The embattled CEO is out at the network following the fallout from the Trump town hall and a negative article about his leadership in The Atlantic, CNBC Reports.
Staff at the network staged a rebellion of sorts against Licht, which proved successful.
He drew even more heated criticism in recent weeks after the network hosted a town hall with Donald Trump that was packed with scores of the former president’s cheering fans. While the event drew 3.3 million viewers, CNN’s ratings plummeted afterward. Two days after the town hall, CNN’s primetime viewership came in below right wing outlet Newsmax, a much smaller network.
But it was an unflattering 15,000-word profile of Licht in The Atlantic that might have sealed his fate. He apologized to staffers Monday morning, but top brass at CNN’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery, including CEO David Zaslav, weren’t happy with the article and the aftermath.
The move comes soon after David Leavy, a key Zaslav ally, was named the network’s new chief operating officer. Leavy was tasked with taking over marketing, public relations, advertising sales, facilities and other logistics.
The move was intended to allow Licht to focus more on programming. Licht helped launch MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” as its executive producer in 2007 and later became executive producer and showrunner of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on CBS.
CNN faced rock bottom ratings making parent company Warner Bros. Discovery uneasy.
Parent company CEO David Zaslav recently inserted ally David Leavy into CNN as the Chief Operating Officer to fix programming missteps which is speculated as part of the move to depart from Licht.