Anderson Cooper, a regular contributor to “60 Minutes,” will now lead CNN’s attempt to mount a Sunday-evening challenge to it.
Cooper will lead a new Sunday newsmagazine, “The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper,” that will present one-hour deep dives into specific topics, interviews, profiles and investigations The show will debut Sunday, April 16 at 8 p.m., and in many ways attempts to build off of series hosted by Lisa Ling or W. Kamau Bell that took viewers to a specific part of the country or inside a particular topic over the course of an hour.
More from Variety
- CNN Aims to Dunk on Fox News in March Madness Promo Blitz (EXCLUSIVE)
- CNN Wins First Oscar for ‘Navalny’
- CNN Bets News, Not Big Names, Will Capture Crowds at 9 PM
“Powered by CNN’s unmatched global journalism operation, ‘The Whole Story’ goes behind the headlines, touching every continent and corner of the planet, as we bring our viewers into the heart of the essential stories of our time,” said CNN Chairman and CEO Chris Licht, in a statement.
The show has been on CNN’s drawing board for nearly a year. Licht first articulated a plan for a Sunday program — and a larger block of premium programming on Sunday nights — at last year’s upfront. “Whole Story” would appear to be paired with Chris Wallace’s interview program, which runs at 7 p.m. eastern.
Trying to make a big news splash on Sundays is a challenge others have attempted to navigate in the past. CBS’ “60 Minutes,” often boosted by viewership for the Sunday NFL games that precede it, has long been one of TV’s most-watched programs, even in an era when viewers are moving away from regular appointments with linear TV. NBC News has launched several attempts to mount a rival newsmagazine, including “Rock Center” and “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly,” only to be thwarted by expenses and viewership shortfalls. “Whole Story” recalibrates the formula somewhat by focusing on a single topic for its entire length.
Susan Chun, a longtime producer on the CNN weeknight program “Anderson Cooper 360,” will serve as executive producer of the new series. Cooper is expected to maintain his regular duties on his Monday through Friday program.
Several episodes of “Whole Story” have already been sketched out. In one, Sara Sidner will travel to San Francisco to explore some of the political and social issues that plague it. In another, Pamela Brown will examine claims that attempt to link Johnson & Johnson’s now-discontinued talc baby powder to cancer. David Culver is slated to explore the psychedelic properties of psilocybin. Erica Hill will take viewers behind the scenes of the coronation of King Charles III. And Nick Paton Walsh will embed with a group of migrants as they travel from South America to seek asylum in the United States.