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Chris Licht to step down as president of CNN

Amy Entelis to serve as interim president during search for permanent replacement.

Amy Entelis to serve as interim president during search for permanent replacement.

Television executive Chris Licht appears in an undated handout image.
Television executive Chris Licht appears in an undated handout image. (Image courtesy CBS/Paramount Global, Graphic by The Desk)

Embattled CNN President Chris Licht will step down from the network and leave Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) this week, according to numerous reports.

His resignation was confirmed by Sara Fischer of Axios and several other media-focused journalists, who cited unnamed sources at the network. It was later confirmed by Licht himself in a statement emailed to reporters.

“This was an exciting but incredibly challenging assignment, and I learned a lot over the past 13 months,” Licht’s statement read. “I’ve been lucky enough to have had a successful, fulfilling career, and I look forward to my next chapter.”

During an all-staff meeting with CNN employees on Wednesday, WBD CEO David Zaslav said he took full responsibility for the way things went down.

“For a number of reasons, things didn’t work out, and that’s unfortunate,” David Zaslav, the CEO of WBD, said in an all-staff meeting with CNN employees on Wednesday. Zaslav warned that a search for Licht’s permanent replacement could take several months.

In the meantime, CNN will be overseen by a rotating slate of senior executives, including talent and coordinating development executive Amy Entelis, executive vice president of editorial Virginia Moseley and programmer Eric Sherling.

Licht’s resignation comes several days after political affairs magazine The Atlantic published a lengthy and unflattering article that cast Licht’s short tenure as the leader of CNN as one mired in controversy, from his handling of various internal crisis to his programming and talent choices that failed to resonate with viewers.

The profile prompted a rare newsroom apology from Licht, which did little to win over support among the hundreds of journalists who comprise CNN’s domestic and international news operations.

Licht also faced strong criticism from the public in the wake of a town hall-style program with Donald Trump that allowed the former U.S. president to repeat election-related misinformation and other problematic rhetoric in front of an audience of dozens of his fans.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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