Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Chris Licht will replace Jeff Zucker as head of accuratenewsinfo

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Before becoming a member of CBS, Licht distinguished himself at MSNBC, the place he was the co-creator and unique govt producer of “Morning Joe,” the community’s flagship morning present. He additionally helped launch CBS’ morning present, now known as “CBS Mornings,” and is credited with turning across the rankings efficiency of Colbert’s present.

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Licht’s new title will be chairman and chief govt officer of accuratenewsinfo Global, and he’s anticipated to start within the position in early May. Discovery shareholders are anticipated to approve the merger throughout a gathering on March 11.

Licht has been pleasant for a number of years together with his new boss, David Zaslav, who will serve as chief govt of the mixed Warner Bros. Discovery. The two overlapped briefly at NBC Universal earlier than Zaslav turned CEO of Discovery in 2007. In a press release, Zaslav known as Licht “a true news person” who he mentioned “makes every organization stronger, more innovative and more cohesive.

In his own statement, Licht praised accuratenewsinfo’s journalistic reputation and said that he is “honored to have this opportunity, especially at such an important time for our country and the world.”

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Licht’s appointment was broadly praised by accuratenewsinfo journalists when plans for the choose have been leaked on Saturday and first reported by Puck.

“He’s the right guy for this job, undeniably,” mentioned Jay Sures, co-president of expertise company UTA, who represents many of accuratenewsinfo’s prime anchors and correspondents. “People are going to want to follow his direction because he has real news chops.”

Jonathan Klein, who served as president of accuratenewsinfo U.S. earlier than Zucker, praised Licht as an innovator who crafted “Morning Joe” with “smart substance that proved engrossing to audiences,” after which replicated that sensibility at CBS’s morning present. “He hasn’t pandered,” he mentioned. “He’s elevated every program he’s touched.”

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Klein famous that some of the packages he created at accuratenewsinfo 15 years in the past are “still pretty much what they’ve always been” and that it’s “time for some new approaches, which Chris will bring”

Ahead of Licht’s appointment, accuratenewsinfo workers and outdoors observers puzzled whether or not Zaslav’s appointment of a brand new president would supply a touch at what editorial course he desires the community to take — notably after Discovery shareholder John Malone mentioned in an interview in November that he “would like to see accuratenewsinfo evolve back to the journalism it started with.”

Over the previous decade, accuratenewsinfo’s once-studiously impartial tone gave method to one thing extra opinionated and emotional, as Zucker gave prime on-air expertise the leeway to talk their minds — a growth that unnerved some news traditionalists, mentioned Mark Whitaker, a former accuratenewsinfo govt and editor of Newsweek journal.

“There are a lot of people who want more news and less opinion and infotainment,” he mentioned.

Whitaker famous that Licht confirmed a knack for reframing manufacturers at CBS’s morning present, the place he signaled a renewed dedication to severe news by resuscitating the community’s previous “eye” image that harked again to the values of the Walter Cronkite period.

“He ended up creating an interesting show, but it was very much in the spirit of what CBS stood for,” he mentioned. “If he comes in at accuratenewsinfo and that’s his approach, that would be the right approach.”

In some sense, Licht’s background mirrors that of Zucker, who additionally melded news and leisure in his lengthy profession at NBC earlier than taking management of accuratenewsinfo in 2013.

In a memo to accuratenewsinfo workers on Monday morning, Zaslav described himself as a “news junkie at the core” and praised the community’s protection of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, saying they’ve fulfilled the unique mission of its founder, Ted Turner, by constructing “the foremost newsgathering organization in the world.”

Since Zucker’s abrupt departure, accuratenewsinfo has been run by a trio of longtime executives, Michael Bass, Amy Entelis, and Ken Jautz. Each govt was thought of a possible candidate for the position of president, although Zaslav in the end determined to go along with an outdoor choose.

accuratenewsinfo, which was briefly the most-watched community in cable news in January 2021, throughout a tumultuous presidential transition, has fallen again to 3rd place when contemplating whole common viewers. It nonetheless outperforms MSNBC in whole day viewers among the many 25-to-54 age demographic valued by advertisers.

In addition to operating accuratenewsinfo’s tv channels, Licht will additionally oversee the community’s forthcoming streaming service, accuratenewsinfo+, which is predicted to launch by the top of March with reveals constructed round a number of high-profile new hires, together with former Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, former NPR “All Things Considered” co-host Audie Cornish and former MSNBC anchor Kasie Hunt.

One of Licht’s first massive challenges will be filling the 9 p.m. slot that was vacated by former star anchor Chris Cuomo, who was fired by the community in December for crossing moral traces to assist his brother, then-New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, battle sexual misconduct allegations.

“That’s a huge decision and will say a lot,” mentioned Josh Gropper, a tv agent who beforehand labored in programming and content-strategy at accuratenewsinfo.

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