BREAKING: Major Shakeup at CNN

AP Photo/Ron Harris

CNN Chairman Chris Licht has been fired, according to sources at the network. Licht’s tumultuous, year-long tenure was marked by controversy after controversy as he tried to make the network more “middle of the road” in its outlook.


But Licht was handicapped by one, significant roadblock: he had no idea what “middle of the road” meant.

Licht didn’t necessarily want to emulate Fox News as much as he wanted to de-radicalize CNN. The pushback was enormous. His firing of long-time employees like Don Lemon — the farthest left news personality on the network — set off a mini-revolt among the hard left staffers who didn’t like the idea of CNN going soft on the enemy. And his decision to give Donald Trump a town hall platform caused left-wing heads to explode all across America.

Related: TV Networks Battle Over Which Will Host the Republican Debates

The former producer for Stephen Colbert’s top-rated late-night show angered employees right off the bat when he made the decision to cancel CNN’s nascent streaming service, CNN+. The company took a $1.5 billion write-down, and the failure of CNN+ will likely go down as one of the most spectacular collapses in TV history. Despite a $300 million ad campaign, no more than 10,000 people were watching it at any one time.


David Zaslav, the chief executive of CNN’s parent, Warner Bros. Discovery, informed CNN staff. “For a number of reasons, things didn’t work out, and that’s unfortunate,” Mr. Zaslav said, according to a recording of his remarks. “It’s really unfortunate, and ultimately that’s on me. And I take full responsibility for that.”

The New York Times:

The job would prove much more difficult. Ratings plummeted during Mr. Licht’s management and a series of programming miscues — including an ill-fated morning show co-anchored by Don Lemon, as well as organizing a town hall featuring former President Donald J. Trump that was subject to withering criticism — did little to shore up support with his colleagues.

Things deteriorated last week when The Atlantic published a 15,000-word profile extensively documenting Mr. Licht’s stormy tenure, including criticism of the network’s pandemic coverage that rankled the network’s rank-and-file.

Licht was also hampered by residual loyalty to former CEO Jeff Zucker among anchors and top staff. Zucker was let go for failing to disclose a relationship with a colleague, senior executive Allison Gollust. But Zucker didn’t care about “middle of the road” America nor did he care much about good journalism. Licht was supposed to come in and restore CNN to its former glory as the gold standard for TV journalism.


Zaslav, who may be in line to take over CNN, has his own notions of what the network should look like.

Zaslav has been outspoken about CNN’s editorial mission. During an investor conference that followed the Trump town hall, he said: “We need to show both sides of every issue.” In April 2022, days after he took the helm at Warner Bros. Discovery, Zaslav said he wanted CNN to distinguish itself from “advocacy networks.”

We’ll see if that’s even possible if Zaslav ascends to the CEO position at the network.


Trending on PJ Media Videos

Join the conversation as a VIP Member