Exclusive: CNN is planning to launch a new 5 AM program to be anchored by Ali Velshi, sources familiar with the matter tell TVNewser.
A name and launch date have not been set, but it will likely launch at the end of June or early July. Staffers have already been lined up, with most of the production to come out of Atlanta, while Velshi will be based out of New York.
The program is being described as a stage-setter for the day ahead, while also giving viewers the news that morning, and highlights from the night before. In addition to hosting the 5 AM show, Velshi will continue on as co-anchor of “American morning.”
The 5 AM show is not considered to be a permanent addition to the lineup. That said, if it does well it could become a daily fixture on the channel. In that regard it is essentially a pilot, albeit a drawn-out version of one.
As a result of the move, Velshi’s usual 1-3PM ET slot will be staffed by fill-in hosts, providing some scheduling flexibility for CNN.
Willie Geist has a similar morning show arrangement at MSNBC. Geist hosts “Way Too Early” at 5:30 AM ET, then serves as a co-host on “Morning Joe” starting at 6 AM.