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CNN’s ruthless overlord David Zaslav ‘branded Jeff Zucker a sobbing weakling after his ouster and plotted to oust Don Lemon for weeks earlier than his firing over sexist comment’

CNN’s ruthless overlord David Zaslav ‘branded Jeff Zucker a sobbing weakling after his ouster and plotted to oust Don Lemon for weeks earlier than his firing over sexist comment’


Warner Bros. Discovery and CNN boss David Zaslav has branded the previous president of CNN, Jeff Zucker, ‘a weakling who had tears in his eyes’ following his ouster from the community in February 2022.

Each Zaslav and Zucker had been pals for greater than a decade, however when Zaslav took the reigns at Discovery, upon realizing Zucker had few plans to shift the political leaning of the community that had develop into vehemently anti-Trump, Zucker’s days had been numbered.

The main points have been revealed in a New York Occasions report that charts the relationships between Zaslav and several other former CNN executives together with Zucker and CNN CEO Chris Licht who was fired from the community by Zaslav in June 2023.

But it surely wasn’t simply administration who was in Zaslav’s crosshairs. A number of anchors have been dumped since his arrival on the community together with on-air personalities Don Lemon and Brian Stelter – each of whom had been kicked out.

Warner Bros. Discovery and CNN head David Zaslav has criticized former CNN president Jeff Zucker, calling him 'a weakling who had tears in his eyes'

Warner Bros. Discovery and CNN head David Zaslav has criticized former CNN president Jeff Zucker, calling him ‘a weakling who had tears in his eyes’

Jeff Zucker was president of CNN for almost a decade until he was forced out in February 2022

Jeff Zucker was president of CNN for almost a decade until he was forced out in February 2022

Jeff Zucker was president of CNN for nearly a decade till he was compelled out in February 2022

In Lemon’s case, he had been moved by Licht from his Don Lemon Tonight 10pm time slot to a revamped morning present, CNN This Morning, of which Lemon was not a fan as he needed to share the limelight with two different feminine hosts.

It was as one of many first main programming strikes underneath Licht. 

In twisted internet of advanced relationships, Lemon believed he had the backing and safety of Zaslev with the boss encouraging him to talk freely about how Licht was performing as the top of CNN.

Lemon revealed how Licht was not inspiring confidence to the journalists and producers in CNN’s newsroom, however Lemon’s profession went off the rails after he made a sexist remark concerning 51-year-old presidential candidate Nikki Haley. 

Lemon mentioned on-air that Haley ‘is not in her prime,’ and {that a} lady is in her prime solely ‘in her 20s and 30s and, possibly, 40s.’

For CNN CEO Chris Licht did not inspire confidence to the journalists and producers in CNN's newsroom

For CNN CEO Chris Licht did not inspire confidence to the journalists and producers in CNN's newsroom

For CNN CEO Chris Licht didn’t encourage confidence to the journalists and producers in CNN’s newsroom 

Don Lemon defended his claim on-air that women over 40-years old are 'past their prime'

Don Lemon defended his claim on-air that women over 40-years old are 'past their prime'

Don Lemon defended his declare on-air that ladies over 40-years outdated are ‘previous their prime’

Don Lemon, right, is pictured with his fiancé, Tim Malone, near his Hudson Yards apartment after being fired from CNN in April

Don Lemon, right, is pictured with his fiancé, Tim Malone, near his Hudson Yards apartment after being fired from CNN in April

Don Lemon, proper, is pictured together with his fiancé, Tim Malone, close to his Hudson Yards house after being fired from CNN in April

On the time, co-hosts Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins challenged Lemon, attempting to make clear what he was referencing: ‘I feel we have to qualify. Are you speaking about prime for childbearing or are you speaking about prime for being president?’

‘Do not shoot the messenger, I am simply saying what the information are,’ Lemon responded.

Lemon issued a press release the identical day saying he regretted his ‘inartful and irrelevant’ feedback. 

He was subsequently absent from the present for 3 days, returning the next week with a tweeted apology however no point out of the episode on air.

Zaslev’s endurance ran out as he demanded to know ‘Why hasn’t he been fired?’ 

CNN supplied no public clarification for Lemon’s dismissal so he was left to do it himself. 

‘After 17 years at CNN I’d have thought somebody in administration would have the decency to inform me instantly,’ Lemon mentioned. 

Lemon, meanwhile, could be seen walking the red carpet at the Time100 Gala in New York

Lemon, meanwhile, could be seen walking the red carpet at the Time100 Gala in New York

Lemon, in the meantime, might be seen strolling the crimson carpet on the Time100 Gala in New York 

CNN mentioned that Lemon was given the chance to fulfill with administration however launched a press release on Twitter as an alternative.

The present had made little headway within the scores in opposition to the extra fashionable Fox & Associates and Morning Joe on cable information opponents.

The awful vibes had been starting to value CNN promoting gross sales with some potential visitors turning into reluctant to seem on CNN This Morning,

In March of this yr, Zaslav pledged to Discovery board members how Lemon can be off the morning present earlier than Memorial Day. In the end, he was fired in late April simply 5 months into his new present.

Lemon later met with Zaslav following his departure. Zaslav apologized for the dealing with of the state of affairs – and whereas the dialogue was mentioned to have been cordial, their social relationship has since ceased. 

