Chris Cuomo placed last in his return to prime-time television — drawing just 147,000 viewers, 20 times less than Fox News competitor Tucker Carlson with 2.875 million.
Cuomo’s new 8 p.m. show with young and underperforming network NewsNation, titled simply Cuomo, debuted Monday with guests including John Bolton, Dan Rather and Bill Maher.
The new show represents Cuomo’s re-entry into the world of prime-time news coverage and commentary since he was fired by CNN last December.
Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson Tonight led the pack Monday with 2.875 million views, similar to what Cuomo used to see while hosting his show on CNN.
MSNBC’s All in with Chris Hayes was second with 1.403 million viewers, and CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 was third with 814,000. Newsmax’s The Balance, hosted by Eric Bolling, drew 151,000 viewers, a few thousand more than Cuomo, who received 147,000.
Chris Cuomo launched his new show on NewsNation on Monday
Cuomo reportedly earns $1 million a year at NewsNation — a steep drop from his CNN salary of $6 million annually
The new show comes after Cuomo was fired from CNN last December for helping his brother Andrew avoid sexual harassment allegations.
An investigation by the New York state attorney general found that Cuomo had called reporters in an effort to identify his brother’s accusers.
Cuomo is suing the company for $125 million in unpaid wages and defamation, it was reported in March.
During the new show on Monday night, he told viewers he had ‘learned lessons’ and was ‘humbled by what happened. He also said he was hungry to do better than before, promising to “do more to not just play or even referee the game.”
Cuomo has previously admitted that his return will be to a significantly smaller channel, telling podcast host Kara Swisher last week that he knew his new show was a step down.
That reality is reflected in his new annual salary of $1 million, the New York Post reported, significantly less than the $6 million he earned at CNN.
While working at CNN, Cuomo also enjoyed a generous travel allowance that allowed him to fly between Manhattan and his home in the Hamptons. It’s not clear what kind of compensation he will get from NewsNation, which has built him a studio from which to host the show in the city at its 42nd Street office.
Chris Cuomo speaks to Bill Maher Monday on the newly constructed set at the NewsNation studios on 42nd Street
Cuomo’s CNN show Cuomo Primetime was the highest-rated prime-time news show in 2019 and 2020. It averaged 2 million viewers nightly in 2020. The channel did better then than it is now.
Cuomo became a prominent figure for his coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the show would include segments with his brother Andrew Cuomo, who was governor of New York at the time and led the state’s fight against the virus.
But after sexual misconduct allegations sparked his older brother’s death in late 2021, his was fired from CNN not long after.
NewsNation is an underdog of the news networks and averaged 46,000 viewers in prime time last year, the Washington Post reported.
Launched in September 2020 by Nextar Media Group, the young channel was intended to be impartial and neutral, seeking a viewership in the middle of the political spectrum. Since its full launch last year, NewsNation has failed to capture an audience there.
Still, Cuomo drew more than three times as much on Monday night, but now faces a challenge if he wants to stay relevant after the blow he suffered last December.
Insiders have suggested that if Cuomo can consistently draw 100,000 viewers per show on NewsNation, executives will consider his salary worth the money.
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