The Wrap’s Jordan Chariton is hearing stories that Kate Bolduan may get taken off New Day.
Two CNN insiders told TheWrap that Bolduan, who has been on the hot seat for months ahead of her leave, will exit due to lack of chemistry with co-anchors Chris Cuomo and Michaela Pereira. Another individual with knowledge of Zucker’s thinking said the news president has not yet made a final decision, but is strongly considering that option.
The show is up 23 percent in total viewers year-over-year from mid-September to now; the time period Bolduan has been on maternity leave after having her first child, Cecilia. She has been co-anchor of the CNN morning show since the show’s launch in June 2013. The show is also up 11 percent in the all-important 25-54 news demographic year-over-year during Bolduan’s maternity leave.
If Bolduan is replaced, it is likely it would not come until after she officially returns to “New Day” from her maternity leave.
I’m not going to say “I told you so”…
Whatever problems New Day has…and it has plenty, Kate Bolduan not being up to the task isn’t one of them. Yes there is a chemistry problem between Bolduan and Cuomo and, regardless of who is or isn’t to blame for that, Bolduan will catch all the heat because she wasn’t the high priced talent Zucker poached from another network and those people never catch the blame right away whether deserved or not. It’s not fair for Bolduan but it is the way the rules are played. It’s called a pecking order for a reason you know.
That was written over a year ago and it’s still all true a year later. Bolduan isn’t the reason for New Day’s ills.
But let’s decode this “chemistry” thing, shall we?
To get chemistry it requires more than one person. It takes two (or more). So which is to blame for the chemistry problem?
Well unless there are full blown fireworks erupting on the set and/or the long knives whipped out behind the scenes, the talent probably like each other and get along fine…but it’s just not translating across the TV screen. In that instance you could replace one host, but which one since neither is really at fault here.
And this gets to the heart of the matter. When we hear the words “chemistry problem on New Day” what that really means is “whoever is not named Chris Cuomo is on the chopping block”.
Why? Because, as I said a year ago, Cuomo was Jeff Zucker’s big steal from ABC. He’s the high priced talent. So obviously it couldn’t possibly be him that’s part of New Days’ problems because…
…did I say that he was Jeff Zucker’s big steal from ABC? They pried him off ABC so he must be good and any chemistry problems can’t be him…right?
So of course it’s ABC time again at CNN; Anyone But Cuomo…
And it kind of has to be this way, whether Cuomo is or isn’t part of the problem. He was the big get. He was an early Jeff Zucker hire. Zucker has just too much invested in Cuomo to do anything to diminish him because that comes right back to Zucker’s lap since he went out and got him.
So instead Bolduan gets tossed on the block and Jordan Chariton starts hearing about “chemistry issues” between Bolduan and Cuomo.
Except Zucker can’t escape from criticism with that strategy either because…well he’s a network President and I’m a blogger with a long memory. Network Presidents shoot their mouths off all the time without thinking about the long term ramifications…and that’s where I come in.
He added that the lesson he took from the Curry fiasco at “Today” was that chemistry between co-hosts is the key ingredient to a successful show. He said he had tested Cuomo opposite five different anchors before settling on Bolduan.
“When we put Kate next to Chris, you just knew and [the chemistry] was there and as it unfolded, you saw it,” he said.
So…uh…what? The chemistry used to be there but it isn’t now? Or was the chemistry never there to begin with and you went ahead with it anyways and hoped things would improve eventually?
It’s got to be one of the two.
Doesn’t matter. Both reflect badly on Zucker though one is worse than the other.
So now it looks like Bolduan will get the heave ho. The real question is does she land elsewhere at the network or is her CNN career all over now? The follow up question is who will replace Bolduan and what happens if it turns out that Zucker guessed wrong on the Bolduan/Cuomo chemistry issue?
The only thing I know for sure is that this is going to keep me and others busy writing for a while.