‘CNN This Morning’ Taps Lauren Mensch and Chris Russell As New Executive Producers
CNN This Morning has tapped Lauren Mensch and Chris Russell as its new executive producers, an effort to bolster the network’s morning show after its debut in November.
They will succeed Eric Hall, who departed in January to helm the 11 PM hour of CNN Tonight hosted by Laura Coates.
Mensch will serve as EP and showrunner, overseeing the execution of the 6-9 a.m. ET show and leading its editorial direction. Russell will executive produce during the dayside and evening hours, focused on editorial and infrastructure for the following morning. They will report to Ryan Kadro, senior vice president of content strategy.
Mensch most recently was the EP of CNN Newsroom with Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell, in a tenure that included coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the January 6th insurrection. She also was executive producer on CNN-Sesame Street town halls focused on Covid and race relations, and was EP of The Van Jones Show and The Axe Files. She joined the network in 2013 and initially served as senior producer of New Day, the previous incarnation of the morning show.
Russell was the executive producer of NewsNation’s On Balance with Leland Vittert. He previously was senior executive producer at NBCUniversal and oversaw the daily lifestyle programming for Quibi. He also was executive producer of ET Live, the streaming service based on the Entertainment Tonight brand, and previously spent a decade at CBS News. He was among the senior staff that launched CBS This Morning.
The show has focused on newsmaker guests and field reporters from CNN correspondents, but it’s also had its share of drama. Co-host Don Lemon took several days off last month after a backlash over comments he made about Nikki Haley and when women were in their “prime.” He later apologized. But the moment was still being referenced as recently as the Oscars on Sunday night, when Michelle Yeoh, winner for best actress for Everything, Everywhere All at Once, referenced the comment in her acceptance speech.