Chris Licht Is Out at CNN, Leaving Network at a Crossroads

This week, Mr. Zaslav’s support reached its limit.

“For a number of reasons things didn’t work out, and that’s unfortunate,” Mr. Zaslav, the chief executive of Warner Bros. Discovery, told CNN staff on a call roughly two hours after he fired Mr. Licht on Wednesday, according to a recording of his remarks.

“This job,” he added, “was never going to be easy.”

In a statement, Mr. Licht said, “This was an exciting but incredibly challenging assignment and I learned a lot over the past 13 months. I’ve been lucky enough to have had a successful, fulfilling career and I look forward to my next chapter.”

Although Mr. Licht, 51, had endured criticism for months, his standing deteriorated late last week when The Atlantic published a 15,000-word profile extensively documenting his stormy tenure. Mr. Licht had spent hours with the writer, Tim Alberta, and his unguarded comments about CNN’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and the Trump presidency further rankled the network’s anchors and rank-and-file.

Mr. Licht apologized to his staff on a Monday morning call — “To those whose trust I’ve lost, I will fight like hell to win it back,” he said. But Mr. Zaslav concluded soon afterward that his handpicked CNN chief had irreparably lost the room, according to two people briefed on the decision. Among the anchors who expressed misgivings about Mr. Licht in recent days were Anderson Cooper and Jake Tapper, according to the two people.

What Next?

Recent Articles

Leave a Reply

You must be Logged in to post comment.