CNN ‘Partisan’ On-Air Talent Must Tone It Down Under New Boss – Or Else

Everyone at the network will be expected to cool down the “combative” and “alarmist” rhetoric. Yes, everyone

CNN Chris Licht
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CNN’s new management will give its existing on-air talent roster – which has grown increasingly polarized in recent years – the opportunity to tone down the rhetoric to conform with the network’s new priorities to be more facts-focused, according to a Tuesday report in Axios.

And if not? There’s the door, Axios reported, citing three people familiar with the matter.

New CNN boss Chris Licht, whose predecessor Jeff Zucker is largely responsible for CNN turning hard-left at the outset of the Trump administration, wants to give the brand’s existing faces the chance to try out its more nuanced, facts-based approach to doing the news.

“For on-air talent, that includes engaging in respectful interviews that don’t feel like PR stunts,” Axios wrote. “For producers and bookers, that includes making programming decisions that are focused on nuance, not noise.”

CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Axios said CNN isn’t going to “shy away” from personality programming – those partisan voices just won’t dominate the way had in the era of Zucker, who was ousted from the network over a longstanding consensual relationship with a co-worker.

Licht, who most recently was the longtime showrunner of “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” on CBS, took over last month. Axios says Warner Bros. Discovery is aligned with Licht’s news-first vision, which would return CNN to something that better resembles the original cable network’s founding principles of traditional journalism.

One of the first casualties of the Licht era was CNN’s “Breaking News” banner, which Licht told employees in a recent memo has been overused. “We are truth-tellers, focused on informing, not alarming our viewers,” the memo read, according to Axios.