November 20, 2013 5:00am PT by Marisa Guthrie
Anderson Cooper Renews CNN Contract (Exclusive)
Anderson Cooper has signed a new deal with CNN that will keep him at the cable news network through the 2016 presidential election, The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively.
The pact keeps Cooper, 46, in CNN's nightly lineup for the foreseeable future as CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker, who in January will mark at year at the helm of the network, is expected to soon set his sights on primetime.
So far this year, Cooper's 8 p.m. show – Anderson Cooper 360 – is up 28 percent in the critical 25-54 demographic averaging 211,000 viewers. That's enough to put him ahead of MSNBC's Chris Hayes in head-to-head competition, though Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly still dominates. However, the 10 p.m. hour has been something of a challenge for CNN. It was re-launched last September as AC 360 Later with all new material rather than a repeat of the 8 p.m. hour. (Though often Cooper would return live in the 10 p.m. hour to update stories presented at 8 p.m.) And last April, CNN executives experimented with a 10 p.m. panel discussion show hosted by Donnie Deutsch. It was canceled after one week. So far this year, the 10 p.m. hour is down 14 percent year-over-year
Still Cooper's on-the-scene reporting has made him among the network's most recognizable personalities. And last week he spent several days anchoring his program from the typhoon-ravaged Philippines.
He also brings that globetrotting personae to CBS News' 60 Minutes where he also has a long-term deal for several pieces each year. And he was earlier this year approached by NBC News for a possible role on the network's morning franchise Today.