A somber anchor broke the stunning news on CNN that the network has booted CEO Chris Licht after a lengthy and deadly hit piece by The Atlantic reportedly led to a revolt among producers and on-air talent who claim they have lost faith in the embattled leader.
(Video Credit: CNN)
Despite the seriousness of anchor Kate Bolduan reading the announcement at 9 am ET on Wednesday, the report had more of a feeling of collective relief and celebration by the network after losing an entire roster of leftist talking heads to Licht’s house-cleaning axe.
The news that Licht was out broke an hour earlier and was reported by Puck’s Dylan Byers. It was then confirmed by CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy not long after Warner Bros. Discovery (CNN’s parent company) CEO David Zaslav had made the announcement during the morning editorial call.
After a commercial break, Bolduan came back with the shocking news.
“We have news now to report involving our own network,” Bolduan announced. “News to us here at CNN and you at home. CNN’s chairman and CEO Chris Licht is leaving the network. He took over the network a little over a year ago. David Zaslav just made the announcement at the network editorial meeting. For now, a leadership team will take his place, led by Amy Entelis, along with Virginia Mosley, Eric Sherling, our programming EVP, and David Leavy, our new chief operating officer.”
“I met with Chris and he will be leaving CNN,” David Zaslav tells CNN employees at the start of the morning editorial call.
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) June 7, 2023
Notably, there has been no comment from Licht. The press release from WBD doesn’t have one from him and Zaslav made the announcement on CNN’s editorial call, not Licht.
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) June 7, 2023
And that was all she wrote for Licht who has so far not come out with a statement concerning his ouster. Now allegedly comes the revisionism at CNN blaming Licht for all its woes.
Media figures are flagrantly re-writing the history of CNN, right before your eyes, to make it seem as if CNN only started failing when Chris Licht was hired and demanded it stop being a DNC activist group.
CNN was already in “free fall” and “collapse” when Licht was hired. pic.twitter.com/lUsdw0vdpc
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) June 7, 2023
According to Mediaite, CEO David Zaslav had this to say about Licht’s surprise departure: “I have great respect for Chris, personally and professionally. The job of leading CNN was never going to be easy, especially at a time of huge disruption and transformation, and he has poured his heart and soul into it. While we know we have work to do as we look to identify a new leader, we have absolute confidence in the team we have in place and will continue to fight for CNN and its world class journalism.”
Puck reported on the reshuffle: “Now, after a year of leadership missteps, programming misfires, a disastrous Trump town hall and the near-total decimation of staff morale in the wake of a chilling all-access Atlantic story, Licht will be vacating the C.E.O. position. In the next 48 hours, I’m told, Warner Bros. Discovery will announce that Licht will be stepping down as chairman and C.E.O. of CNN, ostensibly bringing an end to one of the most turbulent periods in the network’s 43-year history.”
Chris Licht is OUT at CNN.
Was Chris Licht ever IN at CNN? Or did Zucker and his hardcore fans run CNN the whole time?
If you’ve been watching CNN on TV, it’s NEVER changed. It’s never become more news, less opinion. It’s never stopped obsessing over the Evil GOP. pic.twitter.com/x4DiyUHn4d
— Tim Graham (@TimJGraham) June 7, 2023
“Licht will be replaced for an interim period by Amy Entelis, the revered longtime CNN executive, talent whisperer and CNN Films chief who served as a loyal deputy for years to Licht’s predecessor, Jeff Zucker. Entelis, who is 72, will oversee all programming and editorial matters—and, perhaps more importantly, shore up staff morale—while Zaz works to recruit a new chief executive. Meanwhile, David Leavy, the Zaslav consigliere who was recently installed as CNN’s chief operating officer, will oversee the business side, including all commercial, operational, and promotional matters. Licht’s handpicked direct reports would appear to be vulnerable in the shakeup,” the leftist outlet continued.
Writer Tim Alberta released a damning profile on Licht for The Atlantic which evidently played a big factor in his demise at CNN. The article painted Licht as aloof and disengaged from CNN’s staff. It said his programming decisions were fiercely opposed by the network’s talent and the network’s top talent had lost faith in his efforts to take the network in a new direction.
Licht allegedly attempted damage control with CNN staff after the profile came out, but CNN’s Oliver Darcy reported that Licht had already “lost the room” with the employee base.
CNN’s Licht calling anchors ‘he’s never spoken to before’ as he grapples to save job – reporthttps://t.co/D9LU4iF0jF
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) June 7, 2023
The Wall Street Journal is reporting, “The decision to part ways with Licht was made Tuesday evening, after concluding he could no longer be an effective leader of the network, a person familiar with the matter said.”
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