(Reuters) -Executive producer Chris Licht will lead CNN after the cable news channel is taken over by Discovery Inc, succeeding Jeff Zucker, a source familiar with the matter said on Saturday.
An announcement is expected as early as next week, according to the source.
Licht is currently an executive producer of the Emmy Award-winning “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” on Paramount Global’s <PARA.O> CBS network. He served for six years as executive producer of “CBS This Morning,” offering a newsier alternative to rival network morning shows. He has also served as executive producer of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” an experience that provided the backdrop of his book “What I Learned When I Almost Died,” in which he describes the life-changing experience of surviving a brain aneurysm.
Industry newsletter Puck first reported https://puck.news/jeff-zuckers-successor-is-chris-licht the development.
This marks the first major appointment by Discovery CEO David Zaslav, who will lead the new Warner Bros. Discovery once the acquisition of WarnerMedia is completed.
The network was thrown into turmoil earlier this month following the abrupt departure of its longtime leader Jeff Zucker, the executive who reshaped the news network. He was forced to leave, he told colleagues, because he failed to disclose a consensual relationship with a colleague.
Discovery has said it was not consulted on that decision.
Licht will run CNN as head of news for Warner Bros. Discovery and unlike Zucker, his purview will not extend to sports, the newsletter reported, citing sources.
Zaslav heaped praise on CNN’s coverage of the war in Ukraine during Discovery’s investor call this week, lauding “journalists in bulletproof vests and helmets … doing what journalists do the best, which is fight to tell the truth in dangerous places.”
(Reporting by Dawn Chmielewski; Additional reporting by Rhea Binoy in Bengaluru; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Andrea Ricci)