As governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo was a leading national figure in the pandemic response. Chris Cuomo began interviewing him in prime time, and their teasing banter and emotional conversations became a hit with viewers. Ratings surged further after Chris Cuomo contracted the virus; he continued broadcasting, and interviewing his brother, from quarantine in the basement of his Long Island home. Mr. Zucker praised the segments for their “authenticity and relatability and vulnerability.”
“That’s what the brothers Cuomo are giving us right now,” Mr. Zucker told The Times in April 2020.
The next year, as Andrew Cuomo was facing a growing number of sexual harassment accusations, Chris Cuomo recused himself from reporting on the scandal, leaving a prime-time hole in CNN’s coverage of what was turning out to be a national news story.
At the same time, away from the anchor desk, Chris Cuomo was participating in strategy sessions with the governor’s top aides. It also emerged that Andrew Cuomo had arranged for his brother’s Covid tests to receive priority treatment by the state. CNN did not discipline Chris Cuomo, and at one point offered the anchor a leave of absence if he wished to more formally help his brother.
After Andrew Cuomo resigned, Chris Cuomo defended himself on the Aug. 16 episode of his program. “I’m not an adviser, I’m a brother,” the anchor said. “I never attacked nor encouraged anyone to attack any woman who came forward. I never made calls to the press about my brother’s situation.”
But the new batch of testimony and text messages suggested that Mr. Cuomo did function as an adviser and did reach out to journalists. “When asked, I would reach out to sources, other journalists, to see if they had heard of anybody else coming out,” he told investigators.
On May 20, Mr. Cuomo began his CNN program by apologizing to viewers about his conversations with his brother’s political team, declaring himself “family first, job second.”
“Being a journalist, and a brother to a politician, is unique, and a unique challenge, and I have a unique responsibility to balance those roles,” Mr. Cuomo said then. “It’s not always easy.”