“Everybody Is Respiratory a Sigh of Aid”: Chris Licht Appointed

“Everybody Is Respiratory a Sigh of Aid”: Chris Licht Appointed

As CNN continues its wall-to-wall protection of the battle in Ukraine, even drawing applause from former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, the community is now processing main information on the house entrance, with the announcement that Chris Licht has been chosen to succeed former CNN boss Jeff Zucker. “I’ve identified and admired Chris for over 15 years and imagine he’s one of the best particular person to guide this unbelievable group,” David Zaslav, who will turn into CEO of the merged Warner Bros. Discovery as soon as the deal closes as early as mid-April, wrote in a message to CNN staff. “Chris is a dynamic and inventive producer, a fascinating and considerate journalist, and a real information particular person. He has greater than twenty years of broadcast expertise throughout native, cable and nationwide information. He has been within the discipline, within the management room and on the set. He’s a extremely principled particular person who’s trusted, hard-working and makes each group stronger, extra revolutionary, and extra cohesive.” Licht added in an inside be aware of his personal: “I do know you could have loads of questions. Maybe the largest one is how will CNN change? The trustworthy reply is that I don’t know but. David Zaslav has given me one easy directive: To make sure that CNN stays the worldwide chief in NEWS as a part of Warner Bros. Discovery.” 

The information first leaked Saturday morning, when Puck’s Dylan Byers scooped that Zaslav had settled on Licht, throwing a wrench into company’s fastidiously stage-managed timeline for rolling out the extremely buttoned-up appointment. (The plan had been to announce it someday this week, so it’s not as in the event that they have been caught completely unprepared.) Licht convened a Zoom assembly Saturday afternoon along with his workers at Stephen Colbert’s Late Present, apologizing to them for the way by which they discovered of his impending departure. Within the meantime, reps for Discovery and CNN obtained their geese in a row with the official bulletins that went out Monday morning, together with one from interim CNN chiefs Amy Entelis, Michael Bass, and Ken Jautz, who described Licht’s appointment as “a brand new chapter for our firm.”

Licht, whose spouse, Jenny, spent greater than a decade at CNN, each as a supervising producer for Anderson Cooper and a deputy to Entelis in her expertise recruitment division, is a popular tv government who helmed MSNBC’s Morning Joe and CBS This Morning earlier than switching to late evening and turning into Colbert’s government producer in 2016. He turned across the present’s early rankings struggles and helped remodel it into the influential hit that it’s as we speak. Talking to his popularity as a gifted and revered producer, one high media government mentioned, “He will get good evaluations. That’s clearly the consensus I hear all over the place.”

Licht’s title started circulating in parlor video games final yr, earlier than the Discovery merger was introduced, again when Zucker—ousted simply weeks in the past for failing to reveal a romantic relationship along with his high lieutenant, Allison Gollust—was anticipated to depart CNN on his personal accord on the finish of his contract. On the time, Licht signaled to those that he wasn’t within the then hypothetical job, which might have fallen underneath the auspices of AT&T. He had a dream job at CBS, together with a key position in Colbert’s new manufacturing firm, Spartina, and till lately he was in negotiations to increase his contract. However it could seem the prospect of operating CNN underneath Warner Bros. Discovery modified the calculation. Licht’s friendship with Zaslav additionally should have gone a good distance. He’s set to begin in early Could, assuming every thing goes in response to plan with the closing of the Discovery deal. 

My sense of the response inside CNN, the place journalists have been left dumbfounded, anxious, and really indignant over WarnerMedia’s dealing with of the Zucker scenario, is that persons are respiratory somewhat simpler. “He’s one of the best of the names which have been floated,” one supply mentioned. (Different exterior names included Ben Sherwood, David Rhodes, Jay Sures, and Josh Tyrangiel. However there was additionally speak {that a} identified inside amount like Entelis or CNN digital chief Andrew Morse may have made sense.)

One other supply echoed that sentiment. “Everyone seems to be respiratory a sigh of aid and views him as a talented producer who will care deeply in regards to the programming,” this particular person mentioned. “There was an actual fear Discovery would appoint an government who wouldn’t perceive programming and find yourself being an empty go well with. Chris just isn’t that.”

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