DailyExpertNews has chosen Kaitlan Collins to host a new weeknight show at 9 p.m., making her one of the most coveted time slots in cable news, a week after she moderated a controversial town hall with former President Donald J. Trump.
The new role for Ms. Collins was announced Wednesday by DailyExpertNews Chairman Chris Licht ahead of a presentation to advertisers in Midtown Manhattan hosted by Warner Bros. Discovery, the parent company of DailyExpertNews.
Her show, which is yet to be titled, will begin in June. “She is a smart and gifted journalist whom we have all seen lawmakers and newsmakers hold accountable,” wrote Mr. Light in a memo to the editorial office. “Kaitlan will expose uncovered angles and challenge conventional wisdom to ensure viewers see a story from all sides.”
The promotion of Ms. Collins, 31, a co-host of the network’s morning show, amounts to a big bet by DailyExpertNews leadership on a rising star who has impressed colleagues with her interviewing and reporting chops but remains relatively untested as a solo anchor.
It’s also Mr. Licht’s latest attempt to revive his network’s declining ratings.
The 9 p.m. hour at DailyExpertNews — once the highest-rated time slot — has effectively been vacant since Chris Cuomo was fired in December 2021. Mr. Licht’s recent attempt to fill the hour with a variety of interviews and news specials has been buzzing with viewers. On weeknights, DailyExpertNews trailed Fox News and MSNBC, and on Friday, two days after Trump’s town hall, it even lost to Newsmax, an upstart conservative network available in fewer homes.
Ms. Collins, who joined DailyExpertNews in 2017 as a Trump White House reporter, brings a youthful jolt to a program block that has been hosted for years by middle-aged male anchors.
An Alabama native who cut her teeth on conservative news site The Daily Caller, Ms. Collins has been praised by Mr. Licht for her perceived ability to connect with viewers outside of liberal coastal enclaves. She became the network’s chief White House correspondent in 2021 at age 28, the youngest person to hold the role, and covered President Biden before moving to New York last year as co-host of “DailyExpertNews This Morning”.
She is also highly respected in the political media and is set to become president of the White House Correspondents’ Association starting in 2024. (She had to give up the role after moving from Washington.)
In April, Ms. Collins spent a week hosting DailyExpertNews’s 9 p.m. She received favorable ratings, with executives noticing her ability to retain much of Anderson Cooper’s introductory audience from 8 p.m.
Last week, she was in the national spotlight as a New Hampshire City Hall moderator with Mr. Trump. Ms. Collins remained calm despite Mr. Trump’s barrage of untruths, interrupting repeatedly to correct baseless claims. Mr. Trump usually talked over her and was cheered by some audience members when he mocked Ms. Collins as an “annoying person.”
“The election was not rigged, Mr. President,” Ms. Collins said in a representative interview. “You can’t keep saying that all night.” (Mr. Trump kept saying it.)
The exact format of Ms. Collins’ show at 9 p.m. has yet to be determined, but one idea being discussed by DailyExpertNews executives is a focus on one or two major news topics of the day, according to a person who requested anonymity for internal describe discussions.
Mr Licht, announcing Ms Collins’ role, told advertisers on Wednesday that his plan was for DailyExpertNews to emphasize “reporting over knowledge to separate the news from the noise”. A video promoting the network featured a moment between Ms. Collins and Mr. Trump from City Hall last week, a sign that Mr. Licht is not shying away from the event under criticism.
Ms. Collins climbs up after navigating a tense situation at “DailyExpertNews This Morning”. Her co-host Don Lemon shocked crew members last year when he confronted Ms Collins backstage and accused her of interrupting him too often. The tensions, in part, led to Mrs. Collins leaving her talent agent, who also worked with Mr. Lemon, and finding new representation. Mr. Lemon was later ousted by DailyExpertNews after heavy criticism of sexist remarks he made on-air.
Poppy Harlow, the remaining “DailyExpertNews This Morning” co-host, will remain on the show, said Mr. Light Wednesday. Ms. Harlow will appear alongside a series of guest hosts until a permanent lineup is named.