Editor’s note: Since the article was written, it has been announced that Alisyn Camerota will fill-in for Kate Bolduan tomorrow.
CNN’s New Day has changed throughout its just over one year of existence. The program has struggled with the ratings, with an average in the 70s in the 25-54 demo for a period of time. However, breaking news coverage has lifted all ships at CNN and New Day has improved in the demo this year. The show tends to get in second place behind Fox & Friends or third place behind HLN’s Morning Express with Robin Meade. With two major stories in the crash of MH17 and the Israeli-Palestine war, the show that was once criticized for being too rigid is now much different than it was.
When New Day premiered on CNN last June, the show had energy and segments. Almost every part of the show was predetermined, the only variety was the stories that would be covered day-to-day. Everything else was scheduled and followed to a tee, including what hour certain segments would appear in. However, as ratings declined and The Daily Show took aim at the show, New Day slowly ditched the segments and became almost a three-hour rolling block of news. The only segments left were the occasional Bleacher Report and The Good Stuff which appears at the end of the show. To add insult to injury, reports of fighting between the co-hosts were posted online and the frequent guessing game was not if New Day would be changed, but when. When Alisyn Camerota announced she was leaving Fox News, the speculation was that she would join CNN. When it was finally announced that she would join CNN, the speculation changed to how she would fit in at New Day. Again the speculation was not if she would even be a part of the morning program, but it was assumed that would happen so the speculation regarded how that would affect the show. However, Camerota, so far, has had a nightly role co-anchoring CNN Tonight with Don Lemon.
However this past week has found success for New Day, which looks noticeably different. The show has been utilizing five personalities, Michaela, Kate, Chris, John Berman, and Wolf Blitzer. John Berman, the co-anchor of Early Start with Christine Romans and @ThisHour with Michaela Periera, has been a constant presence on New Day. He previously hosted a segment called the New Day Award of the Day Award and he is the primary fill-in anchor for Chris and Michaela. New Day has gone from the old Today format of male-female co-anchors, a news anchor, and a weather anchor to the new Today style of several main personalities.
The aesthetics of the show have even been altered. The background has been changed from its normal New York City skyline to floating images relating to the MH17 crash. The skyline background is rarely changed, except for Midterm 2014 coverage. Also, the hourly introduction has changed. Previously, the introduction was handled in one of two ways. Chris Cuomo would say, “Your New Day continues right now,” and a montage of videos relating to the top stores would play. The other method would be that each anchor tells a quick blurb on one if the three top stories and then pictures of the anchors would show along with a sunrise and the New Day animated logo. For now, the intro is handled by Cuomo and Blitzer, both of whom are on location. Wolf has been in Jerusalem covering the Israel-Hamas war. Cuomo has been throughout Europe covering the MH17 crash, especially the victims.
Blitzer has been a de facto anchor on New Day for roughly the past week. New Day airs from 6-9 AM Eastern time, which is 1-4 PM for Blitzer in Jerusalem. In that sense, he is used to anchoring at 1 PM, which is when Wolf comes on. The new ensemble even handles interviews together with the questioning coming from New York, Jerusalem, and wherever Cuomo is. A recent example would be the interview conducting with former Secretary of State Madeline Albright. Blitzer has been one of the most frequent CNN personalities to appear on New Day, thanks in part to filling in for Carol Costello’s show that follows New Day last summer. Also, Blitzer used to co-anchor the 6 P.M. hour of The Situation Room with Bolduan, co-anchored the main portion of CNN’s 2013 Inauguration coverage with her, and she has described Blitzer as her “mentor” and one of the people who’s done the most for her. Blitzer has also occasionally tweeted about New Day, urging followers to watch the show that he says he watches on the treadmill.