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Shakeup at CNN As Chris Licht Steps Down as CEO Amidst Negative Publicity and Internal Struggles

The resignation of Chris Licht as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CNN, the global news network, has brought significant changes and challenges to the company. As CNN’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery, begins the search for a new leader, the departure of Licht raises questions about the future direction of the network. Licht’s tenure was marked by negative publicity, internal criticism, and struggles to reshape CNN’s coverage. This article explores the reasons behind Licht’s departure and the impact it may have on CNN’s future.

Chris licht
Image source : OK Magazine

The Search for a New Leader As Chris Licht Steps Down:

The announcement of Chris Licht‘s departure includes plans for an extensive search to find a suitable replacement for the CEO position at CNN. Warner Bros. Discovery’s CEO, David Zaslav, has stated that the search will consider both internal and external candidates. In the meantime, a four-person committee of CNN executives will take on the responsibility of interim leadership.

Licht’s Background and Entry into CNN:

Chris Licht was appointed as CNN’s CEO in February 2022 but officially assumed the role in May due to prior work commitments at CBS. Before joining CNN, Licht worked as a television producer for shows like “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Licht, who considers himself a journalist at heart, felt a strong pull to return to the news industry during a critical period in history.

Acknowledging Licht’s Contributions:

David Zaslav expressed his appreciation for Licht’s passion for journalism and dedication to CNN in his announcement of Licht’s departure. Zaslav assumed responsibility for the outcome, acknowledging the difficulties of leading CNN during a time of significant disruption and transformation in the media landscape.

Negative Publicity and Internal Challenges:

A recent article in The Atlantic depicted Licht as overly confident and losing the confidence of CNN staff. This negative publicity added to the challenges faced during Licht’s tenure. CNN also experienced layoffs and a decline in advertising revenue, as Warner Bros.

Discovery aimed to cut costs by billions of dollars. These circumstances created obstacles for Licht’s mission to reshape CNN’s news coverage to be less partisan.

Controversies and Impact on CNN:

Licht’s tenure at CNN was marred by controversies and internal issues. Following a town hall event with former President Donald Trump, CNN faced backlash as Trump repeated false claims about the 2020 election and made controversial remarks.

The network’s ratings also suffered, with May ratings showing lower prime-time viewership compared to rivals like MSNBC and Fox News. Additionally, CNN closed its streaming service, CNN+, and terminated anchor Don Lemon amidst allegations of inappropriate behavior.

Chris Licht’s resignation as CEO of CNN has triggered a period of change and introspection for the global news network. The negative publicity, challenges in reshaping CNN’s coverage, and controversies during Licht’s tenure have left a significant impact on the network’s image and performance.

As CNN embarks on the search for a new leader, the industry will be closely watching its efforts to redefine itself, regain viewership, and navigate the evolving media landscape. The outcome of this transition will shape CNN’s future and its position within the competitive news industry.


To work in a challenging environment that will test me at all levels and allow me to utilize and ameliorate my professional as well as personal skills by way of positive contribution to the organization while at the same time being resourceful, innovative and flexible.

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