CNN’s New Boss Overcame Brush With Death, Helped Create ‘Morning Joe’ and Revived Stephen Colbert

Monday - 28/02/2022 19:36
Chris Licht plans to adjust CNN’s programming mix to include more hard news and less opinion
Chris Licht’s appointment as head of CNN comes at a pivotal time for the network. PHOTO: MIKE COPPOLA/GETTY IMAGES
Chris Licht’s appointment as head of CNN comes at a pivotal time for the network. PHOTO: MIKE COPPOLA/GETTY IMAGES

On an April morning in 2010, the future leader of CNN heard a pop in his skull and was suddenly stricken by a vicious headache.

Though he didn’t know it then, Chris Licht, who at the time was executive producer of “Morning Joe” on MSNBC, had a subarachnoid hemorrhage—bleeding in the space that surrounds the brain. Mr. Licht, who on Monday was appointed chairman and CEO of CNN Global, would later write in a 2011 memoir that the mysterious bleed and his eventual recovery put the frenetic world of cable news into perspective.

“There are no [hours] to be wasted on anxiety about who says what about you or whether they like you,” Mr. Licht wrote. “These things are beyond your power to influence.”

More than a decade later, Mr. Licht, 50 years old, is taking over a network racked with anxiety over the departure of his predecessor, long-serving CNN President Jeff Zucker —who resigned Feb. 2, citing his failure to disclose a consensual relationship with a colleague. The abrupt exit led several high-profile anchors, who were hired by Mr. Zucker and are personally loyal to him, to grill Jason Kilar, the CEO of CNN parent WarnerMedia, over why Mr. Zucker had to leave.

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Author: Editors Desk

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