“It’s really important that we have a very strong and good morning show,” Zucker said at a New York press conference Friday with the anchors and producers of “New Day.” Chris Cuomo and Kate Bolduan will host the three-hour (6-9 a.m. ET) show. Michaela Pereira, currently of KTLA-TV Los Angeles, will be the news anchor.
Zucker, who cut his teeth as producer of NBC’s “Today,” said the CNN show will steer clear of the cooking segments, concerts and other softer fare that are a hallmark of most morning shows.
“We’re going to be a news program,” Zucker said. “Even in an Internet age, people are coming to CNN for the news.”
That doesn’t mean “New Day” will be a grim headline service. Zucker has said repeatedly since taking over CNN in January that a news channel doesn’t have to be just war and politics.
“New Day” executive producer Jim Murphy, who used to run ABC’s “Good Morning America,” said the program will cover a wide range of topics and hopefully will be a “bit more fun and more interesting.”
Zucker downplayed expectations for “New Day,” saying he doesn’t expect monster ratings on the first day or early months.
“It will take time to gel and find itself and evolve,” Zucker said.
Zucker, who has kept a low profile since taking over CNN in January, said he felt “really good about where CNN is today.” Ratings have improved as of late for the cable channel, in part because of its coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings, but it has also made gains even when there isn’t a big news story going on.
That said, he also acknowledged that first-place Fox News doesn't have to look over its shoulder yet.
"We've got miles and miles to go," Zucker said. Asked if he thought CNN could one day take back its mantle as the most-watched cable news channel he replied, "Come back to me in three years."
Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.