Just like that, the Cuomo’s are gone!
2021 was not kind to the dueling Fredo brothers – well, the last half wasn’t, anyway.
They entered the year as influential pillars of the Democratic establishment and New York political machine…
- Chris in the media, as the host of CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time, and
- Andrew, who, like their late father, set his sights on statewide politics and became governor.
The governor was celebrated by liberal media as America’s de facto spiritual leader in such uncertain times — a stark contrast to then-President Trump’s handling of the crisis — and could be seen yukking it up and trading playful jabs with his younger brother on CNN on an almost nightly basis.
It was the kind of PR most politicians – who don’t have family members in primetime cable news slots – dream of having at their disposal.
Sure, Gov. Cuomo’s policies were wiping out seniors in nursing homes with levels of efficiency that put Michael Corleone’s baptism scene to shame, but the duo projected “cool under pressure” leadership and folksy family fun, which their audience of terrified dupes craved.
- Their most fervent supporters began calling themselves “Cuomo-sexuals.”
- There were even talks of Andrew replacing Joe Biden as the Democratic presidential nominee!
- Amid the flurry of national attention, the elder Cuomo received a sizable advance to author a book about his exceptional leadership in the face of the pandemic.
- And he was awarded an Emmy for his daily pandemic press conferences
Who could have seen them both exiting the public eye in disgrace within a year?!
Not the political oddsmakers – I can tell you that much!
Even after CNN suspended Chris Cuomo indefinitely, the betting lines significantly favored the 51-year-old avoiding termination.
BetOnline gave the cable news anchor –450 odds of keeping his job, an implied probability of 81.82%.
Cuomo Fired by CNN in 2021?
- Matchup Odds
If you missed out on this chance to cash in on the final days of the Cuomo dynasty, don’t worry; there will be plenty more opportunities ahead.
The top political betting sites are constantly cranking out new props dealing with all sorts of news stories and scenarios.
Andrew Cuomo is under federal investigation over the same sexual misconduct allegations that led to the former New York Governor’s resignation in August.
BetOnline has an entire sub-category dedicated to indictment props in their political betting section. They’ve yet to set any new lines on Andrew Cuomo being indicted, but they probably will as the investigation progresses.
In the meantime, you can wager on the prospect of Donald Trump facing criminal indictment by 2023.
BetOnline has also offered odds on events like the Ghislaine Maxwell trial and the congressional investigation of the January 6th riots at the Capitol.
Before we dive into those betting options, let’s take a closer look at what’s next for Chris Cuomo and CNN. Because despite the firing, this story is far from over.
There’s still lots of uncertainty over potential lawsuits and Cuomo’s successor – plenty of fodder for political betting oddsmakers!
Chris Cuomo’s Firing
The Cuomo brothers’ respective downfalls were as intertwined as their rapid tag-team ascent to the forefront of elite liberal media and politics. Chris’s firing resulted from his attempt to protect his sibling’s political career from the sexual misconduct allegations that ultimately prompted the former governor’s resignation.
The trove of documents that sunk Chris Cuomo at CNN was released by the attorney general’s office of New York.
They include transcripts of the scandalized cable host’s interviews with investigators, along with the depositions of Andrew Cuomo, ten of his accusers, and an assortment of aides, staffers, and acquaintances.
Some of this info wasn’t new.
In May, Chris apologized to CNN viewers after a Washington Post report highlighted the cable pundit’s blatant conflicts of interest, presenting himself as an unbiased news presenter while strategizing with his brother’s team.
“Being a journalist and a brother to a politician is… a unique challenge, and I have a unique responsibility to balance those roles,” he told the Cuomo Prime Time audience. “It was a mistake.”
The documents released Monday show Chris Cuomo was far more involved in shaping the former governor’s defense than initially admitted.
