Chris Licht, a former television producer who oversaw a short and tumultuous run as president of CNN, is no longer with the network.
David Zaslau, chief executive of Warner Bros. Discovery, CNN’s parent, told employees Wednesday morning that he had Mr. He said he had met Licht and he was leaving immediately.
Mr. Licht’s 13-month run at CNN was marked by one controversy after another. He got off to a bumpy start even before it officially launched, when he oversaw the shutdown of the expensive CNN+ streaming service at the request of its network’s new owners, who were skeptical about a standalone digital product. The cuts resulted in numerous layoffs.
“Things didn’t work out for a number of reasons, which is unfortunate,” said Mr. Zaslav said according to a recording of his comments. “It’s really unfortunate and ultimately it’s on me. I take full responsibility for that.
“This work is never going to be easy, especially in times of great disruption and change,” he continued. “Chris poured his heart and soul into this job. Like you, he’s been in the line of fire, and he’s had a lot of success. We appreciate his efforts, his passion, his love for journalism and his love for this business.
An interim leadership team — including CNN veterans Amy Entelis, Virginia Moseley and Eric Scherling — and newly appointed chief operating officer David Levy will take over before a permanent leader takes over, Mr. Zaslav said. The process could take several months, he said.
Mr. Mr. When Licht took the job, he told friends it was a “calling.”
The work will be very difficult. Mr. Ratings plummeted during Licht’s administration and a series of programming missteps — including a poor morning show co-hosted by Don Lemon, as well as former President Donald J. That includes organizing a town hall featuring Trump. He is less likely to find favor with his peers.
The situation worsened last week Atlantic Publishing a 15,000-word profile, Mr. Licht documented the stormy period in detail, including criticism of the network’s coverage of the pandemic that rankled the network’s rank-and-file.
And worse things are CNN’s financial performance. The network posted a profit of $750 million last year, including one-time losses from the CNN+ streaming service, up from $1.25 billion a year earlier.
Mr. Licht’s sudden departure marks the latest success in a turbulent period for the network.
In December 2021, prime-time anchor Chris Cuomo was fired amid an ethics scandal involving his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Two months later, the network’s longtime chief executive, Jeff Zucker, was fired for failing to disclose an affair with a colleague, senior executive Alison Kolest, who Mr. Zucker was fired within weeks of leaving.
Mr. Mr. Zucker enjoyed broad loyalty from top anchors and rank-and-file even after his departure. Didn’t help Licht. Staff Mr. As he began to resent Licht, Mr. Zucker became a quasi-complaint switchboard for frustrated employees.
Pg As reported earlier Mr. Licht is leaving CNN.
This is a growing story. Check back for updates.