CNN Plus: Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon to host original shows

CNN host Anderson Cooper appears at an event in 2018. (Photo by Gage Skidmore/Flickr Creative Commons, Graphic by The Desk)

CNN has forged a new set of deals with its top talent that covers a slew of new, original programs slated for its forthcoming streaming service CNN Plus.

The deals include renewed agreements with Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon and other anchors and reporters who will produce exclusive original shows for the streaming service.

The shows will be separate from ones that air on the linear CNN cable channel, though some shows that air on the cable network could eventually be distributed as an on-demand offering through the future streaming service, according to people with knowledge of the company’s plans.

Details of the forthcoming streaming service were first reported on Tuesday by the Wall Street Journal newspaper.

CNN’s parent company WarnerMedia began contemplating plans for a standalone streaming service late last year, according to reports. Those plans also included offering original content from TBS and TNT as web-specific linear channels, all of which would be separate from their cable TV offerings.

The streaming service and linear content offerings are expected to be offered directly to consumers, though exact details of the economics have yet to be settled, including whether the streamers will be free with ads or subscription-based, or some combination of the two.

Some CNN, TBS and TNT content is currently offered through HBO Max, WarnerMedia’s buffet-style streaming service that combines HBO’s original content and licensed movies with other shows from the Warner Bros. and Turner libraries.

WarnerMedia is owned by AT&T. At a staff meeting last week, a WarnerMedia executive said AT&T’s recent decision to split off WarnerMedia and merge the new content company with Discovery had not affected plans concerning CNN Plus. The merger also has not impeded plans at WarnerMedia to offer a cheaper version of HBO Max that is subsidized with ads, with that service expected to launch later this month.

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