Cuomo wasn't made available for comment. He said in a statement that "this is a fantastic opportunity to do what I value the most and hopefully to do the work that I do best."
CNN was scooped on the announcement of Cuomo's hiring by the newsman's older brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who mentioned it during a radio interview Tuesday morning.
ABC News moved quickly to replace Cuomo, appointing correspondent David Muir as Elizabeth Vargas' new co-host on the prime-time newsmagazine.
Whitaker came to CNN in 2011 as senior vice president and managing editor and tried to expand CNN's programming, opening a film division and hiring Morgan Spurlock and Anthony Bourdain for weekend shows that haven't started yet.
With Zucker and "his own forceful ideas" about CNN's direction and programming options, Whitaker said the new chief deserved a chance to build his own management team.
The Cajun commentator Carville, a former Bill Clinton political aide, has delivered opinions on CNN since 2002. His wife, Mary Matalin, came on at the end of the Bush administration in 2009.
Associated Press writer Michael Gormley in Albany, N.Y. contributed to this report.