It seems the Chris Licht saga at CNN is drawing to a close…at least, in one respect. According to Puck, Licht will step down as the network’s chairman and CEO, with an official announcement from Warner Brothers Discovery soon to follow.
Licht will be replaced for an interim period by Amy Entelis. She is a longtime CNN executive who served loyally under Licht’s predecessor Jeff Zucker.
Licht’s tenure was arguably the most unstable and erratic of CNN’s 43-year history.
The fallout from his Atlantic piece rocked the company to the point where many inside said he had lost the room. But even before that bombshell profile went live, Licht was a polarizing and loathed figure from the very start. CNN+ died before his first day which led to scores of layoffs. Ratings plummeted even as Licht attempted (though never admitted to) moving the network back to the ideological center. But in many ways, the Donald Trump Town Hall was the beginning of the end. The ratings were good, but that was not the issue. Even as criticism poured in about how CNN was enabling the former president to spread his lies, Licht said the network got it right. And it only got worse from there; Licht didn’t even last a month after that fateful broadcast.
Whatever comes next for CNN, it will have its work cut out for it as it tries to rehabilitate its image after Licht’s controversies damaged it like never before.