Far from the neutral advisor portrayed in his apology, the CNN host is shown using journalistic resources to obtain advanced knowledge of negative stories and attempting to dig up dirt to use against his brother’s accusers. Cuomo even acknowledges his wrongdoing by instructing one of Andrew’s staffers to delete an incriminating communication thread.
CNN promptly announced that Cuomo would be “suspended indefinitely.”
“The New York Attorney General’s office released transcripts and exhibits Monday that shed new light on Chris Cuomo’s involvement in his brother’s defense,” a CNN spokesperson said Tuesday. “The documents, which we were not privy to before their public release, raise serious questions.”
“When Chris admitted to us that he had offered advice to his brother’s staff, he broke our rules and we acknowledged that publicly,” the spokesperson continued. “But we also appreciated the unique position he was in and understood his need to put family first and job second.”
“However, these documents point to a greater level of involvement in his brother’s efforts than we previously knew,” they added. “As a result, we have suspended Chris indefinitely, pending further evaluation.”
Five days later, CNN dropped the hammer.
In a statement released on Saturday, the network made the firing official.
“Chris Cuomo was suspended earlier this week pending further evaluation of new information that came to light about his involvement with his brother’s defense. We retained a respected law firm to conduct the review, and have terminated him, effective immediately.”
But if CNN thought they could just fire Fredo Cuomo and be done with it, they have another thing coming! Mere hours after his termination was announced, Chris released a statement of his own.
“This is not how I want my time at CNN to end but I have already told you why and how I helped my brother. So let me now say as disappointing as this is, I could not be more proud of the team at Cuomo Prime Time and the work we did as CNN’s #1 show in the most competitive time slot. I owe them all and will miss that group of special people who did really important work.”
Here’s where it gets good:
A spokesman for Cuomo told the Wall Street Journal that CNN President Jeff Zucker knew all the details of the fired star’s involvement with his brother’s sex scandal.
“They were widely known to be extremely close and in regular contact, including about the details of Mr. Cuomo’s support for his brother,” the spokesman told the paper Sunday.
“There were no secrets about this, as other individuals besides Mr. Cuomo can attest,” the spokesman added.
CNN fired back, accusing Chris of making “a number of accusations that are patently false,” in a response provided to the WSJ.
But this battle isn’t going to end with a few petty back-and-forths.
Cuomo is allegedly planning to sue his former employer for the remaining $18 million left on his contract.
Will Chris Cuomo Get His Money?
If I’m handicapping this situation – which I am – I’m betting the house on Cuomo receiving a hefty payday from CNN.
Sources told the New York Post that Chris will not only look to collect the rest of his $6 million-per-year contract but will also seek damages. However, they go on to say that CNN has “no intention of paying Cuomo a penny” and that such a payout would create an “uproar.”
Another source believes the network is protected by the terms of the contract, pointing out that “CNN has a standard morality clause in their contract that says if the employee does anything of disrepute, they can be immediately fired.”
So why am I so confident that Chris Cuomo has a massive payday coming his way?
- Because I’m betting that Chris is telling the truth about Jeff Zucker knowing about everything he was doing to help his older brother.
- And the last thing CNN wants is to reach the trial’s discovery phase only to be exposed as having been fully aware all along and allowing the unethical conduct to persist anyway.
By settling, they can keep lying about being blindsided by the information in the NY Attorney General’s transcripts and maintain a semblance of journalistic integrity.
It may look a bit suspicious, but at least the public won’t see concrete evidence that network execs were aware of Chris Cuomo’s actions and allowed him to break every media ethics rule in the book regardless.
The prop bet I created for this scenario is merely hypothetical for now but keep a close eye on our top-ranked political betting sites. I plan to launch a harassment campaign via Twitter and email until one posts my lines. Believe it or not, it’s worked before.
Who Will Replace Chris Cuomo?
The other wager-worthy question that we must answer concerns the replacement for Cuomo Prime Time in CNN’s 9 pm slot.
