NEW YORK | Chris Licht is out after a year as chief executive at CNN, following a series of missteps and plunging ratings.
David Zaslav, the CEO of CNN parent company Warner Bros. Discovery, announced the leadership change on CNN’s morning editorial call on Wednesday.
Zaslav appointed a four-person leadership team to lead the network in the interim.
Licht replaced Jeff Zucker as CNN’s chief executive last year, with a mandate to make the network move the network more toward the political center. But a town hall meeting with Donald Trump received wide criticism, and a revamp of the network’s morning show imploded with the firing of Don Lemon.
A lengthy profile of Licht in Atlantic magazine that came out on Friday proved embarrassing and likely sealed his fate. Only two days ago, Licht promised on the same morning editorial call to fight to regain the trust of CNN employees.
But internally, Licht couldn’t gain the support of many at the network who felt loyal to Zucker, who was forced out following the revelation of an improper relationship with a work colleague.
CNN’s May ratings were dismal, with prime-time viewership less than half of rival of MSNBC, with Fox News Channel still leading among the cable networks.
Zaslav appointed four current CNN executives — Amy Entelis, Virginia Moseley, Eric Sherling and David Leavy — to run the network while a search for a replacement is conducted.
“We are in good hands, allowing us to take the time we need to run a thoughtful and thorough search for a new leader,” Zaslav said in a memo to CNN staff.