Chris Cuomo is poised to take a massive pay cut as he joins NewsNation, a fledgling cable TV channel with a tiny audience, The Post has learned.
Cuomo, who was reportedly banking $6 million a year for his “Cuomo Prime Time” show on CNN before he was fired last year, will likely earn just a fraction of that — insiders speculate the figure could be around $1 million — as he starts his new gig at NewsNation this fall, sources told The Post.
“I don’t think he had a lot of leverage,” said one source, referring to Cuomo’s contract. “He’s damaged goods.”
The plugged-in media source speculated that Cuomo wasn’t getting any offers from any of the big networks — and that the longer he wasn’t on TV, the more irrelevant he was becoming.
NewsNation declined to comment on Cuomo’s compensation.
Cuomo revealed his comeback bid on Dan Abrams’ NewsNation show Tuesday night. The news marked the first time Cuomo has appeared on TV since being canned from CNN last year over his role in advising his older brother, then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“I had decided that I can’t go back to what people see as ‘the big game,’” Cuomo told Abrams last night. “I don’t think I can make a difference there. I think we need insurgent media. I think we need outlets that aren’t fringe and just trying to fill their pockets.”
But a second source echoed that Cuomo appeared to be “out of options” and that the anchor’s fall from grace has landed him on the young network that is keeping costs low as it expands, sources said.
Adding insult to injury, Cuomo’s new job doesn’t include a clothing allowance or paid-for flights from his house in the Hamptons to the studio like his old job had, according to sources close to the situation.
That’s despite the fact that Cuomo will be getting a brand-new studio in the old WPIX headquarters on 220 E. 42nd St. A rep from NewsNation confirmed that the company has been in the process of renovating several studios and that it has earmarked a space for Cuomo’s new show. A date for the fall debut hasn’t yet been announced.
While the rep would not reveal Cuomo’s time slot, she also confirmed that the anchor has already hired Alexandra “Dusty” Cohen, a former producer on “The View,” as his executive producer.
The network, owned by Chicago-based Nexstar Media Group, is building a roster of anchors like Abrams, who had stints at NBC and ABC News, and former CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield. It recently tapped Michael Corn, the former “Good Morning America” producer who was embroiled in a sexual harassment suit that was recently dropped, as president of news programming.
Nexstar rebranded WGN America last year as NewsNation with the goal of launching a “fact-based, unbiased” network that delivers news 24 hours a day by next year. Currently, it has a mix of news and reruns that are averaging around 85,000 total viewers a day. NewsNation’s highest-rated show is cop drama “Blue Bloods,” which averages around 350,000 total viewers an episode, while the primetime slate pulls in an average of 50,000 viewers nightly.
Last week, Abrams’ 9 p.m. show averaged around 54,000 viewers while Banfield’s 10 p.m. show brought in just 33,000.
“The ratings are less than local news,” a source said.
“They’re horrendous,” added another, noting that Corn “got a bargain in Chris Cuomo.”
“If Cuomo doubles the ratings to 100,000,” the hire will “be worth it,” the source concluded.
Still, an audience of 100,000 is a fraction of what Cuomo used to pull. His 9 p.m. show on CNN nabbed nearly 2 million total viewers in 2020 and around 1 million total viewers on average in its last year. Even when Cuomo’s ratings began to tumble after after the resignation of his brother, who was accused of sexual harassment by multiple women, he still pulled in nearly 700,000 total viewers.
Nevertheless, for Cuomo, it’s not necessarily all about dollars and cents in the end, according to one source.
“Chris has a huge ego,” the source added. “He loves to hear himself talk.”
The former CNN star is suing his old network for a staggering $125 million in damages after he was fired for his own sexual harassment scandal and allegedly using his press connections to aid the defense of his embattled older brother.