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CNN shakes up morning, afternoon lineups

CNN announced that early-afternoon "Right Now" anchor

 CNN announced that early-afternoon "Right Now" anchor Brianna Keilar will begin co-hosting the network's morning show, "New Day," in April. Credit: Getty Images for Politicon / Joshua Blanchard

CNN has set its replacements for Brooke Baldwin, the afternoon veteran who announced her departure from the network on Tuesday: Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell, who will become co-hosts of CNN's "Newsroom" in mid-April.

Both fast-rising CNN stars, they've been mainstays of the network's morning programs for years. And unlike Baldwin, they are inclined to opinion on occasion, and (also occasionally) have been sharply critical of former President Donald Trump in the run-up to the recent election.

Most important as far as CNN's concerned, they got results. Of "New Day'' co-anchor Camerota, the network said in a statement that she has had "the longest tenure of any weekday morning show anchor in recent CNN history, and, along with [co-anchor John] Berman, has led CNN to its largest audiences ever in the morning." "New Day'' has indeed seen audience growth during Camerota's tenure but remains in third place behind MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and Fox News' "Fox & Friends." Blackwell is co-anchor of the weekend editions of "New Day."

In addition, CNN named Brianna Keilar — most recently anchor of "CNN Right Now," which airs early afternoons as the lead-in to "Newsroom" — the new morning co-anchor, also effective this April.

The changes are a part of a handful of scheduling and personnel adjustments expected at each of the major networks, postelection. CNN and MSNBC saw a ratings surge over the past few months while ratings at Fox softened — largely due to increased competition from more doctrinaire conservative outlets like Newsmax. Opinion, meanwhile, remains vitally important for each simply because viewers expect and demand it.

Neither Blackwell nor Camerota should disappoint then. Camerota was schooled in the Fox News mold. She spent sixteen years there, mostly with "Fox & Friends," before joining CNN in 2014. Along with "New Day," she has built a considerable prime-time presence too, mostly with specials. CNN has posted several Camerota "moments" from recent months, including one where she said, "I still believe in hearing all sides, except the crazy violent side."

In another such "moment," posted in 2019, Blackwell — "New Day" weekend anchor for the past nine years — became emotional when calling out a Trump tweet about Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), referring to Baltimore as a "very dangerous & filthy place" where "no human being would want to live." Baltimore native Blackwell said, in part, "a lot of people I care about still do."

After stops as a TV reporter and anchor in Maryland and Florida, Blackwell, 40, joined CNN in 2012, and was named co-host with Christi Paul of the Saturday and Sunday editions of "New Day" in 2014.

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