After days of almost exclusive focus on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, here's a bit of a palate cleanser for you. The name of CNN's new head to replace the ousted Jeff Zucker has been leaked. Chris Licht will lead the network per Dylan Byers, and word on the street is that big changes are coming.
Last night, I reported that Warner Bros. Discovery chief David Zaslav had zeroed in on his choice for the next President of CNN. I also reported that star executive producer Chris Licht, formerly of Morning Joe and CBS This Morning, and now the person in charge of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, had emerged as a top contender for the position formerly occupied by Jeff Zucker. I can now report, based on conversations with sources who have spoken directly with Zaslav, that Licht is indeed the person who Zaslav has selected to run CNN.
Notice that it wasn't Brian Stelter, CNN's own “media reporter,” that broke this news. That's not a coincidence. Per Jon Nicosia, Stelter and his sidekick, Oliver Darcy, are looking at being reassigned. Discovery, which has purchased the liberal network, is reportedly looking to dial back the partisanship of its “reporters” in order to re-establish some credibility and standards.
Understand that the 'Media Reporters' at CNN. Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy were Zucker's hit men and cleanup crew. It makes sense Discovery would like to start fresh. /More to come.— Jon Nicosia (@NewsPolitics) February 27, 2022
As Nicosia notes, Stelter and Darcy have operated as bodyguards for Zucker and the network, often absconding from journalistic ethics along the way. The two “reporters” have made an art of misleading by omission while expressing an unhealthy obsession with Fox News. RedState has also been a target at times, with Stelter acting as a stenographer for the left during the Katie Hill scandal, which our own Jennifer Van Laar broke.
By the numbers, Stelter's ratings have never justified his position with the network. The lack of talent has long been apparent, compounded by overt partisanship expressed in a way completely void of charisma. If that's not what CNN's new ownership is looking for, where does Stelter ultimately end up? The answer to that could very well be “on the street.”
Fantastic news: Brian Stelter, who spent most of the last half decade trying to cost other people their jobs, has told several people that be thinks he’s going to lose his job at CNN.— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) February 27, 2022
Where else could he go? Who on earth would ever put that guy on TV again?
Still, color me slightly skeptical that Chris Licht, who once led MSNBC's Morning Joe, is going to fully pull CNN back into the realm of sanity. Clearly, Licht is a hardcore liberal, and though he may make big changes, it'll be interesting to see what that all adds up to. Yet, Discovery obviously didn't buy the network to lose money, and CNN's current ratings are absolute garbage. Clearly, something has to change, and there are likely to be a lot of recognizable names who lose their shows and cushy positions. Grab some popcorn.