Following Jeff Zucker’s removal as the president of CNN, CBS executive Chris Licht, who is currently operating Stephen Colbert’s late-night show after he helped to build two news programs, is expected to take over Zucker’s office.
According to an executive who spoke anonymously about the situation, Licht should be named to the job as soon as next week.
Licht will not be able to take over Zucker’s old job until the deal granting CNN new corporate ownership receives federal approval, which is expected to take place early this spring. The new chief is currently serving as the executive vice president of special programming at CBS.
Prior to 2016 when he took over as the executive producer at Colbert’s “Late Show,” leading it to the top of the ratings, Licht operated “CBS This Morning,” which is the network’s morning news show.
David Zaslav, the CEO of Discovery, which is expected to take over WarnerMedia soon in a deal that is pending approval, made the selection of Licht for the job after Zucker was ousted as CNN chief earlier in February for failing to disclose his romantic relationship with Allison Gollust, a CNN marketing executive. Gollust was pushed out of the network later on, although she had originally planned to stay in her job despite Zucker’s removal.
Zucker had been a hands-on executive who guided the network through the years when it was a large target for criticism by former President Donald Trump. Now, one of Licht’s top priorities will be to find a replacement for Chris Cuomo, who was at one time CNN’s most popular prime-time host.
Cuomo had been fired in December when the breadth of his efforts to assist his brother, former governor of New York Andrew Cuomo, fight sexual assault allegations came to light.
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NBC NEWS