CNN Tonight

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CNN Tonight
Logo used since 2022.
GenreNews program
Presented byAlisyn Camerota
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Production locations30 Hudson Yards
New York City
Camera setupMulti-camera
Original networkCNN
Original release
  • November 30, 2009 (2009-11-30) – January 15, 2010 (2010-01-15)
  • December 6, 2021 (2021-12-06) – 2023
Erin Burnett OutFront
Anderson Cooper 360°

CNN Tonight was a news program broadcast by U.S. cable network CNN. The program aired from 10 p.m.–12 a.m. ET, and was hosted by Alisyn Camerota until late 2023.

The CNN Tonight branding has primarily been used for transitional programs aired by CNN in the evening and prime time hours as part of changes to its programming lineup—including the departure (either voluntary or via termination) or reassignment of anchors. It was first used for a short-lived program in 2001 anchored by Bill Hemmer.[1] In November 2009, CNN Tonight temporarily replaced Lou Dobbs Tonight after Lou Dobbs' departure from the network. In April 2014, a third iteration premiered as a 10 p.m. ET program, as part of schedule changes following the cancellation of Piers Morgan Live; this iteration would later become a full-time program hosted by Don Lemon, and was renamed Don Lemon Tonight in May 2021.

In December 2021, the title was reinstated in the 9 p.m. hour as a replacement for Cuomo Prime Time (and produced by that program's staff), after Chris Cuomo was fired from the network over allegations and evidence of sexual misconduct.[2] Don Lemon departed his program in October 2022 to move to CNN This Morning; on October 10, ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, Jake Tapper became an interim host of the 9 p.m. hour, and Don Lemon Tonight was replaced with hours of CNN Tonight hosted by Alisyn Camerota and Laura Coates.

In late-February 2023, the 9 p.m. hour was replaced with an anthology of special reports and interviews under the branding CNN Primetime. The hour's permanent replacement, The Source with Kaitlan Collins, premiered on July 10. In August 2023, CNN subsequently announced that Abby Phillip and Laura Coates would become permanent hosts of the 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. hours as CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillip and Laura Coates Live respectively.


As a transitional replacement for Lou Dobbs Tonight[edit]

On November 11, 2009, Lou Dobbs abruptly announced his departure from CNN and Lou Dobbs Tonight to "pursue new opportunities". His departure came amid growing controversy over his promotion of Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories.[3][4] CNN announced that Lou Dobbs Tonight would be replaced in the 7:00 p.m. ET hour by CNN Tonight, an interim program hosted by a rotation of anchors (which would include John Roberts, Erica Hill, and Tom Foreman),[5] until the premiere of a new program hosted by CNN's chief national correspondent John King.[6][7]

CNN Tonight ran until January 18, 2010, when The Situation Room was pushed into its timeslot by the premiere of Rick's List.[8] Its permanent replacement, John King, USA, premiered on March 22, 2010.[9]

As a transitional program in 2014, Don Lemon Tonight[edit]

On April 10, 2014, after the cancellation of Piers Morgan Live, CNN announced that it would begin to air CNN original series and documentaries in the 9:00 p.m. ET hour to replace Piers Morgan (as part of a larger push towards factual and reality content by new CNN head Jeff Zucker), and premiere the new program CNN Tonight at 10:00 p.m., which would feature "a live hour of the day’s biggest stories".[10][11] The hour had most recently been used for sporadic broadcasts of the Anderson Cooper 360° spin-off AC360° Later,[12] pilot episodes of The Don Lemon Show, and special coverage of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 hosted by Don Lemon.[13]

CNN Tonight premiered on April 15, 2014, with Bill Weir anchoring from Boston to cover the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing.[14][15] It returned to CNN's studio the following night, with Weir presenting the program from the set formerly used by Piers Morgan Live (albeit using a store-bought office desk placed off to the side from its main desk and interview area).[16][17] Don Lemon later became the permanent host of the hour, after which it evolved from a straight newscast to a personality-based program similar to CNN's other prime time shows.[13][18]

On May 14, 2021, Lemon announced during that night's episode that it would be "the last night that we'll be CNN Tonight with Don Lemon", and teased a major change to the program on May 17. The following day, amid speculation by viewers that he was leaving CNN, Lemon announced on social media that the show was being renamed Don Lemon Tonight beginning May 17.[13][18] He apologized for the confusion, saying that he "didn't mean to set the internet on fire".[19]

Since the cancellation of Cuomo Prime Time and Don Lemon Tonight (2021-2023)[edit]

On December 1, 2021, CNN received allegations and documentary evidence that Chris Cuomo—who had already been suspended indefinitely following reports that he assisted in the defense against the sexual harassment allegations that led to the resignation of his brother Andrew Cuomo as governor of New York[20][21]—had engaged in sexual misconduct involving a former colleague, represented by attorney Debra Katz. She has since claimed that this allegation precipitated his firing from CNN.[2]

