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CNN CEO Chris Licht Cedes Business Operations, Report

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


It has been tough sledding at CNN for a long time as viewers flock to other networks for their news coverage, but now one of one of the biggest shakeups to ever hit the company has changed the game.

As ratings continue to fall, and in the aftermath of an unflattering piece about him in The Atlantic that said people at the network no longer had confidence in him, CNN CEO Chris Licht is said to be ceding his role as head of business operations, Puck News reported.

The role will be handled by David Leavy , who is the chief corporate affairs officer at Warner Bros. Discovery, the report said.

“In the last 48 hours, it has become clear, based on conversations with well-placed sources, that Zaslav’s once steadfast support has wavered considerably. On Wednesday, Licht informed his direct reports that he would be ceding control of all business operations to David Leavy, the chief corporate affairs officer at Warner Bros. Discovery and a longtime member of the Zaslav brain trust. The move, which Licht characterized as his own decision, was in fact an unequivocal vote of diminishing confidence by the parent co in Licht’s ability to manage a business that has endured substantial ratings declines, revenue losses, and reputational damage since he took over,” the report said.

The news came after Mediate reported that Leavy was heading to CNN to work as COO.

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“There’s no way they would put David Leavy down into CNN to work for Chris Licht,” an industry insider said to Mediaite. “He’s too important to Zaslav to take what on paper sounds like a demotion. It sure sounds like he’s taking one for the team.”

“The official corporate line is that Leavy’s appointment will allow Licht to focus on programming and editorial strategy while Leavy manages the P&L, operational logistics, and marketing and P.R.—and that much is true,” Puck said in its report. “But while Leavy will officially report up to Licht, the new org chart belies the true nature of his position.”

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And CNN is not the only network dealing with changes.

Fox News is continuing to fall apart since the firing of Tucker Carlson and has canceled another of its shows.

The network is preparing to launch a new weekend lineup starting this week and as part of that change, it canceled “The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton,” a Fox Media press release said, Business Insider reported.

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The Next Revolution will end its 9 PM/ET Sunday run, as Steve Hilton steps back from hosting a weekly show to focus on his new California non-partisan policy organization launching next week. Hilton will remain a contributor across all FOX News Media platforms while Trey Gowdy’s Sunday Night in America will move to 9PM/ET,” the network said in the press release.

“We are excited to launch a new dynamic weekend line-up that will further solidify our position as the number one cable news network for more than two decades. We thank Steve Hilton for his show’s contributions and look forward to continuing to feature his valuable insights across our daytime and primetime programming,” Senior Vice President of The Five & Weekend Programming Megan Albano said.

The press release said:

Starting this Saturday, FNC’s weekend primetime lineup will commence at 7 PM/ET with The Big Weekend Show. Previously known as The Big Saturday Show and The Big Sunday Show, the program features a rotation of network hosts and contributors discussing the news of the day. Formerly airing at 5 PM/ET, that timeslot will now feature encore presentations of The Five & Fox News Saturday Night followed by The FOX Report with Jon Scott, which will remain at 6 PM/ET on weekends.

FNC’s powerful weekend primetime lineup will continue at 8 PM/ET on Saturdays with Brian Kilmeade’s One Nation followed by Lawrence Jones Cross Country at 9 PM/ET. Since each program’s launch last year, Kilmeade and Lawrence Jones have dominated the cable news competition in viewership in their respective hours. At 10 PM/ET, FNC will debut FOX News Saturday Night, a new program featuring a rotating lineup of FNC personalities offering a lighter take on the news of the week.

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