Over at CNN, the more things change, apparently, the more they stay the same.
According to Newsmax, the head of CNN’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery, has selected its replacement for Jeff Zucker, the former leader of the cable news outlet who resigned earlier this month. Zucker left after announcing a longtime affair with a senior staffer, but also amid multiple other sex scandals.
Newsmax noted that Warner Bros. has settled on Chris Licht, who is now CBS’s executive vice president of special programming and the executive producer of “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” since 2016. He also was a co-creator and the original executive producer of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
CNN’s own media reporter Brian Stelter also reported that Licht will be the new president of CNN, with his hiring expected to be announced next month.
Zucker came aboard in 2013, and in January 2014, CNN boasted that it held the No. 2 slot in cable news, trailing only Fox News Channel. The network noted in a press release at the time that all of its primetime shows gained viewers, compared to 2012, while primetime audiences shrunk across the whole cable-news industry.
Yet under Zucker, CNN eventually watched its audience flee in droves as it became more left-wing and more hostile to Republicans, especially former President Donald Trump.
As The Free Press reported last month, CNN’s primetime audience during the fourth quarter of 2021 was down 80 percent year over year, as its allegedly best on-air talent was getting hammered by offerings from the Food Network, the Game Show Network, Lifetime, and HGTV.
“What CNN chief Jeff Zucker has done to destroy the CNN brand is beyond anything I thought possible. One of the country’s great brands is now a national punchline and earning fewer primetime viewers than the Food Network. Lol,” Breitbart News columnist John Nolte recently observed.
So, CNN’s answer to pulling out of this tailspin is to hire a guy who played an integral part in crafting some of the most anti-GOP shows on TV.
“Morning Joe” is arguably MSNBC’s most aggressively anti-conservative show not hosted by Rachel Maddow. Meanwhile, former “Daily Show” star Colbert rivals ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel as the most anti-Trump, but least funny, late-night host.
The conservative Media Research Center reported that Licht is being brought in to right CNN’s listing ship, literally and figuratively.
Warner Bros. wants to move CNN back toward the center and focus more on actual news than opinion-making by liberal hosts.
Yet, the MRC noted after pointing out Licht’s past productions, “This history alone is enough to raise doubts about the seriousness of this desire to have CNN blunt their liberal programming.”
It does seem odd that CNN believes the winning strategy is to appeal to the conservatives it has spent years alienating, while seeking to tact to the right, and alienate the remaining liberals who still watch.