Just because CNN+ is dead doesn’t mean its programming is. At least a couple series from the blinked-and-you-missed-it CNN+ streaming service will find new homes on HBO Max and/or good old-fashioned CNN, including shows from Chris Wallace and Eva Longoria.
During Wednesday’s Warner Bros. Discovery “upfront” presentation, newly minted CNN CEO Chris Licht announced that Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?, a talk show starring the former Fox News anchor that first aired on CNN+, will return this fall on both HBO Max and the standard CNN basic-cable network. On CNN, Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace will air on Sunday nights.
Meanwhile, Eva Longoria: Searching for Mexico, a docuseries that was originally intended for CNN+, will instead debut on the CNN cable network next year. For now, there’s no indication that Longoria’s series will stream on HBO Max as Wallace’s talk show will.
The move breathes new life to the two shows, which were left in the lurch after the newly combined Warner Bros. Discovery pulled the plug on the fledgling CNN+ streaming service barely a month after it launched.
The abrupt axing of CNN+ left the fate of its many shows up in the air. Besides Chris Wallace and Eva Longoria, on-air personalities such as Anderson Cooper, Poppy Harlow, Kasie Hunt, Wolf Blitzer, Kate Bolduan, and Audie Cornish also had shows on CNN+. It’s yet to be seen whether their shows will make the jump to HBO Max, linear CNN, or another Warner Bros. Discovery property.
We’ve seen other examples of defunct streaming services whose shows were rescued by other platforms. Last year, Roku snatched up 75 short-form titles from Quibi, the mobile-only streaming service that memorably went kaput a mere six months after its launch. Quibi said it would spend $1.1 billion on content during its first year, but Roku scooped up Quibi’s entire streaming library for a less than $100 million. (Of course, Quibi’s scripted titles fall into a different category than CNN+’s news series, and the rescued CNN+ shows will remain under the same corporate umbrella.)
With a lifespan of just 28 days, CNN+’s rapid fall was even more breathtaking than Quibi’s, and it cost the former WarnerMedia a cool $300 million.
Besides suffering from anemic viewership, the ill-fated streaming news service also had the misfortune of launching just as its parent, WarnerMedia, was merging with Discovery, as well as the messy departure of former CNN head Jeff Zucker following a workplace relationship scandal.