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CNN is rebooting its mornings with a new program hosted by Chris Cuomo and Kate Bolduan that will debut later this spring, hoping its behind-the-scenes firepower can create something distinctive for a crowded marketplace.
The show, which will originate in New York and doesn't have a name yet, will also feature Los Angeles local TV anchor Michaela Pereira as the news anchor.
The senior executive producer, Jim Murphy, promised viewers a "different kind of conversation and a fresher and more energetic program than they're used to."
Cuomo jumped from ABC News to CNN largely for the morning opportunity. He was the news anchor at "Good Morning America" from 2006 to 2009 and went to "20/20" after George Stephanopoulos got the main hosting job in the morning.
Bolduan has covered Congress for CNN and been co-host with Wolf Blitzer of "The Situation Room" in the late afternoon.
Both Murphy and his boss, CNN chief executive Jeff Zucker, have extensive morning show experience. Zucker's success as executive producer of the "Today" show in the 1990s helped him move up the executive ranks at NBC. Murphy was the top executive at ABC's "Good Morning America" from 2006 to 2011.
CNN has struggled in the mornings, averaging 252,000 viewers so far this year, the Nielsen company said.
The broadcast networks ABC, NBC and CBS all have morning shows with larger audiences than anything on cable. In cable, CNN's competitors have distinctive programs and personalities: "Fox & Friends," which averages 1.1 million viewers, and MSNBC's "Morning Joe," which has 420,000 viewers. CNN runs close with its sister network, HLN, which airs Robin Meade's morning show (223,000 viewers). Within a youthful news demographic, CNN runs fourth.
Murphy kept much of his plans under wrap for competitive reasons. He said the show will feel familiar to morning news viewers.
"The key to success in this day-part is having great personalities who know how to talk to each other, to their guests and to the public in a way where you just want to be there, with someone you want to have coffee with," he said.
CNN tested and interviewed at least 10 internal and external candidates before settling on Bolduan, who Zucker said left executives "floored with excitement" when they saw her pairing with Cuomo. CNN prime-time anchor Erin Burnett was widely considered to have the inside shot at the job, but she will remain in the evenings.
Murphy said he's still debating whether to have a regular weather forecaster as part of the team. His top deputy will be Matt Frucci.