NewsNation ditching primetime newscast, shifting anchor to late mornings

By Michael P. Hill Article may include affiliate links

NewsNation is removing the last hard news program from its primetime schedule.

The network announced Sept. 6, 2022, that anchor Marni Hughes, who currently anchors an hour of “NewsNation Prime” at 8 p.m. eastern, will move to dayside, anchoring a two-hour block from 10 a.m. to noon, replacing “Blue Bloods” reruns.

NewsNation Live” will air immediately following “Morning in America” starting Sept. 19, 2022.

The move is prepping the network for the debut of “Cuomo” at 8 p.m., launching Oct. 3, 2022, hosted by former CNN host Chris Cuomo.

“We will be sending out additional information about Cuomo later this week including key production hires, graphics and promos,” a spokesperson said. From Sept. 19 to Sept. 30, 2022, “NewsNation Prime” will continue to air with guest anchors.

James Holm, who executive produces the “Early Morning” newscast the network launched in June 2022, will serve as an EP on “Live” alongside former “Prime” EP Paige Lobdell.

The NewsNation concept started life as the name of a three-hour primetime newscast aired on what was then known as WGN America, launching in the fall of 2020. The show’s run time was cut back as the network shifted more toward analysis and interview programming in early evening and primetime, including the launch of “On Balance,” “Banfield” and “Dan Abrams Live.”

Along the way, “NewsNation” became the name of the network as a whole and the broadcast formerly known as that name was rebranded with “Prime” at the end.

It did boost its afternoon-early evening news offering with “Rush Hour,” which launched in 2021 as “Early Edition” before taking its current name.

Hughes’ assignment is significant in that it means the network has completely abandoned its approach to its original primetime hard news format — despite its continued efforts to brand itself as a “bias-free” news network.

The change isn’t surprising, given that other cable news networks have found that analysis and perspective programming plays better in primetime, while hard news can often do better during dayside hours.

The “Live” branding for Hughes’ new newscast is also interesting. Though not mentioned in the announcement, industry watchers have said that NewsNation could fill all or most of its schedule with news, analysis and interview programming (it’s already a bit odd to see “Blue Bloods” and “Murder, She Wrote” on a network with “news” in its name).

For several years, MSNBC branded its dayside hours of news coverage as “MSNBC Live,” before switching to the “MSNBC Reports” brand in 2021. The “Live” name has also been used on other networks for general newscasts.