It’s been a long and windy road for Chris Cuomo since getting fired from CNN late last year. The disgraced TV star has apparently gone near and far—from the Hamptons to Ukraine— to find his second act, which, somewhat inevitably, will take place in a podcast studio. Cuomo on Thursday launched The Chris Cuomo Show, a new podcast that claims to be “free from the constraints of a traditional media organization” and “home to independents, free thinkers, and those who don’t fit nicely on one side or the other. Let’s get after it.” The first episode, which clocks in at nearly two hours, features interviews with Sean Penn, whom Cuomo recently traveled to Ukraine with, and Ukrainian diplomat Andrii Yermak. Stay tuned for Andrew Yang.
The 51-year-old teased his new project in an Instagram post last week, featuring a photo of a rugged, sepia-toned Cuomo before an abstract background. “Coming soon,” he captioned the dramatic poster, reminiscent of that of a Mark Wahlberg action movie, as he urged his fans to “show you are a proud Free Agent by using the link in my bio for merch” and offered the vague assurance, “Buying merch raises money that we will use to help others.” Cuomo has been steadily rolling out his rebrand since April, when he changed his Twitter bio from “Be Not Afraid” to “FREE AGENT.” (This was also when, hinting at his comeback, he took some artistic liberty with that famous buried-seeds proverb.) He’s since referred to himself as a free agent in dispatches from Ukraine and on the streets of New York. In his opening monologue Thursday, Cuomo called on more of his supporters to “recognize yourselves as free agents,” which he defined as “someone who is not tied to any party, team, or tribe” or “burdened by affiliation, or agenda, or dogma” and has “an open mind, an open heart, and you’re willing to listen.”
A source told Page Six that Cuomo is “going rogue” in a “move of defiance” against CNN, against which Cuomo filed an arbitration claim seeking $125 million in March. Attorneys for the ex-anchor claimed the network had “unceremoniously” fired Cuomo late last year and “smeared” his “journalistic integrity” in the process. The Page Six source claimed Cuomo is “doing this not to make money” but “to get his voice back out there,” while noting that “Chris is loaded, so he will do it right.” Cuomo kept it diplomatic as he addressed his absence on Thursday, insisting he “will never be a hater” of CNN as he wished the network “all the best” before proceeding to make lemons out of lemonade. “It’s time for me to move on, and I believe I can be more than I ever was before.”
Cuomo’s ultimate downfall came after the New York attorney general’s office released a cache of documents revealing the Cuomo Prime Time anchor was more involved than previously known in helping his brother, Andrew Cuomo, navigate a cascade of sexual harassment allegations. (Andrew Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing.) The disgraced elder Cuomo blamed the disgraced younger Cuomo’s misfortune on “cancel culture”—something, you may remember, Chris Cuomo warned Andrew Cuomo about last year, as he urged him against resigning in the face of the allegations. At the start of Thursday’s episode, Chris Cuomo said, “For me, the past is the past, and there is no benefit to you if I relitigate what was said and done involving my brother,” adding, “I really do regret how everything ended, but I will never regret helping my family.”
Podcasting isn’t the only medium on which Cuomo is making a return. He’s also venturing back onto the big screen, for his first nationally televised interview since being ousted, per The Hill. He’ll sit down with NewsNation’s Dan Abrams next week, for a taped discussion about “what he’s doing now, what he’s doing next, and answering the tough questions about his past,” according to a promo for the interview. What he is apparently not doing next is firefighting, according to the Daily Beast’s Lachlan Cartwright, who earlier this week reported that Cuomo “applied for a volunteer position with the East Hampton Fire Department earlier this year but his application was withdrawn a short time after meeting with chiefs.” The ex-CNN anchor was reportedly put off by the time commitment involved.