CNN announces changes to D.C. team, schedule

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CNN has announced a series of schedule changes that have along with correspondent and anchor shuffles.

“The Lead with Jake Tapper” will expand from 4 to 6 p.m. eastern, following a similar move by MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House.”

That, in turn, is causing Wolf Blitzer’s “The Situation Room,” what CNN PR calls its “signature evening news” to move back an hour to 6 p.m. eastern, with a 60 minute runtime as opposed to its previous 120 minute one.

CNN was quick to point out that Blitzer would remain “principal” anchor for breaking news and special reports.

Meanwhile, Tapper’s Sunday morning show “State of the Union” will add Dana Bash as co-anchor, with Tapper remaining on as co-anchor, with each anchoring two shows per month.

Bash will continue to serve as the network’s chief political correspondent and will also host quarterly primetime interview specials.

“Inside Politics,” which has both a weekday and Sunday edition will keep John King as anchor from noon to 1 p.m. eastern weekdays. He will also continue as the chief national correspondent for CNN and appear during political coverage.

Meanwhile, Abby Phillip will take over the Sunday edition from 8 to 9 a.m. starting Jan. 24, 2021. With that change, she has also been named senior political correspondent.

White House correspondent Jim Acosta, a common target of Donald Trump, will move into a chief domestic correspondent role for CNN and pick up weekend anchoring duties as part of the deal, though a time has not been released.

Right now, CNN relies heavily on “New Day” and “CNN Newsroom” hours on Saturdays, along with weekend editions of “The Situation Room” both then and Sunday.

Another weekend change includes Pamela Brown being named anchor Saturdays and Sundays from 6 to 9 p.m., effectively taking over the two hour weekend blocks of “The Situation Room” under the banner of “CNN Newsroom.”

“The Sit Room” aired 7 to 9 p.m. on weekends with an hour of “CNN Newsroom” before.

It’s not immediately clear based on CNN’s announcement if “The Situation Room” is being taken off the schedule altogether.

Meanwhile, CNN also announced changes to the White House team to coincide with the incoming Biden administration Jan. 20, 2021:

  • Kaitlan Collins has been named chief White House correspondent.
  • Phil Mattingly will become senior White House correspondent.
  • Arlette Saenz, Jeremy Diamond, John Harwood, MJ Lee and Kate Bennett will all be correspondents covering the White House. Kevin Liptak and Jasmine Wright will join them at the White House as reporters.
  • Jeff Zeleny has been named chief national affairs correspondent and will also cover the first year of the Biden White House.
  • Joe Johns will remain senior Washington correspondent and will shift his focus from the White House to a variety of Washington-related stories. Sunlen Serfaty will become Washington correspondent covering Washington at large. Suzanne Malveaux will continue in her role as national correspondent.
  • Manu Raju has been named CNN’s chief Congressional correspondent. He will be joined on Capitol Hill by correspondents Jessica Dean, Lauren Fox and Ryan Nobles. Daniella Diaz has been named a Capitol Hill reporter.

It is common for networks to shuffle D.C. based staff, especially those on the White House beat, after presidential election years.