On December 6, his show Cuomo Prime Time was replaced with CNN Tonight; the program is produced by the Cuomo Prime Time staff and hosted by rotating anchors, with Michael Smerconish having hosted the first week of shows.[22][23] As of June 2022, the program had largely remained in third place among cable news channels in the 9 p.m. hour, behind MSNBC Prime (a retooling of The Rachel Maddow Show similarly featuring rotating anchors, after Maddow moved to a weekly schedule in May 2022 to accommodate other projects) and Fox News Channel's Hannity.[24]

On September 22, 2022, ahead of the midterm elections and Don Lemon's upcoming move to CNN This Morning, it was announced that Jake Tapper would vacate his afternoon show The Lead and temporarily host CNN Tonight at 9:00 p.m., while Alisyn Camerota and Laura Coates would share a 10 p.m. hour of CNN Tonight to replace Lemon.[25][26] Don Lemon Tonight aired its final episode on October 7, 2022.[27] The premiere of CNN Tonight with Jake Tapper on October 10 featured interviews with Joe Biden and Dwayne Johnson; while still finishing third overall, it did see an improvement in average viewership over the hour in September 2022, and that night's edition finished second behind MSNBC's Alex Wagner Tonight in the 25-54 demographic.[28]

In January 2023, it was announced that Camerota and Coates would host the 10 and 11 p.m. hours of CNN Tonight respectively.[29] On February 3, 2023, CNN began to air Overtime, the post-show segment of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, as part of the 11:00 p.m. hour of CNN Tonight on Friday nights.[30] On February 28, the 9:00 p.m. hour of CNN Tonight was replaced with CNN Primetime, which would feature a rotation of various special reports, town halls, and interviews.[31][32][33] By March 2023, Coates had been quietly dropped from the 11:00 p.m. hour, thus extending Camerota's program to two hours; a CNN employee told Business Insider that the network had cited a lack of employees available to staff that hour, but that her removal from the primetime lineup had led to concerns over the network's recent treatment of African-American personalities.[34]

On May 17, 2023, CNN announced that Kaitlan Collins would host a new show in the 9 p.m. hour beginning in June 2023.[35] In early-July, it was announced that the new program, The Source with Kaitlan Collins, would premiere on July 10.[36] On August 14, 2023, CNN announced changes to its primetime lineup resulting in the end of CNN Tonight-branded programs, with Abby Phillip hosting the new 10 p.m. show CNN NewsNight, and Coates (who had since been promoted to CNN's chief legal analyst)[37] becoming permanent host of the 11 p.m. hour as Laura Coates Live.[38][39]


