Chris Cuomo is back.
The disgraced ex-CNN host made his return to media on Thursday with the first episode of his new podcast series, titled The Chris Cuomo Project, in which the newly liberated “free agent” attempted a kumbaya moment with CNN despite having gone scorched-earth on the network.
“I'll never be a hater,” Cuomo claimed in his opening monologue. “CNN has great people, CNN has a great purpose, and I wish them all the best. And I miss so many of the people there. But it’s time for me to move on,” he added, all while his scathing $125 million lawsuit against the network remains in court. CNN declined to comment.
Cuomo further heaped praise upon “the people who made my show number one at CNN from jump and kept it there.” He apologized for how “circumstances” made it impossible for him to say goodbye in person.
However, he declared from the start, he will “never regret helping his family.”
It was those family ties that cost him his job. CNN fired Cuomo in December after it was revealed that he helped dig for dirt on the women who accused his brother, the also-disgraced ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, of sexual harassment. He also lost a book deal and Sirius XM canned his show Let’s Get After It.
Since then, Cuomo has launched a scathing campaign against CNN, suing the network for $125 million over lost wages and character assassination, in the process throwing former colleagues like ex-bestie Don Lemon and top anchor Jake Tapper under the bus. He also briefly pursued a side career as a volunteer firefighter in the Hamptons but his application was withdrawn after the local fire chiefs informed him of the time commitment involved.
But none of the post-CNN headlines were mentioned throughout his two-hour debut, save for a slight reference to “outstanding legal fights I have to respect.” Instead, Cuomo’s first episode partially mirrored the structure of his former CNN show—including interviews with actor Sean Penn and Ukrainian official Andrii Yermak—even as it served as a reintroduction of the man who led it.
Cuomo spent much of his opening monologue talking about his Italian roots (“I am a Cuomo and I’m proud of it”) and his newfound perspective on the media, at one point suggesting his experience at CNN was not necessarily one of editorial independence.
“Now, more than ever before, I’m talking to you as me,” he touted. “I've always been real and tried to be authentic when it comes to how I speak to you on television. But be very clear, these words are only my own. They have not been massaged to stay on message; no one is telling me to stay on a story even if I think it’s been running to the ground. Nobody’s going to encourage the stoking of flames that I believe should be smothered.
“I’m done with that game, and it is a game,” he continued, imploring his audience to “recognize yourselves as free agents”—a subtle plug for his new “FREE AGENT” merch line, featuring black tees, hoodies, and mugs that ask “are YOU free?”
“A free agent to me is someone who is not tied to any party, team, or tribe,” he professed. “You're not burdened by affiliation or agenda or dogma. You have an open mind and open heart.”
The project, which will also include an episode with ex-CNN contributor Andrew Yang, will feature new episodes every Tuesday and Thursday. It was unclear who is sponsoring Cuomo’s latest venture.
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