Cuomo, who was fired from his CNN primetime show in December, also said that he had “learned lessons good and bad” since then.
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“I’ve relied on my friends, my family, my therapist, and thankfully, it’s been the case that what doesn’t kill us, does make us stronger,” Cuomo said in an extended, 15-minute opener. “I’ve been humbled by what happened but I am also hungry to do better in a way that I have never done before. So this show is going to be different from what I have done in the past because I’m different.”
His pitch to viewers was that too much of the national conversation is being framed as left or right, especially in media, when the “extremes are not America’s majority.”
“I’m not to follow the pack. I’m here to expose the game. When you see it, I’m going to say it, and I am going to show you, this is why things get covered this way. This is what this move means by the left. This is what this means by the right. And I believe that we can focus on common ground with our leaders here and the collective will to find solutions.”
The approach to the show is in sync with NewsNation’s genesis: A neutral news outlet to counter other major cable news networks. But since its launch in 2020, NewsNation has drawn just a fraction of the viewers of CNN, MSNBC or Fox News, and it’s been adding names like Cuomo, Ashleigh Banfield and Dan Abrams to its nightly lineup.
Cuomo’s dismissal from CNN came after an outside law firm was retained to discover how much he aided his brother, former New York state governor Andrew Cuomo, when he was accused of sexual harassment. At the time, a spokesperson for Cuomo called his dismissal “unwarranted.”
In his opener, Chris Cuomo told viewers, “Shakespeare wrote in The Tempest, that the past is prologue, meaning all that has happened before led to this moment. And it is with me being here with you tonight.”
In an interview with Abrams in July, Cuomo also denied allegations of sexual assault. Shortly after he was terminated, The New York Times reported that that allegations, brought to the attention of CNN management, involved a sexual assault claim by a junior colleague at another network.
Cuomo’s guests on the first show were former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, former National Security Adviser John Bolton, talk host Bill Maher and Dan Rather. All are hardly unfamiliar to cable news viewers. But Cuomo suggested that the difference in his show will be in its focus. As an example, he said that after the media attention has shifted from the destruction of Hurricane Ian, the show would focus on residents’ struggles with insurance claims. “We will be there, and I will stay on that. Most won’t, but this show is not going to be typical.”
That said, Cuomo made clear that he was hardly splitting the difference between partisan sides. Maher and Rather warned about the future of democracy, while Cuomo told viewers that “you got to look at both sides, but it doesn’t mean that it’s a 50-50 split. In politics what you ignore you often empower. And the right has made a mistake in its silence for too long. Our election was not stolen. Your Republican leaders know this.”
Cuomo said that the show also would take viewer calls, and he started with his mother, Matilda. “You being on the show is just making everybody feel good,” she said.
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