Chris Wallace will host primetime CNN Sunday night show after jumping ship to join doomed CNN+

Former Fox News host Chris Wallace has landed a CNN primetime hosting gig a few weeks after his interview show on the doomed CNN+ app was canned. 

Wallace left Fox News in December after 18 years at the network to join the streaming service CNN+, on a reputed $12m-a-year deal.

That was axed after just 22 days because of poor subscriber numbers.

But Wallace, 74, is getting a second chance at the network this coming fall where he will host a primetime show on Sunday nights, CNN CEO Chris Licht announced at Warner Bros. Discovery upfronts on Wednesday. 

Chris Wallace (pictured) is getting a second chance at CNN this coming fall where he will host a primetime show on Sunday nights

Chris Wallace (pictured) is getting a second chance at CNN this coming fall where he will host a primetime show on Sunday nights

CNN CEO Chris Licht (pictured) announced Wallace's show will be part of a new 'CNN Sunday' programming block and will also be available to stream on HBO Max

CNN CEO Chris Licht (pictured) announced Wallace’s show will be part of a new ‘CNN Sunday’ programming block and will also be available to stream on HBO Max

The show will be part of a new ‘CNN Sunday’ programming block and will also be available to stream on HBO Max, the Hollywood Reporter reported. 

Licht said that news network is looking to move away from the ‘extremes’ that are currently dominating cable news

‘Truth, fact and news that has real impact in their (viewers) lives is how we plan CNN’s future,’ he said. 

The network says it plan to apply that to morning news as well. 

‘We are seeking to be a disrupter to the broadcast morning shows in this space, and we believe we have the resources to do it,’ Licht, who has previously served as executive producer of both MSNBC’s Morning Joe and CBS This Morning, said.  

Discovery CEO David Zaslav said also made it clear that the network would be pivoting towards straight news reporting. 

‘People in America are looking for a place where people aren’t yelling and giving their opinions and they’re looking for more news. That’s what you’ll see from CNN,’ Zaslav told CNBC’s Squawkbox.

Discovery CEO David Zaslav said that Americans are looking for a news source where people aren't yelling at them or giving their opinion

Discovery CEO David Zaslav said that Americans are looking for a news source where people aren’t yelling at them or giving their opinion

After spending $300 million, CNN+ was shutdown and 300 employees were fired within weeks of launching

After spending $300 million, CNN+ was shutdown and 300 employees were fired within weeks of launching

Stars of CNN+ including Kasie Hunt (third left), Chris Wallace (next to Hunt) and Anderson Cooper (third right) are seen on March 28 celebrating the launch of the streaming service

Stars of CNN+ including Kasie Hunt (third left), Chris Wallace (next to Hunt) and Anderson Cooper (third right) are seen on March 28 celebrating the launch of the streaming service

Zaslav said that the Atlanta-based cable news company would steer away from the left-leaning advocacy outlet it had become. 

‘We think that CNN is a critical asset to us. It’ a leader in news gathering around he world. Most of the cable networks around the world and here in the US are advocacy networks. There’re advocacy networks to the left, there’re advocacy networks to the right. We think there’s a real opportunity for CNN,’ he said making a motion in middle with his hand.’

Zaslav told MSNBC Wednesday that there’d been ‘no message’ behind the axing of the $300 million megaflop CNN+ beyond its exceptionally poor sign-up rate.

‘On CNN+ there was no message,’ he said. ‘It was a business decision.’

‘We looked at it. We looked at the data. They had spent an enormous amount of money trying to sell an independent product.

‘The subscribers weren’t there. The users weren’t there. We looked at it together. We had a chance to look at all the data, and when we looked at the data the business wasn’t there.’

CNN+, which would charge $5.99 per month, had only attracted 150,000 subscribers in the first few weeks. Axed former CNN CEO Jeff Zucker spent $300 million on the service, which was axed on April 27 with the loss of 300 jobs. 

Zaslav told Squawkbox that it was time for the network to stop chasing business trends after the downturn in Netflix, a leader in the streaming business, which laid of 1500 employees this week after it lost 200,000 subscribers in the first three months of 2022.

‘It is about streaming and about streaming growth, but it’s also about business fundamentals. It’s about free cashflow. It’s about earnings. We’re larger than any of the broadcasters and their portfolios and we go to market with a real good business, a traditional business,’ Zaslav said. 

CNN+ had promised to be a new frontier in the news business, offering original programming separate from what the company airs on its news channel.

One top producer even went as far to call the streaming service CNN’s Apollo Mission – comparing it to the successful moon landing, the Wall Street Journal reports, and network recruiters told potential hires it was prepared to spend $1 billion over four years on the endeavor.

But after Zaslav found out that it was only being streamed by 5,000 to 10,000 people at any given moment – he decided to pull the plug.

By April 21, Licht told staff that CNN+ was ending.

 The company had promised to provide positions for the staff members it laid off with positions elsewhere in the company, and those who were not placed in other positions, the Journal reports, will get six months severance pay as long as they do not leave the company within 90 days.

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