CNN announces new CEO tapped to replace fired Chris Licht; so much for a new leaf

Don’t expect political leanings at CNN to change much amid reports that the left-leaning cable news network has tapped former New York Times CEO Mark Thompson to fill the same role that Chris Licht held prior to being fired in June.

That’s according to Puck News’ Dylan Byers, who cited two sources to report that David Zaslav, the CEO of CNN’s parent company Warner Bros. Discovery, is set to make the announcement soon.

“In the days ahead, and possibly as early as Wednesday—or maybe even just as soon as this email is sent out—David Zaslav will announce that he has hired former New York Times Company C.E.O. and BBC director general Mark Thompson to serve as the next chairman and C.E.O. of CNN, two sources familiar with the company’s plans tell me,” Byers wrote. “Thompson, an accomplished veteran of both television and digital media with a reputation for restructuring legacy media assets and pursuing innovative growth strategies, will inherit a storied news network that has been beset in recent years by dramatic leadership shakeups, diminished ratings and revenue, and the broader decline of the linear television industry.”

Thompson “could not pose a starker contrast to Licht,” Byers noted, pointing to the former’s success in rescuing Times Co. from financial distress,

“Since Licht’s departure, in early June, CNN has been helmed by a ​​quadrumvirate interim leadership group that has largely succeeded in stabilizing the anxieties of the rank-and-file and the well-paid anchor class, alike,” Byers said. “The interim leadership team will continue overseeing their respective areas, but will now report to Thompson, who will have oversight over the entire CNN operation.”

The New York Times reported early Wednesday that CNN did in fact name Mark Thompson as its next chief executive and chairman and said he will start on Oct. 9.

“Mark is a true innovator who has transformed for the digital age two of the world’s most respected news organizations,” Zaslav said in a statement. “His strategic vision, track record in transformational leadership and sheer passion for news make him a formidable force for CNN and journalism at this pivotal time.”

Here’s a quick sampling of responses to the story as seen on X, formerly known as Twitter:


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