Co-host Michaela Pereira announced Tuesday that she will leave the morning program at the end of April to become an anchor at CNN's sister channel HLN later this year.
Pereira will have her own three-hour daytime news show, which does not yet have a title or launch date. But CNN Executive Vice President Ken Jautz told the Los Angeles Times the format will be similar in style and tone to HLN's daily program "Morning Express With Robin Meade."
The new assignment is a homecoming for Pereira, who was an anchor for nine years on the "KTLA Morning News" in Los Angeles before she joined CNN in June 2013. Her HLN program will originate from CNN's Hollywood studios on Sunset Boulevard.
Pereira, 45, said she sought the move so she could get back to the life she "put on hold" a few years ago to work out of CNN's New York studios.
"It came as a surprise to me that I would be moving to New York at the time that I did, and I'm glad that I did and it's been an adventure," she said. "It's time for me to go home and be close to my family and my community and my loved ones. I'm excited about going back and getting to do what I love, which is a morning news show."
Pereira has been a part of "New Day" since its launch with co-anchors Chris Cuomo and Kate Bolduan. In 2015, Bolduan moved to another CNN program, "At This Hour," and was replaced on "New Day" by former Fox News host Alisyn Camerota.
Rotating anchors will appear in place of Pereira on "New Day" until a replacement is named.
Pereira’s upcoming assignment also points to a clearer direction for HLN, which is adding more live news coverage during the day. There were plans for the
Jautz said HLN will be more closely aligned with CNN going forward and "refocus on its news roots" using "Morning Express" as a model.
"The news on HLN is more accessible and approachable," said Jautz. "It's more everyday water cooler type topics — more weather, more sports and business news that's a little more consumer oriented."
"Morning Express" is a major success for HLN, especially in what media executives call the "flyover states" between New York and California. The program has a faster pace and covers regional stories that may not get attention in the major media capitals. One of its most popular segments is "Salute to Troops," in which members of the U.S. military are honored by their families and friends.
In 2015, "Morning Express" averaged 284,000 viewers, up 27% from the previous year.
Later this year, HLN will start airing programs from CNN's original series such as "Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown," "The Seventies" and "Somebody's Gotta Do It." Such documentary style programs have a long shelf life and the ability to draw viewers with repeated airings.