OAN’s Roy Francis
7:00 AM – Wednesday, June 7, 2023
CNN Chief Executive Officer Chris Licht has stepped down from his role after a little over a year on the job.
David Zaslav, the Chief Executive of CNN’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery, met with Licht and confirmed the news.
“I met with Chris and he will be leaving CNN,” Zaslav told CNN employees on Wednesday.
Licht, who was previously working at CBS on the “Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” was handpicked by Zaslav in 2022 to replace Jeff Zucker, who had been forced out ahead of the merger between Warner Bros. and Discovery. The merger had given Zaslav control of CNN.
Immediately after taking over the role, Licht had begun making changes in hopes of bringing back the ratings that the network was losing.
Some of the changes included toning down the network’s breaking news graphics, inviting Republican lawmakers who had previously been alienated by the network, cancelling the CNN+ streaming service and firing far left-leaning figures such as John Harwood and Brian Stelter, but the ratings never returned and in the process Licht alienated much of his staff.
Licht had been constantly attacked by liberal media and liberal staff members at CNN for his desire to change the partisan tone at the network.
Licht further alienated his staff and the liberal media when he held a town hall event with former President Donald Trump in May, during which the crowd, filled with Trump supporters, had cheered on the 45th President.
Liberal media and public figures were enraged by the town hall event and targeted their frustration at Licht for providing President Trump a platform with so much freedom.
Topping off a long-troubled tenure at CNN was an article published by The Atlantic’s Tim Alberta, who had been given exclusive access to the CEO, which listed the number of missteps and bad decisions by Licht.
In the wake of the article, Licht had apologized to his staff members for becoming a distraction at the network. However, a large portion of the staff did not appear willing to rebuild the relationship.
“In the wake of The Atlantic’s explosive story, I’ve spoken with dozens of staffers across the company. There are a wide range of emotions coursing through the halls of CNN. Some staffers are frustrated. Others are angry. Many are sad about the awful state of affairs that has taken hold of an organization they love,” Oliver Darcy, a CNN media reporter, wrote in his newsletter. “There is one near-universal sentiment, however, that has been communicated to me: Licht has lost the room.”
According to Zaslav, the interim leadership team will now include Amy Entellis, Executive Vice President of talent and content development, Virginia Moseley, Executive Vice President of editorial, and Eric Sherling, executive Vice President of U.S. programming.
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