CNN bringing back ‘Tonight’ name to fill Cuomo’s timeslot

CNN has rebranded Chris Cuomo’s former timeslot under the name “CNN Tonight.”

The network fired Cuomo Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, following an investigation after materials outlining his alleged involvement in helping to defend his brother, a former New York governor, against sexual harassment accusations.

CNN suspended Cuomo earlier in the week of Nov. 29, 2021 in response to the release. 

Michael Smerconish, who frequently filled in for Cuomo on “Cuomo Prime Time” had already been tapped to fill in the week of Dec. 6, 2021, though it wasn’t clear if the network would keep Cuomo’s name on the 9 p.m. hour.

With Cuomo now fired, however, the network has updated its schedule under the name “CNN Tonight.”

Cuomo’s show, and “Tonight,” will air at 9 p.m. eastern, a key hour in cable news. Normally Fox’s cable channel dominates the timeslot, with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow following, but “Cuomo Prime Time” had been one of CNN’s strongest offerings across the entire schedule.

“CNN Tonight” has been used by the network off and on over the years. 

Most recently, the Don Lemon anchored hour CNN, at 10 p.m. eastern, used the name.

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It May 2021, Lemon sparked a social media firestorm after announcing it was “the last night that we’ll be ‘CNN Tonight,” at the end of a Friday show, leading some viewers to believe he was leaving the network.

However, he surfaced the next day on social media clarifying that “CNN Tonight” was being rebranded as “Don Lemon Tonight.”

The show largely kept the “CNN Tonight” look of a stylized blue, green and gold cityscape, while also retaining similar typography under its new name.

It’s not clear if the new block will retain that same look or logo, though it’s likely CNN still has the graphics available and basically ready to use since it’s been less than a year since the name was last used. 

So far, the network has not released key art for the newest iteration of “Tonight.”

Some international channels using the CNN name also air programming under “CNN Tonight.”

When CNN moved into its current Hudson Yards facility in May 2019, both the network’s morning newscast “New Day” and “Prime Time” continued to share a studio, which CNN dubbed 19Y

The two shows had shared space back at the former Time Warner Center as well, though in both locations different lighting cues and video wall graphics were used to give the space a decidedly different look.

Studio 19Y was equipped with a large “Cuomo Prime Time” dimensional logo that could be flown in from the grid on the opposite side of the studio that “New Day” typically uses.

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