By Helen Coster
(Reuters) -CNN Chairman and Chief Executive Chris Licht has stepped down from the media company, effective immediately, parent company Warner Bros. Discovery said on Wednesday.
In a press release announcing the change, the company said that as it seeks Licht’s replacement, it has put in place an interim leadership team including Amy Entelis, EVP of talent and content development; Virginia Moseley, EVP of editorial, and Eric Sherling, EVP of US programming, as well as David Leavy, chief operating officer, on the commercial side.
“I have great respect for Chris, personally and professionally,” David Zaslav, Warner Bros. Discovery president and CEO said in the release. “The job of leading CNN was never going to be easy, especially at a time of huge disruption and transformation, and he has poured his heart and soul into it.”
Licht, who most recently served as EVP of special programming at CBS and executive producer and showrunner for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” assumed his role in May 2022, replacing Jeff Zucker. He has been under pressure in the days following a damning report in the Atlantic magazine.
Among other criticism, he has taken heat for the network’s decision to broadcast a May 10 town hall with former Republican President Donald Trump, during which Trump repeated falsehoods about his 2020 election loss, said that if elected he would pardon many supporters convicted of taking part in a Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, and called CNN moderator Kaitlan Collins a “nasty person.”
CNN’s ratings have been sagging, even as the company attempts to get more Republican viewers.
(Reporting by Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza and Nick Zieminski)
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