CNN’s ubiquitous “breaking news” banner is gone and reserved for a truly urgent event instance. Sneaky on-screen captions — “Angry Trump turns a briefing into a propaganda session, “, Etc. — Not recommended. Political shows are trying to book more conservative voices, and producers are being encouraged to ignore Twitter’s backlash from the far right and far left.
1 month of his tenure New leader CNN’s Chris Licht has begun to leave his mark on the 24-hour news network inherited from prominent former president Jeff Zucker in May. So far, Licht Doctrine is a change from Zucker’s time. Fewer hype, more nuances, and doubled efforts to reach all striped viewers.
Running a network is a new challenge for Licht, a 50-year-old lifelong producer who has never led an organization as large as a CNN. (His last employer, “Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” had about 200 staff. CNN has about 4,000.) Some CNN journalists say he’s vast. He says he is wondering if he can navigate the cumbersome global news network in the past. Not a good, very bad year.
December, anchor Chris Cuomo fired Eventually due to ethical revocation Expulsion of Mr. Zucker Over a private relationship with a colleague in February. Then, in April, the new owner of the network, Warner Bros. Discovery, Shut down the streaming platform CNN + A few weeks after the $ 300 million debut. On the same day, Licht announced the prospect of layoffs for hundreds of people in his first formal speech to staff.
Under Zucker, a micro-manager who dictated the headlines during the interview and whispered to the anchor’s ears, the network developed the “Audience of One” culture. “What Jeff wants” was the mantra, which often meant spectacle and drama. Richt is currently dismantling the playbook in a management style that is significantly different from his predecessor.
“I’m not here to get caught up in the weeds of day-to-day editorial decision-making,” Licht told employees on the first day. His more practical approach to the press and his radical remark that CNN “challenge the traditional philosophy of cable news” wants his skeptics to take a more specific direction from above. I’m out.
Mr. Licht’s early moves and mood within the network were explained by several people with knowledge of CNN’s internal dynamics, speaking only on anonymous terms.
CNN internal investigation
The global 24-hour news network is in a period of turmoil.
Mr. Richt knows the criticism. “I’m going to make decisions more slowly than some people want,” he wrote in a note across the newsroom on Thursday. “I think this organization has undergone significant changes in the last four months, so we look at every part of our business and work slowly and thoughtfully on this process,” CNN declined to comment. )
One of the early focal points was morning programming. This is an area that Richt is familiar with from the director of Morning Joe and the success of CBS This Morning’s Retool.
Licht told advertisers that he wanted to “confuse” morning television. Internally, he says he wants a more engaging and conversational approach, and that CNN’s main service, “New Day,” created by Zucker lacks a clear identity. The three said.
In the coming weeks, people said he wanted to make a list of “friends of the show” who would appear regularly in the program. Among those under consideration is Audie Cornish, a former NPR host who was planning to host the program on CNN +.
Licht also wants to revamp his Sunday night lineup with a new talk show from former Fox News anchor Chris Wallace and a new feature-length news magazine program.
Licht is enthusiastic about dialing back partisanships on air. Tell the advertiser Last month, “At a time when extreme cable news dominates, we’re looking for another path.” At a recent meeting with producers and journalists in Washington, Richt offered a broader perspective. In order to do so, he said he would like to book more Republicans and conservatives on the political show.Internally, he praised Dana Bash’s recent interview About gun control with Texas Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw.
In a sense, Mr. Licht is working to get it back. Showman-like trends Former “Today” show producer Zucker was embedded in CNN’s DNA for nine years in office.
Zucker placed a sportscaster-style microphone on the expert and urged political anchors like Jim Acosta to accept hostile coverage of Donald J. Trump. An oversized group of party guests called the moral Dajon every night.
“It was very noisy,” said Peter Hamby, a former CNN correspondent and pack columnist. write in About changes in cable news. “They found new anger every day. It was difficult for viewers to distinguish between what was really an emergency and what was a measure.”
Zucker’s approach had advantages. CNN had the most profitable and most acclaimed years of his tenure, despite a sharp drop in viewership after Mr. Trump’s resignation.Many anchors were attacked by Mr. Trump, threatened with murder, and even Pipe bomb Mail To CNN’s office.Delivered by anchor Don Lemon after Zucker’s departure Tears on air farewell“We have lost the man who was the backbone, glue and spirit of this company.”
Some CNN producers and journalists have become accustomed to waiting for Zucker’s specific instructions. Richt isn’t too keen on micromanagement. This is an approach that is consistent with his production philosophy in his past work. Licht told his peers that he prefers to allow his agent to make his own decisions, even if mistakes can occur from time to time.
Broadcast journalism is just one aspect of Richt’s new role. He also needs to make sure that the network makes money. Licht told his colleagues that lowering the overall rating of the cable and strengthening CNN’s reputation as a fair news outfit would help attract good advertisers.
Licht, who has little experience on the part of network operators, has helped outside. I’m Chris Marlin, a senior executive who has been a friend for decades and recently worked for Renner, a giant Florida-based homebuilder. Licht met Merlin, who grew up in a trailer park in Arkansas, at the age of 17. Washington Conference for High School Students..
Merlin, who is combining networks for new sources of income, said CNN proved the subject of curiosity and anxiety. Some employees call him a “fishman.” This is the takeoff of his sea name.So far, his ideas include extensions CNN emphasizesA consumer shopping guide, expanding the CNN brand to overseas markets such as China.
For CNN’s everyday viewers, the clearest sign that the network is under new leadership may no longer be their TV screen fixtures.
According to a new entry in the CNN Standards Guide obtained by The New York Times, stories need to be considered “watch the news” stop what you’re doing “to secure the” breaking news “label. I have. Still, according to the guide, the label will only appear on the screen for an hour unless there is a live story unfolding, such as a school shooting, a major hurricane, or the death of a world leader.
“The impact was lost to the viewer,” Licht wrote in a note, adding that CNN “should focus on providing information rather than astonishing the viewer.”
Benjamin Marine Report that contributed.