Warner Bros. Discovery President and CEO David Zaslav signaled confidence in CNN CEO Christ Licht Thursday, despite widespread skepticism of the network’s politically centric embrace, stating that he believes the company is “on the right path.”
“On the news side, we are fighting hard and making real progress as the premier global news organization, and we want it to be the place [for] fact-based reporting and thoughtful discourse that is broader than politics of sport,” Zaslav said on Thursday’s Warner Bros. Discovery earnings call. “We are already seeing a more inclusive range of voices and viewpoints as demonstrated last month, when over 70 Republicans came on our air during the congressional speaker election process – a first in a very long time.”
Zaslav also confirmed the network will continue to embrace this “balanced strategy,” and while the shift won’t be immediate, the Warner Bros. Discovery CEO noted that it is imperative to “get it right.”
“We intend to continue advancing on this balanced strategy. Chris Licht and the team and are focused on building an asset for the long term across cable and digital that is worthy of that great global brand,” he continued. “We must get it right. Nowhere is this more important in my view. And it isn’t going to happen overnight. I believe we are on the right path.”
After taking over as CEO in May 2022, Licht has certainly shaken up the network, most notably canceling Brian Stelter’s Sunday morning show, “Reliable Sources,” and shifting Don Lemon from his primetime gig to co-host “CNN This Morning” alongside Kaitlan Collins and Poppy Harlow. All was undoubtedly part of Licht’s goal to make CNN “a disrupter of the broadcast morning shows in this space.”
Licht has also made waves through his stated attempts to tone down any displays of partisanship from on-air talent — showcasing his commitment to balance when Washington reporter John Harwood exited in the fall after attacking former President Donald Trump as a “dishonest demagogue” in his final on-air appearance.