Chris Licht Exits CNN After Turbulent Year: Staff Revolt, Ratings Slump, and Scathing Profile Take Their Toll

…By Judah Olanisebee for TDPel Media. Chris Licht Departs CNN Following Turbulent Year: Staff Revolt, Ratings Slump, and Critical Profile Prove Final Straws


Chris Licht, who took over as the head of CNN in May 2022, has exited the network after a tumultuous first year marked by declining ratings, internal discontent among staff, and a scathing profile published in The Atlantic.

The article proved to be the tipping point for Licht’s departure, as he faced criticism for his self-promotion and disparaging remarks about the network’s reporting prior to his arrival.

Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav made the announcement of Licht’s exit, expressing appreciation for his efforts while acknowledging the challenges of leading CNN during a period of significant disruption and transformation.

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A Shift in Leadership and Challenges Faced:

Chris Licht stepped into the role of CNN’s leader following Jeff Zucker’s departure, aiming to revamp the network, address declining ratings, and reduce perceived bias.

However, his tenure was marred by controversies and internal strife. Licht’s approach to leadership, including a lack of accessibility and insulation from the newsroom, contributed to a disconnect with staff members.


He also made decisions that drew criticism, such as granting Donald Trump a townhall event that alienated long-time employees and stirred backlash.

The Impact of The Atlantic Profile:

The Atlantic’s profile of Chris Licht, published over the weekend, proved to be the final blow.

The article highlighted Licht’s self-aggrandizement and disparaging remarks about CNN’s coverage prior to his arrival.

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He downplayed the network’s negative coverage of Donald Trump, claiming that they had been played by the former president.

Licht’s comments about his personal life, including weight loss, further drew criticism and raised concerns about his leadership style.

In response to the profile, Licht issued an apology to staff members during a morning call.

Transition and Future Leadership:


With Licht’s departure, CNN will be guided by interim leaders, including Amy Entelis, Virginia Moseley, and Eric Sherling, until a permanent replacement is found.

The network will need to regroup, reevaluate its strategies, and prioritize rebuilding trust and morale among staff members.

The search for a new leader will be crucial in shaping the future direction of CNN and its efforts to maintain its position as a respected source of journalism.

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Chris Licht’s departure from CNN underscores the challenges faced by leaders in the media industry, particularly during periods of transition and transformation.

While attempts to revamp and address concerns are necessary, the approach and communication with staff members are vital to ensure unity and a shared sense of purpose.

The media landscape is constantly evolving, and leaders must adapt to changing dynamics while upholding journalistic integrity.

As CNN moves forward, it is an opportunity for reflection, course correction, and a renewed commitment to delivering quality news coverage in a rapidly changing media environment.


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