CNN executives reportedly offered their superstar host Chris Cuomo "temporary leave" to formally advise his brother New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) when sexual harassment allegations surfaced against the governor earlier this year, The New York Times reports.
The May offer was apparently both informal and optional, and "intended as an acknowledgment of [Cuomo's] unique position as both a prime-time network anchor and the brother of a prominent politician facing a scandal," the Times writes. The host would be able to return to the network later.
That such an arrangement was floated highlights the unique spot in which CNN finds itself and the lengths to which executives have gone and are willing to go to accommodate their top-rated anchor, who also happens to belong to "one of the country's most powerful Democratic families," says the Times.
On Tuesday, following the New York Attorney General's disturbing sexual harassment report, CNN's Cuomo neglected to mention the major update during his primetime broadcast, likely much to viewers' confusion, as well as to reported dismay from other CNN journalists.
Cuomo had otherwise told CNN leadership he planned to "abide by rules preventing him from commenting on his brother's scandal," writes the Times. The network temporarily lifted those restrictions to allow the governor to appear on-air during the peak of the pandemic in New York, which earned some criticism regarding potential conflicts of interest. Cuomo's regularly-scheduled appearance on Tuesday was a "clear signal" that CNN President Jeffrey Zucker is "fully behind" the anchor. Read more at The New York Times.