Chris Licht, the former television producer who oversaw a brief and chaotic run as the chairman of CNN, is out at the network, according to a person briefed on the decision.
Mr. Licht’s 13-month run at CNN was marked by one controversy after another, culminating in his exit earlier this week. He got off to a bumpy start even before he had officially started when he oversaw the shuttering of the costly CNN+ streaming service at the request of its network’s new owners, who were skeptical about a stand-alone digital product. The cuts resulted in scores of layoffs.
Warner Bros. Discovery, CNN’s parent company, did not respond to a request for comment.
Mr. Licht’s departure represents a dramatic fall not long after he departed as an executive producer of Stephen Colbert’s top-rated late night show and vowed to bring a middle-of-the-road balance to CNN’s journalism. When Mr. Licht took the job, he told friends it was a “calling.”
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.
Further worsening matters was CNN’s financial performance. The network generated $750 million in profit last year, including one-time losses from the CNN+ streaming service, down from $1.25 billion the year before.
Puck earlier reported that Mr. Licht was leaving CNN.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
John Koblin covers the television industry. He is the co-author of “It’s Not TV: The Spectacular Rise, Revolution, and Future of HBO.” @koblin
Benjamin Mullin is a media reporter for The Times, covering the major companies behind news and entertainment. @benmullin
Source: Read Full Article