  1. ^ Brian (July 19, 2005). "After Ten Years At CNN, Bill Hemmer Joins Fox News As Anchor & Correspondent". TVNewser. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Bursztynsky, Jessica (December 5, 2021). "Sexual misconduct allegation against Chris Cuomo led to his firing from CNN, attorney says". CNBC. Retrieved December 10, 2021.
  3. ^ Stelter, Brian; Carter, Bill (November 11, 2009). "Lou Dobbs to Quit CNN". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 13, 2009. Retrieved November 11, 2009.
  4. ^ "Dobbs' Focus On Obama Birth Draws Fire To CNN". NPR. Archived from the original on April 23, 2010. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
  5. ^ "Anchors to Rotate for 'CNN Tonight'". Retrieved September 22, 2022.
  6. ^ "CNN's John King to replace Lou Dobbs". Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  7. ^ "John King to replace CNN's departing Lou Dobbs". Reuters. November 12, 2009. Retrieved September 22, 2022.
  8. ^ "Rick's List: A New, Twitter-Happy CNN Show For Rick Sanchez; An Hour Less Wolf". Mediaite. December 22, 2009. Retrieved September 24, 2022.
  9. ^ "CNN's newest show: 'John King, USA'". CNN. Retrieved September 22, 2022.
  10. ^ Carter, Bill (April 10, 2014). "CNN to Show Documentaries in 9 P.M. Time Slot". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  11. ^ "CNN Keeps Burnett, Cooper in Primetime While Adding 'CNN Tonight' at 10 P.M." Variety. Archived from the original on April 13, 2014. Retrieved April 11, 2014.
  12. ^ "'AC360 Later' Removed from CNN Schedule". TVNewser. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  13. ^ a b c "CNN Tonight with Don Lemon Is Now Don Lemon Tonight". TVNewser. Retrieved May 16, 2021.
  14. ^ "'CNN Tonight' debuts". NewscastStudio. Retrieved September 28, 2022.
  15. ^ "Where's CNN's Bill Weir Been? Turns Out, Just About Everywhere". TVNewser. Archived from the original on September 28, 2015. Retrieved May 16, 2021.
  16. ^ "Own CNN's Office Max desk today!". NewscastStudio. Retrieved September 28, 2022.
  17. ^ "Really CNN? This is a desk?". NewscastStudio. Retrieved May 16, 2021.
  18. ^ a b Brodesser-Akner, Taffy (April 20, 2015). "Anchorman: The Legend of Don Lemon". GQ. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  19. ^ "Don Lemon 'set the internet on fire' over name change to show". New York Daily News. Retrieved October 9, 2022.
  20. ^ Fandos, Nicholas; Gold, Michael; Ashford, Grace; Rubinstein, Dana (November 29, 2021). "Chris Cuomo Played Outsize Role in Ex-Gov. Cuomo's Defense". The New York Times. Retrieved November 30, 2021.
  21. ^ Darcy, Oliver; Stelter, Brian (November 20, 2021). "CNN suspends Chris Cuomo indefinitely". CNN. Retrieved November 30, 2021.
  22. ^ Stelter, Brian (December 6, 2021). "With Chris Cuomo gone from CNN, another cable news time slot is up for grabs". CNN. Archived from the original on December 6, 2021. Retrieved December 10, 2021.
  23. ^ "'CNN Tonight' goes gold in its return to network as Cuomo replacement". NewscastStudio. Retrieved December 10, 2021.
  24. ^ Hipes, Patrick (June 27, 2022). "Alex Wagner To Take Over Rachel Maddow's Time Slot At MSNBC". Deadline. Retrieved June 27, 2022.
  25. ^ Steinberg, Brian (September 22, 2022). "CNN Has Temporary Primetime Assignments for Jake Tapper, Laura Coates, Alisyn Camerota". Variety. Retrieved September 22, 2022.
  26. ^ "CNN Announces New Programming Lineup Through Midterm Elections". CNN Press Room. Warner Bros. Discovery. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  27. ^ Tinoco, Armando (October 9, 2022). "Don Lemon Says Goodbye To CNN Primetime Show With Emotional Farewell Ahead Of Morning Show Debut". Deadline. Retrieved October 9, 2022.
  28. ^ Johnson, Ted (October 12, 2022). "CNN Comes In Third In Total Viewers, Second In Demo With Jake Tapper's Debut Night Featuring Joe Biden Interview". Deadline. Retrieved October 13, 2022.
  29. ^ Darcy, Oliver (January 11, 2023). "CNN announces revamped daytime lineup with new show format". CNN. Retrieved March 3, 2023.
  30. ^ "'Are We Really on CNN?' Bill Maher's Overtime Makes Cable News Debut As He Asks, 'Did They Go Nuts?'". Mediaite. February 4, 2023. Retrieved March 3, 2023.
  31. ^ Steinberg, Brian (February 18, 2023). "CNN Readies 'CNN Primetime' For 9 PM Hour". Variety. Retrieved March 3, 2023.
  32. ^ Steinberg, Brian (February 27, 2023). "CNN Bets News, Not Big Names, Will Capture Crowds at 9 PM". Variety. Retrieved March 3, 2023.
  33. ^ Johnson, Dominic Patten,Ted; Patten, Dominic; Johnson, Ted (March 1, 2023). "Bill Maher Predicts Joe Biden Beats Donald Trump In 2024 Match Up; HBO Host Center Stage As CNN Launches New 9 PM Strategy". Deadline. Retrieved March 3, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  34. ^ Atkinson, Claire. "CNN is cutting Laura Coates' solo anchor slot to save on costs, and some Black staffers are concerned about lack of on-air representation". Business Insider. Archived from the original on April 19, 2023. Retrieved May 17, 2023.
  35. ^ Frazier, Kierra (May 17, 2023). "CNN's Kaitlan Collins to anchor new show". Politico. Retrieved May 17, 2023.
  36. ^ Johnson, Ted (July 5, 2023). "Kaitlan Collins' New CNN Show 'The Source' Gets July Premiere Date". Deadline. Retrieved July 11, 2023.
  37. ^ Lindsay, Benjamin (May 5, 2023). "CNN Promotes Laura Coates to Chief Legal Analyst". TheWrap. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  38. ^ Darcy, Oliver (August 14, 2023). "CNN announces sweeping new lineup ahead of 2024 election | CNN Business". CNN. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  39. ^ Johnson, Ted (August 14, 2023). "CNN Unveils Lineup Overhaul: Abby Phillip And Laura Coates Get Nighttime Shows, Phil Mattingly and Kasie Hunt To Host In Mornings". Deadline. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
Preceded by
The Source w/ Kaitlan Collins
CNN Tonight
10:00 PM – 12:00 AM
Succeeded by
Anderson Cooper 360° (replay)
(Following First Airing)
CNN Newsroom Live
(Following Second Airing)