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On Tuesday, March 29, CNN will finally flip the switch and go live with a streaming service for which the news network has gone on a big hiring spree — securing marquee names like Chris Wallace, who was previously at Fox News — and which will add yet another paid subscription service to the pile of apps and platforms that already pipe content onto people’s TVs and phones.
That latter point is another way of saying: Launching CNN+ is an unquestionably huge gamble on CNN’s part. It’s a bet on everything from customers having a willingness to pay for yet another streaming service, to whether there’s sufficient appetite in the marketplace for an additional, premium CNN format among people who are already probably getting the channel as part of a TV package now. Do you love CNN so much that you’re willing to pay … for more CNN?
The network will know the answer to that question soon enough. Having said all that, CNN has also tried to give the fledgling streamer a bit of a leg up from the outset. It’s priced pretty aggressively, for example, costing just $2.99 per month for the life of the subscription for anyone who signs up within the first four weeks, post-launch. After that, the monthly price ticks up to $5.99, on par with Fox News Media’s Fox Nation streaming service. Meanwhile, you could also argue that it’s largely the content that will make or break what CNN is trying to do here.
And to that end, the final programming details along those lines have just materialized, ahead of a CNN+ launch party on Monday night at Hudson Yards in New York City.
On Wednesday, CNN unveiled the official live daily and weekly CNN+ schedule for the first month (after which other shows that are still in production will incrementally go live, as they’re ready). First up, below, is the daily programming schedule, which will cover 7 am EST to 7:30 pm EST on weekdays. Also, an important word about this lineup: When users open CNN’s app (which will allow for a toggling between either CNN+ or the main CNN TV feed), there will be a notification of some sort detailing which show is currently in progress, live at that moment on CNN+.
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The user at that point can either jump into the live program, or choose instead to watch some of the library content that will be available on CNN+. It’s a library that will include titles like The Murdochs: Empire of Influence, a six-part series debuting on CNN+ at launch which explores the legacy and dynasty of Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch.
Speaking of that library of content, if you miss any of the live shows detailed below, they’ll simply roll onto the on-demand pile, streamable at your leisure, once they’ve aired. Also worth knowing from the outset is the fact that breaking news will sometimes interrupt the live CNN+ “feed.” But it won’t be the CNN TV live feed that breaks in to offer that coverage — that will be done, instead, by a dedicated CNN+ breaking news team.
“Our lineup of live daily news and dynamic weekly shows set CNN+ apart from anything else in the marketplace,” CNN+ head of programming Rebecca Kutler said, as part of Wednesday’s programming announcement. “Our world-class storytellers will inform and entertain our subscribers and we will continue to grow and evolve in the months and years to come.”
The weekday live program schedule includes:
- 7:00 am EST: 5 Things with Kate Bolduan – This program is an expansion of what CNN says is its most popular newsletter as well as the 5 Things companion podcast. Hosted by CNN anchor Kate Bolduan, 5 Things will give viewers “the five stories you need to know to start your day.”
- 8:00 AM EST: Go There – Go There will let viewers join CNN crews vicariously in order to “go there” — to go, specifically, behind the scenes with CNN reporters and correspondents covering news all over the world.
- 9:00 AM EST: The Big Picture with Sara Sidner – CNN’s Sara Sidner will host conversations during this time slot with CNN reporters and expert guests, to offer context and deeper insight around a big, important story of the day.
- 11:00 AM EST: Reliable Sources Daily – CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter produces a dishy, scoop-filled roundup of each day’s media news in his Reliable Sources newsletter, as part of a brand that also encompasses a Sunday show and podcast. This daily show will expand on all that, offering a deep dive into how and why the day’s top stories have become news.
- 4:00 PM EST: The Source with Kasie Hunt – This show helmed by CNN anchor and chief national affairs analyst Kasie Hunt will offer interviews and analysis for news and politics junkies, as Hunt “travels around the nation’s capital to dissect the power structures behind policies impacting communities across the country.”
- 5:00 PM EST: The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo – This show will offer an in-depth rundown of the top international news stories over the past 24 hours, hosted by CNN’s Bianca Nobilo.
- 6:00 PM EST: Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace? – Fox News veteran Chris Wallace shocked everyone at the end of 2021, when his abrupt departure from his longtime network home was announced — ahead of word that he would be joining CNN+ as an anchor. For this show, he’ll host conversations with newsmakers from what CNN promises will be a wide spectrum of news subject areas, not just politics. With new episodes Monday through Thursday.
- 7:30 PM EST: The Newscast with Wolf Blitzer – CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer will use this time slot to put the latest headlines in perspective, featuring original reporting from around the world, as well as investigations and consumer-focused stories.
Next up are the programs that will air less often — twice weekly, for example:
- Anderson Cooper Full Circle – This first of two CNN+ shows from anchor Anderson Cooper will air twice-weekly (on Tuesdays and Saturdays) and feature the veteran newsman interviewing “authors, entertainers, mindfulness experts and community leaders,” with a special focus on stories outside of the nation’s capital.
- Parental Guidance with Anderson Cooper – Cooper’s second CNN+ program (airing on Wednesdays) will find the new dad soliciting parenting advice from experts especially with working parents in mind. Per CNN+, Anderson will “confront everyday challenges from sleep schedules to screen time to audience questions about relatable daily struggles.
- Boss Files with Poppy Harlow – CNN anchor Poppy Harlow will sit down on Mondays with the “biggest names in business” for conversations about how personal and professional struggles have helped them succeed.
- Jake Tapper’s Book Club – Each Sunday, CNN anchor and chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper, who’s also a New York Times bestselling author himself, will interview news-making and high-profile authors, as well as a few of his favorite writers from over the years.
- No Mercy No Malice with Scott Galloway – Here’s what CNN has to say about the forthcoming show on Thursdays from entrepreneur, bestselling author and business professor Scott Galloway. He “isn’t afraid to make bold predictions and hold the powerful accountable. His unapologetic take is essential viewing for anyone interested in how business, tech and society intersect. Prepare to be enlightened and entertained.”
Farther out, new CNN+ programming is also coming from CNN anchor Don Lemon and social media personality and former basketball star Rex Chapman in April, with additional shows from Audie Cornish as well as a show from co-hosts Jemele Hill and Cari Champion launching in May.