The network revealed Tapper will move back to his afternoon slot, hosting The Lead. His nighttime replacement has not yet been announced.
“As part of a special lineup, Jake agreed to anchor the 9p hour through the midterm elections. At the completion of that schedule, he’ll be returning to his award-winning program The Lead. We will announce post-election plans for that time slot in the coming days,” a CNN spokesman told Semafor.
Tapper stepped into the primetime slot earlier this year, taking up the spot previously held by disgraced anchor Chris Cuomo. But despite prominent interviews, including one with President Joe Biden, Tapper’s show struggled to attract viewers. He often failed to attract 1 million viewers, while primetime shows on rival networks like Fox News often bring in 2.5 million viewers.
When asked about his return to the afternoon line-up, Tapper claimed his gig in prime-time was never supposed to be permanent “because of my family.”
“It was always a short-term thing,” he told late-night host Jimmy Kimmel.
CNN’s Don Lemon also bombed in his new morning show debut, drawing only 387,000 viewers. For comparison, MSNBC’s Morning Joe attracted about 793,000 viewers, and Fox News’s Fox and Friends brought in more than 1.5 million.
Lemon was demoted from his late-night time slot and moved to the morning hour with co-hosts Kaitlin Collins and Poppy Harlow as part of the network’s recent shake-up.
When asked about Lemon’s poor debut, a spokesman from CNN said: “There’s not a morning show on television today that was a ratings success on day one. Reporting on ratings failures or successes of an entirely new program after a single day is absurd and cheap.”