While it’s true that the disgraced pundit had the highest-rated show on the network, that distinction loses most of its meaning considering CNN’s abysmal ratings across the board. The post-Trump years have not been kind to liberal cable news channels.
However, while all of those options are familiar faces to viewers, CNN’s ratings are so unbelievably awful across the board, it’s hard to imagine any of them finding success at 9 pm, where they’ll be up against MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Sean Hannity on Fox News.
Another reason I think CNN will look outside of the network for Cuomo’s successor is that current CEO Jeff Zucker could be on his way out. Although, even if he stays, he’ll wield substantially less influence over the channel.
WarnerMedia, CNN’s parent company, is merging with Discovery in 2022. The latter’s CEO David Zaslav has been chosen to run the consolidated venture.
Regardless of Zucker’s presence, Zaslav is rumored to be making substantial changes to the network’s tone and overall presentation. Some industry analysts believe he’ll steer the channel away from its current hyper-partisan Trump-obsessed opinion programming back towards being a legitimate news platform.
On a recent episode of Breaking Points with Krystal Ball and Saagar, the two beltway pundits reported that the reason for Chris Cuomo’s swift suspension and firing was that the news broke while David Zaslav was at the CNN offices meeting with Zucker.
While Brian Stelter – one of Zucker’s closest confidants – was on air suggesting Cuomo could be back within a few weeks, the big wigs in the meeting had decided upon indefinite suspension.
- Did Zaslav override Zucker in the meeting after the current CEO had expressed to Stelter his intention to bring Cuomo back within a few weeks?
- If so, doesn’t this suggest the new boss is less reverential of the previous administration’s talent and telegraph additional programming changes to come?
CNN is in line for a massive makeover. They aren’t replacing Chris Cuomo with a less popular, lower-rated clone of himself.
I predict they’ll spend the next few months auditioning a broad range of guest hosts, barring Jeff Zucker from making a permanent hire until after the merger.
Then, they’ll name their primetime anchor in conjunction with the network’s relaunch.
When the political oddsmakers post betting lines for Cuomo’s replacement, stay far away from the current slate of CNN talent.
Zaslav will want his first major decision as CEO of the new Discovery-TimeWarner combined venture to be a splashy hire that sets the tone for the network’s new direction.
Here are three names I’m keeping a close eye on:
- Brian Williams – In November, Williams announced that he’s leaving MSNBC when his contract expires at the end of the year. Williams is a household name who anchored NBC Nightly News for a decade after succeeding Tom Brokaw. If CNN wanted him to be the face of the network’s return to straight, unbiased news coverage, I think he has the pedigree and experience to do the job.
- Gayle King – Oprah’s righthand woman and longtime broadcast journalist Gayle King could also be a free agent soon. She’s currently in contract negotiations with CBS, where she co-hosts its flagship morning show, CBS This Morning. However, if the price is right and she’s up to the challenge, CNN’s 9 pm timeslot could be an attractive option. King has name recognition, talent and would give the channel’s primetime lineup a fresh look. Jeff Zucker admitted that diversity is “a factor,” so bettors would be wise to look for candidates who aren’t white men.
Ghislaine Maxwell – I had to throw in at least one off-the-wall wildcard pick!
Look…by all accounts, Jeffrey Epstein’s partner in crime was a favorite amongst royalty, media figures, and political elites alike. She’s been photographed with every single human being of note during her several-decades-long career procuring underage girls for wealthy perverts.
She’ll almost certainly survive her ongoing trial after being presented as an unwitting victim of Jeffrey Epstein’s criminal enterprise.
She may even emerge as a feminist hero, touted by the same media she serviced all these years as the ultimate “girl boss.” They’d have killed her already if she was a risk to divulge harmful information or make the people who matter look bad by being found guilty.
You must admit, it’s a hire that would generate immense interest and sky-high ratings.
The world may descend into the bowels of hell immediately thereafter, but for one shining moment, before the flames engulf us all, CNN will once again be the center of the media universe.
That’s gotta count for something, right?