BREAKING: Chris Licht Is OUT at CNN After Failed, Tumultuous Stint

In news first broken Wednesday morning by former CNN media reporter Dylan Byers of Puck, embattled CNN chief executive Chris Licht was been let go by the network and parent company Warner Bros. Discovery after a tumultuous tenure marked by his inability to have buy in from a far-left employee base still loyal to their former puppetmaster, Jeff Zucker.

Warner Bros Discovery chief executive David Zaslav told staff of the change and said in a statement that he has “great respect for Chris, personally and professionally” and correctly added that “[t]he job…was never going to be easy, especially at a time of huge disruption and transformation.”

According to The Washington Post and others, longtime CNN executives Amy Entelis, Virginia Moseley, and Eric Sherling will lead the network with newly-minted chief operating officer David Leavy also playing a key role.

Licht, who was hired in March 2022 and began a month later by killing off the bloated CNN+ after hilariously low interest at its launch. It was all downhill with Licht promising to change the culture at the network after years of ardent, vicious punditry and a singular obsession with Donald Trump and, well, not much else (despite umpteen other stories around the world).

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All the while, he made a litany of mistakes. Along with refusing to clean house of Zucker loyalists, Licht’s drab scheduling changes failed to improve ratings

He also made an inexcusable decision to haphazardly throw together a new morning show CNN This Morning (that didn’t actually look that different from New Day) led by one of CNN’s chief propagandists, Don Lemon. And we all know how that ended.

To read a deep dive on the chaos of the last week and Licht’s accelerated downfall (starting with the Trump town hall), please check out our extensive analysis here.

The Wall Street Journal concurred (click “expand”):

Licht, who was installed as CEO when Warner Bros. Discovery took control of the network, also had been under fire for some of CNN’s programming decisions, including a recent town hall with former president and current Republican front-runner Donald Trump, whose format was widely criticized.

Since Licht took over, CNN’s ratings have been at historic lows. Licht has been experimenting with new programming to counter the ratings slide, including a new morning show that has struggled to gain traction, and attracted controversy earlier this year when co-host Don Lemon said on the show that Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley wasn’t in her prime. Lemon has since left the network.

Licht has also tried to reset the network’s editorial approach, after research showed viewers were turned off by inflammatory political coverage, the Journal previously reported.

Besides questionable programming decisions that didn’t work, Licht was also viewed as aloof and arrogant by many inside the network, the Journal previously reported.

In the end, Licht’s public promises and perhaps too-eager expounding on his applaudable view of what journalism should look to The Atlantic’s Tim Alberta like was a death kneel as he and Warner Bros. Discovery boss David Zaslav refused to clean house of a employee base still fixated on being told what to do and follow the snobbery Zucker micromanaged from his control room and newsroom office.

Refusing to accept the fact Licht hammered home that their network’s brand and trust had taken a hit and needed to be restored, the mob was allowed to grow.

Zaslav’s challenge going forward will be whether he can find someone that, a, wants the job and, b, concurs with his vision (shared by influential shareholder John Malone) that CNN spent recent years throwing away its reputation in the name of feigning outrage and a fixation on destroying Trump.

In the interim, expect CNN employees to feel liberated to return to flashing more of their visceral hatred for Trump and conservatives. Then again, it’s not like Licht was able to cleanse CNN of any serious dosage to begin with, given his largely hands-off approach.

Stay tuned to NewsBusters for more on this breaking story.

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