Sun Sets on CNN's Daybreak

CNN is dropping its early morning news show Daybreak, which runs weekdays from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. The news network will expand American Morning, which currently runs from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., to a fourth hour to fill the 6 a.m. time slot. The changes go into effect Nov. 28. CNN has not decided what will fill the 5 a.m. time slot.

CNN staffers learned of the change in a memo sent this morning from CNN/U.S. president Jon Klein. No jobs will be lost as a result of the changes, according to a representative; all staff members of Daybreak, produced in Atlanta, will be reassigned to other shows, many to American Morning. Daybreak host Carol Costello, who has been serving as the news reader and reporter for American Morning since moving to New York earlier this year, will continue in the role at Morning. Daybreak executive producer Bryan Bell, based in Atlanta, will join the senior staff of American Morning, headed up by executive producer Kim Bondy, who is based in New York.

The programming move is aimed to increase the profile of American Morning. If CNN can lure viewers to the program earlier, it may keep them throughout the morning. In August, CNN moved the show’s studio from the Time Life building in midtown to the network’s headquarters at the Time Warner Center where it will air out of a studio currently being constructed in the newsroom. The move consolidated Morning with the rest of CNN’s New York-based shows and emphasized it as a news destination amongst the music, cooking and other entertainment fare of competitive morning shows.

In June, CNN named space correspondent Miles O’Brien to co-anchor the show with Soledad O’Brien and moved colorful commentary from Jack Cafferty to the afternoon.

“The outstanding work during and after Katrina by Soledad, Miles, Carol and Kim Bondy’s entire production team has given the program momentum that we will build on,” said Klein in the staff memo. “By focusing resources around our flagship morning broadcast and increasing its footprint on the air, we feel we can compete even more strongly in this critically important daypart.”

Anchored by strong hurricane coverage, CNN grew 39% in total day viewership during third quarter, averaging 693,000 total viewers.