Former GMA exec Michael Corn will join Nexstar’s NewsNation
Michael Corn, who led ABC’s “Good Morning America” during much of its run as the most watched network morning program, is joining Nexstar’s NewsNation.
The Dallas-based company announced Tuesday that Corn will become the president of news for its national channel, replacing Jennifer Lyons, who departed the operation in March just seven months after its launch. NewsNation is based in Chicago at the headquarters of Nexstar’s WGN and uses the resources of the parent company’s TV stations across the country.
Corn left ABC News abruptly on Apr. 15, the day after the Walt Disney-owned unit announced that Kim Godwin, a longtime executive at CBS News, was hired to run the division. Corn, senior executive producer for “GMA” since 2014, was among the internal contenders for the ABC News presidency after the departure of James Goldston.
Corn will be stepping into a challenging situation, as NewsNation has failed to attract a significant audience with its strategy of offering an unbiased alternative to established cable news channels that have added more opinion programming to their lineups.
NewsNation was formerly WGN America, a general entertainment cable channel carrying repeats of broadcast network dramas and sitcoms which was taken over by the Dallas-based Nexstar after its purchase of Tribune Media. The channel now broadcasts five hours of live news programming a night and has plans to expand to a full-time service over the next two years.
But the plan has been hampered by the hiring of Bill Shine, the former president of Fox News, as a consultant for the channel. The involvement of Shine, a close friend of conservative Fox News host Sean Hannity and briefly communications director for the Trump White House, became an issue for some NewsNation employees after it was revealed in February.
Shine had been involved for months before the staff was told, raising the suspicions among staff that the channel was going to chase a conservative audience.
Shine is focused on the two talk programs added to the NewsNation lineup in March, “The Donlon Report” and “Banfield,” and is not involved in the channel’s newscasts.
Corn’s resume is expected to quell concerns about the channel developing any political leanings. He has a long track record of success at ABC News, overseeing “ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer” before he joined “GMA” in 2014.
While Corn will report to Sean Compton, president of Nexstar’s networks division, he will be the final arbiter in newsroom decisions.
“Michael is a talented, innovative producer and executive with more than 25 years of network experience in the news business,” Compton said in a statement. “He has built award-winning news broadcasts and understands NewsNation’s mission to provide our audience with fact-based news without bias.”
Corn arrives just as NewsNation prepares to launch a five-hour morning program. Former ABC News correspondent Adrienne Bankert has been hired as one of the anchors for the show expected to launch later this year.