At one time, Zaslav had been pals with Lemon, 57, Licht, 52, and Zucker 58 – visiting their houses within the Hampton’s on Lengthy Island, and attending social engagements with each other together with events. 

However the friendships floundered and fell by the wayside as soon as he took on the position as the top of CNN’s father or mother firm in 2022. 

The oversight of the fledgling information group took priority over private connections, typically years within the making. 

The Occasions says their account of Zaslav’s interactions with key figures at CNN is predicated on a collection of interviews with greater than a dozen people aware of the inside workings of the community.

Zaslav seems to have been plotting tips on how to reshape ‘probably the most trusted identify in information’ lengthy earlier than he was main Warner Bros. Discovery – even having discussions with Licht about working CNN whereas Zucker was nonetheless on the helm.

Zucker’s departure in the end occurred on account of causes unrelated to Zaslav, coming after he violated firm insurance policies, particularly failing to reveal a consensual relationship with the previous chief advertising officer of CNN Worldwide 49-year-old Allison Gollust.

He left the $6million-a-year submit after admitting to staff that he violated the corporate’s Requirements of Enterprise Conduct.

Zaslav and Zucker’s relationship soured additional a few yr after his departure when the pair finally spoke throughout an opportunity assembly at a Miami Seashore resort, with Zaslav allegedly belittling Zucker.

Zucker informed Zaslev that he was dissatisfied he had not heard from him, whereas Zaslev needed to clarify that he was not behind his ousting.

Zaslav additionally defined that he could not attain out to him as a result of the merger between WarnerMedia’s AT&T and Discovery had not but closed.

Zaslev has left working relationships and former friendship in tatters as he strives to recovers CNN's viewing figures

Zaslev has left working relationships and former friendship in tatters as he strives to recovers CNN's viewing figures

Zaslev has left working relationships and former friendship in tatters as he strives to recovers CNN’s viewing figures 

The pair agreed to ‘transfer ahead’ however later throughout a cellphone name with Licht, Zaslav described Zucker ‘as a weakling who had tears in his eyes’, throughout their assembly in response to The Occasions.

Based on sources, the pair not talk. 

Zucker is now at RedBird IMI, an funding fund specializing in digital media, sports activities, leisure and information, based by RedBird Capital Companions, a private-equity agency, and Worldwide Media Investments, a funder with connections to the federal government of the United Arab Emirates. 

Within the case of Chris Licht, Zaslav had reached out for him to run CNN even whereas Zucker was in cost. 

Following Zucker’s departure, Licht accepted the place in February 2022 however as soon as once more it got here at a price of their friendship.

‘We have been pals for 15 years. We’re not pals anymore. You’re employed for me,’ Zaslev informed Licht as he took on the position.

Licht's outster from CNN came barely one year later and in June 2023 he was gone after a profile in The Atlantic revealed how employees had become unhappy with him over actions taken during his tenure

Licht's outster from CNN came barely one year later and in June 2023 he was gone after a profile in The Atlantic revealed how employees had become unhappy with him over actions taken during his tenure

Licht’s outster from CNN got here barely one yr later and in June 2023 he was gone after a profile in The Atlantic revealed how staff had develop into sad with him over actions taken throughout his tenure 

Chris Licht reigned over a publicly chaotic year at CNN before being ousted

Chris Licht reigned over a publicly chaotic year at CNN before being ousted

Chris Licht reigned over a publicly chaotic yr at CNN earlier than being ousted 

Licht’s outster from CNN got here barely one yr later and in June 2023 he was gone after a profile in The Atlantic revealed how staff had develop into sad with him over actions taken throughout his tenure. 

The article noticed noticed greater than 100 CNN staff questioning his capacity to guide the group into the longer term. 

Licht’s departure capped a tumultuous yr marked by layoffs, shrinking income, low scores, the firing of two anchors, and rock-bottom worker morale.

‘This was an thrilling however extremely difficult project and I realized so much over the previous 13 months,’ Licht mentioned in a press release on the time. 

‘I have been fortunate sufficient to have had a profitable, fulfilling profession and I sit up for my subsequent chapter. I want the group at CNN the perfect, at all times.’

Licht had been introduced on to overtake the community following Zucker’s departure and after the firing of Chris Cuomo, its most profitable anchor. 

His mission was to cleanse the community of its inherent left-wing bias and increase scores.

As a substitute, he insulated himself in a company workplace on the twenty second flooring – 5 flooring above the newsroom – and appeared continually unavailable to workers who had been disgusted together with his efforts to deliver the community again to the political middle. 

Following years of sensational protection of the Trump White Home and the COVID-19 pandemic, the community started enduring the so-called Trump stoop, and even with a presidential cycle heating up, the community’s numbers are down. 

The journal gained extraordinary entry to Licht, presenting him as boastful the place he was interviewed on the gymnasium, describing himself as ‘a machine’ – saying predecessor Zucker ‘could not do that s**t’.

Following the explosive piece, Zaslav warned him to ‘repair the narrative inside six months’ – however Licht was dismissed by Zaslev inside days – one more working relationship and former friendship now in tatters. 



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Written by bourbiza mohamed

Bourbiza Mohamed is a freelance journalist and political science analyst holding a Master's degree in Political Science. Armed with a sharp pen and a discerning eye, Bourbiza Mohamed contributes to various renowned sites, delivering incisive insights on current political and social issues. His experience translates into thought-provoking articles that spur dialogue and reflection.

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