Chris Licht appointed as new CNN chief to replace Zucker

Stephen Colbert and Chris Licht, winners of the Outstanding Variety Specialaward for ‘Stephen Colbert’s Election Night 2020: Democracy’s Last Stand Building Back America Great Again Better 2020,’ pose in the press room during the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards at LA LIVE on September 19, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.

Rich Fury | Getty Images

Chris Licht, most recently Stephen Colbert’s top producer at CBS, was appointed Monday as the new head of CNN, where he’s expected to take over in May.

Licht’s expected appointment to replace Jeff Zucker as chief of CNN was widely reported over the weekend. Before moving into late-night TV, Licht was the chief executive behind the “CBS This Morning” news program and “Morning Joe” on MSNBC.

The appointment was made by David Zaslav, Discovery CEO, who is expected to take over the merged company when Discovery’s acquisition of CNN parent WarnerMedia is approved this spring.

Zaslav called Licht a “dynamic and creative producer, an engaging and thoughtful journalist, and a true news person.”

He said Licht is “a highly principled individual who is trusted, hard-working and makes every organization stronger, more innovative and more cohesive.”

Zucker was forced out earlier this month, after admitting that he had violated corporate rules by not revealing his romantic relationship with a CNN marketing executive, Allison Gollust. Gollust later exited the company, too.

Licht, in a statement, promised to uphold and build upon CNN’s legacy.

“I am looking forward to returning to my journalism roots,” he said.

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