Questions surround CNN's Chris Cuomo as he returns from vacation after brother's political downfall

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CNN’s beleaguered host Chris Cuomo is scheduled to return to “Cuomo Prime Time” on Monday for his first appearance on the liberal network since his brother announced last week he would resign.

CNN’s Cuomo was away from the network this week during New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s, D., political downfall over sexual harassmewnt allegations, and media observers will soon see whether the younger sibling addresses the situation.

“He absolutely has to. The show is called ‘Cuomo Prime Time.’ It’s on in primetime. It’s a key time slot, 9 p.m. It’s not like he’s on at 3 a.m. The viewers expect him to talk about it. He’s been off the air, before that, he was radio silent about this issue, and it’s the biggest political scandal of the year,” Daily Beast editor at large Lachlan Cartwright told CNN’s in-house media pundit Brian Stelter on Sunday. 

It’s unclear if CNN will allow Chris Cuomo to address his brother’s resignation. 
(CNN)

“If he doesn’t go on air tomorrow night and talk about it, it becomes a bigger story not just for him, but for CNN,” Cartwright said. 

CNN had previously barred the younger Cuomo from interviewing the governor, but the network lifted the ban last year as the media hailed the New York Democrat a hero of the coronavirus pandemic. The Cuomo brothers conducted nearly a dozen chummy interviews that largely involved softball questions, playful banter, competing for their mother’s affection, and even prop comedy. Once the soon-to-be-former governor became engulfed in a variety of scandals, CNN again declared its 9 p.m. host wasn’t allowed to cover him.

The “Cuomo Prime Time” namesake has also played a role in the ongoing scandal, as the CNN anchor was caught participating in strategy sessions with his brother’s top aides to combat the governor’s accusers and even helped draft a statement for the alleged predator, according to the report released by New York Attorney General Letitia James. 

“He should address not only his brother’s scandal but that of his own. Explain why you helped your brother discredit his accusers. Explain why you said in May you would ceasing advising him, only to continue doing so,” Fox News contributor Joe Concha said. 

“Of course, this won’t happen,” Concha added. “That would take honesty and humility, and we passed that exit in regards to this ‘anchor’ a while ago.” 

A former CNN employee who worked closely with Chris Cuomo thinks the “Cuomo Prime Time” will quickly mention his brother and move on. 

“My guess would be when he comes back, they’ll have him open the show with a short, brief, ‘This is why I’m not going to talk about the tough situation that my brother is going through right now. And I will not speak to this again. And now let’s get after it,” and move on,” Cuomo’s former CNN colleague told Fox News last week. 

“You know, that’s probably what’s going to happen,” the former CNN employee added. “I think it’ll be in the first couple of minutes of the show and he will use the, ‘I’m not really in a position … legal has advised me that I’m not allowed to speak on this. Standards and practices and management here has advised me that I’m not allowed to address this, you obviously understand that it’s a family issue. Family comes first.’”

However, Poynter Institute senior media writer Tom Jones questioned if Chris Cuomo would be able to fairly cover politicians that called for his brother to step down.

“CNN is in a bad spot here,” Jones wrote. “Politicians that Chris talks about — Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and so forth — have called for Andrew to resign. Might that affect how Chris covers them? The fact that this is even a question is a problem for CNN.”

CNN previously called it “inappropriate” for its 9 p.m. host to participate in strategy sessions with his brother’s staff but did not publicly discipline him.

CNN did not immediately respond to a series of questions, including whether or not Chris Cuomo will be allowed to address his brother’s resignation or whether the network will allow “Cuomo Prime Time” to cover politicians who called for the soon-to-be-former governor to step down. 

Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report. 

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