Embattled CNN boss Chris Licht is leaving his post following an exposé published by The Atlantic that revealed widespread dissent within the ranks.
The New York Times reports:
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 pricey 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.”
Puck earlier reported that Mr. Licht was leaving CNN.
Licht hoped to appease CNN’s right-wing critics through the town hall. However, both sides remained dissatisfied with the outcome. Trump’s strongest supporters were upset with host Kaitlan Collins for fact-checking his false claims of election fraud in battleground states. Meanwhile, the network staff and on-air talent were disappointed that the former president received a major platform.
The decision by Licht comes less than a month after the network’s town hall with former President Donald Trump.
Earlier this week, CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy spoke out against Licht’s inability to keep the faith of the employees of the network after an avalanche of bad press.
“There are a wide range of emotions coursing through the halls of CNN. Some staffers are frustrated. Others are angry. Many are sad about the awful state of affairs that has taken hold of an organization they love,” Darcy wrote in his Reliable Sources media newsletter late Monday. “There is one near-universal sentiment, however, that has been communicated to me: Licht has lost the room.”
Puck News’ Dylan Byers reports “Warner Bros. Discovery will announce that Licht will be stepping down as chairman and CEO of CNN” within the next 48 hours.
Byers first reported that Licht had been tapped to lead the cable news network 16 months ago.