is no longer in charge, and incoming boss Chris Licht has other ideas.

According to the Daily Beast, Chris Wallace and Brian Williams are two possible candidates to replace Cuomo in primetime.

Licht hopes to reestablish CNN’s reputation as a credible news agency and shed its reputation as a partisan hack factory. He hopes Wallace and Williams, two long-time news anchors, can help with the mission.

Of the two, Williams is the better fit. Wallace would be a transition host at best. First of all, he’s 74 years old. But more importantly, GOP voters still harbor resentment against him for how he moderated the Trump vs. Biden debate in 2020. He convinced Trump voters he was a Biden asset, and they won’t forgive him for that — not ever.

Williams, known for dry humor and smugness, remains a free agent after declining to re-sign with MSNBC at the end of 2021. Should Williams, 62, land in primetime, consider it one of the more unlikely comeback stories in television.

Six years ago, NBC kicked Williams off the nightly newscast for lying on air about his coverage of the Iraq War in 2003. That felt like the end of the road for Williams. But here he is, vying for a coveted position in primetime news.

To be clear, Wallace and Williams are not the only possibilities CNN is considering for 9 pm. Because Licht doesn’t officially begin until May, the network may not name a permanent host until the fall. CNN will presumably want an official host in place ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

I would not rule out in-house anchor Laura Coates, who has tried out for the time slot several times. Media executives are vulnerable to pressure, and Licht knows he can put himself in the good graces of the press by inserting a woman in primetime, something even woke Zucker didn’t do.

One other person who makes sense is Jake Tapper. If CNN wants to replace Cuomo with a well-known news anchor, why would it not move Tapper to primetime? He currently hosts from 4 to 6 pm ET and is a younger, more respected version of Wallace and Williams.

By moving Tapper to 9, CNN could put Wallace or Williams at 4. That seems less drastic than bringing in an outside candidate, one well past his prime, and featuring him in the primetime spotlight.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack is a writer for OutKick where he reports and analyzes the latest topics in media, culture, sports, and politics..

Burack has become a prominent voice in media and has been featured on several shows across OutKick and industry related podcasts and radio stations.


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