When we last left Kaitlan Collins, the CNN host was attempting to interview Donald Trump during the former president’s town hall, which many would say brought new meaning to the word “fiasco.”
The 24-hour news channel got a ratings boost from the raucous event, where the audience routinely applauded Trump’s comments about Ukraine, election fraud, and his sexual assault case, but the numbers promptly headed south and CNN wound up eating the dust of far smaller conservative channel Newsmax.
CNN’s own Oliver Darcy was reportedly internally admonished for his pessimistic coverage of the evening and New Hampshire Gov, Chris Sununu, whose state hosted the turbulent affair, described the town hall as “embarrassing.”
However, CNN CEO Chris Licht defended the town hall in a meeting with employees the next morning saying that America was “well served” by the affair, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Collins ‘Breaks a Lot of News’
“I couldn’t be more proud of her and the team that supported us on the ground and back home,” Licht reportedly said. “It’s tough to imagine anyone navigating such a tricky assignment with more ease than Kaitlan.”
So what next for Kaitlan Collins? Well, she’s moving on up, so to speak. Collins, who currently hosts CNN This Morning with Poppy Harlow, will be the new 9 p.m. anchor.
“In her new program, officially launching later this summer, Kaitlan will bring fresh reporting that adds new perspective to the biggest stories of the day,” CNN Communications tweeted on May 17.
Collins will be filling the spot that has been left open since the departure of Chris Cuomo, who was fired in 2021 after getting caught up in the sexual-harassment scandal that engulfed his brother, former New York governor Andrew Cuomo.
Harlow will lead the morning show, with a rotating cast of guest co-hosts.
Licht told CNN’s staff in a memo that in the new program, Collins “will showcase why she’s one of the top reporters and interviewers in the game,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“She is a smart and gifted journalist who we’ve all seen hold lawmakers and newsmakers accountable,” he said. “She pushes politicians off their talking points, gets real answers – and as everyone who’s worked with her knows – breaks a lot of news.”
Collins has been with CNN since 2017, following a stint at The Daily Caller, the right-wing news and opinion website cofounded by former Fox host Tucker Carlson, who was recently booted from the conservative network.
Collins ‘Grateful and Excited’
In a statement, Collins, 31, said she was “grateful and excited to join CNN’s primetime lineup for a new show that will feature sharp interviews, fresh reporting and thoughtful conversations on the top stories that are driving the news cycle.”
News of Collins’ evening gig sparked the expected snark-a-thon on social media.
“Imagine getting promoted after the Trump debacle,” one tweet read. “That whole town hall went exactly as planned and the fix was in for the promotion. She used to work for Tucker Carlson for god sakes.”
“In fairness @kaitlancollins managed to do what no one else has done in many years,” one person responded. “She united the left and right, both agreed she was horrendously bad in the Trump town hall.”
But there were some supportive comments sprinkled amid the nasty.
“Congratulations Kaitlan – you are a fantastic interviewer and so talented at being a true journalist – you seem to be handling the changes to your roles, environments, and supporting staff changes really well. I’m so happy for you and I will be watching whenever I can or DVRing!” one tweet read.
Collins’ departure from the morning show is the second in a month after Don Lemon parted ways with CNN in April following accusations of misogyny and misbehavior.
The trio hosted the morning show for just five months since its November 2022 launch.