Jemele Hill, Cari Champion to host weekly show on CNN+

The longtime friends will co-host a show that will highlight "the biggest stories in sports, entertainment, politics, and culture," the network said.

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Jemele Hill and Cari Champion have been tapped by CNN to host a show on its streaming service that will launch this spring. 

The network announced on Thursday that the longtime friends and sports journalists will co-host a show called Cari & Jemele: Speak.Easy, that will highlight “the biggest stories in sports, entertainment, politics, and culture, they’ll tell you how they see it,” The Hill reports. 

“I believe the old adage is that if you work with one of your best friends, then you’ll never work a day in your life. While I made that up, there’s a certain magic that happens when Cari and I collaborate together,” Hill said in a statement. “The CNN family is a perfect partner for us because they understand our chemistry and appreciate that our boldness is our strength.”

Hill and Champion met when they were both working on ESPN. Hill was suspended from the network in 2017 after posting controversial statements on social media, including calling former President Donald Trump a “white supremacist.”

TheGrio previously reported that in her seven-year career with ESPN, Champion was able to profile NFL quarterback Cam Newton for E:60, host Sports Nation, and become an anchor on Sportscenter. She also hosted NBC’s The Titan Games, an athletic competition series created by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Cari Champion Jemele Hill thegrio.com
(Credit: Getty Images)

In Jan. 2020, Champion left the sports network and by June, she and Hill partnered for their first late-night show, Cari & Jemele (Won’t) Stick To Sports. Hill is also a writer at The Atlantic and hosts the Jemele Hill Is Unbothered podcast on Spotify.

“I think a defining time for both of us were maybe some rocky periods that we probably went through at ESPN, and just the course of our career, really,” Hill explained to theGrio in a 2020 interview, when asked what prepared her most for the launch of Stick To Sports. “I don’t want to speak for Cari, but she’s had some different experiences than I have.” 

She continued, “Once you go through situations where you feel as if other people made decisions that you ultimately either had to pay for or decisions that, you know, frankly, weren’t really in alignment with how you would love to do things—or even with your values and your sensibilities—that teaches you a lesson that you don’t want to be put in that position again.” 

Champion explained in the same interview that the show had been in the works for years, sparked by their numerous Periscopes and Instagram Live sessions.

“I feel like right now, this show, quite frankly, came at a right time. But this was even before all that’s going on in society,” Champion said. “When we had Americans’ attention, we were already putting this show together with the thought of talking about uncomfortable topics, topics that would make people stop and say, ‘I don’t know if I like what she had to say.’

Speaking to theGrio last March, Champion, the founder of Brown Girls Dream non-profit, offered the following advice for anyone “trying to make a difference.” 

“Use your platform. No matter how large, or how no matter small. Make sure that you give back, you serve others. That is the point of this life we live, service to others,” Champion added. 

CNN+ is slated to launch in April.

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