CNN President Jeff Zucker quits after failing to disclose relationship with co-worker


CNN President Jeff Zucker resigned after failing to disclose a consensual relationship with a longtime co-worker, ending a nine-year run atop the cable information community.

Zucker, 56, made the announcement in a message to employees, in accordance to an emailed copy obtained by Bloomberg. He mentioned he was requested in regards to the relationship as a part of the community’s investigation into former programme host Chris Cuomo.

“I acknowledged the relationship developed lately,” Zucker wrote. “I used to be required to disclose it when it started however I didn’t. I used to be mistaken.”

The girl within the relationship is Allison Gollust, govt vp and chief advertising officer for CNN. Both are divorced. She will keep on with the community.

“Jeff and I’ve been shut buddies {and professional} companions for over 20 years,” Gollust mentioned in a press release. “Recently, our relationship modified throughout Covid. I remorse that we didn’t disclose it on the proper time. I’m extremely pleased with my time at CNN and look ahead to persevering with the good work we do day-after-day.”

Zucker has been a serious participant within the TV trade for many years and was often called a hands-on chief at CNN, routinely main morning information conferences.

Under his management, CNN tried to painting itself as a supply for straight information and distinguish itself from Comcast Corp’s left-leaning MSNBC and the right-leaning Fox News. But Zucker additionally wished to make the community extra personality-driven, particularly in prime-time, serving to anchors like Don Lemon and Anderson Cooper change into family names.

Recently, Zucker confronted scrutiny after permitting Chris Cuomo to have interaction in pleasant banter on air with his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, then ready a number of months to hearth him for his conduct in gathering details about sexual-harassment accusations towards his brother.

CNN President Jeff Zucker abruptly resigned Wednesday, Feb 2, 2022, after acknowledging a consensual relationship with Allison Gollust (pic), another network executive, ending a nine-year tenure at the helm of the one of the nation's largest media companies. Photo: APCNN President Jeff Zucker abruptly resigned Wednesday, Feb 2, 2022, after acknowledging a consensual relationship with Allison Gollust (pic), one other community govt, ending a nine-year tenure on the helm of the one of many nation’s largest media firms. Photo: AP

Career trajectory

Zucker’s profession took off when he turned govt producer of NBC’s Today present at 26 in 1992. He helped flip that programme right into a scores chief, shifting it to a brand new studio in Rockefeller Plaza and introducing outside live shows. He later ran all of NBCUniversal’s TV companies together with leisure, sports activities and cable. He joined CNN as president in 2013.

He helped deliver The Apprentice to NBC, making a media platform for future president Donald Trump. As president, Trump typically attacked Zucker on Twitter for the community’s vital protection, however CNN, like different information channels, benefitted drastically whereas he was in workplace, with scores hovering. Those viewership numbers have plunged since Trump left, and now CNN can have to work out how to draw new viewers with out its longtime chief.

Zucker mentioned a 12 months in the past that he deliberate to step down when his contract expired on the finish of 2021. But he later recanted, saying he would keep no less than till Discovery Inc. closed its merger with CNN’s proprietor, AT&T Inc.’s WarnerMedia, which is anticipated within the second quarter of this 12 months. There was hypothesis that Zucker may keep on at CNN after the deal closes as a result of he’s shut buddies with Discovery Chief Executive Officer David Zaslav.

His departure comes at a pivotal time for the channel. Not solely is the cable community about to have a brand new proprietor and battling a steep scores decline, it’s planning to launch a brand new streaming service, CNN+, within the coming months. Zucker additionally oversaw sports activities programming at WarnerMedia, which is weeks away from its March Madness broadcast.

The firm didn’t instantly identify a successor. Three present executives – Michael Bass, Amy Entelis and Ken Jautz – will function interim co-heads for CNN by the Discovery merger, the community mentioned.

CNN ranks a distant third behind Fox News and MSNBC in nightly prime-time scores among the many 24-hour information networks, in accordance to knowledge from Nielsen. The community is averaging 647,000 viewers an evening in prime time this season, in contrast with 2.38 million an evening for Fox and 1.17 million for MSNBC. – Bloomberg

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