Chris Licht has been formally announced as Jeff Zucker’s CNN successor. The current showrunner and executive producer of “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” will take over CNN Global as chairman and CEO in early May, according to a Monday press release.
The WarnerMedia-Discovery merger, which will create new company Warner Bros. Discovery, is expected to close early during the April-June quarter of this year. AT&T is the current owner of WarnerMedia, pending a final Discovery shareholder vote on the multi-billion dollar deal.
Licht will not take on the entirety of Zucker’s old job. Before stepping down over a consensual, personal work relationship with CNN’s (now-former) chief marketing officer Allison Gollust, Zucker was also in charge of WarnerMedia’s sports programming.
“I have known and admired Chris for more than 15 years and strongly believe he is the best person to lead CNN Global as part of Warner Bros. Discovery. Chris is a dynamic and creative producer, an engaging and thoughtful journalist, and a true news person,” David Zaslav, who will lead Warner Bros. Discovery, said in a statement this morning. “He has more than two decades of broadcast experience across local, cable and national news. He has been in the field, in the control room and on the set. He is a highly principled individual who is trusted, hard-working and makes every organization stronger, more innovative, and more cohesive.”
“I’m honored to have this opportunity, especially at such an important time for our country and the world,’’ Licht added. “CNN has a rich and storied legacy and I both promise to uphold it and build upon it. I am eternally grateful to Stephen Colbert and the peerless Late Show team for an unforgettable run. I am looking forward to returning to my journalism roots.”
Licht has spent more than 20 years in broadcast news. Prior to his Colbert gig, Licht was vice president of programming for CBS News and executive producer of the network’s morning news program, “CBS This Morning,” which he helped launch in 2012. Before joining CBS, Licht was the co-creator and original executive producer of MSNBC’s morning news show, “Morning Joe.”