WarnerMedia Hasn’t Focused on Replacing Jeff Zucker at CNN

If WarnerMedia really looking for an alternative Jeff Zucker, the company did not tell many people about it.

Zucker, veteran media executive who oversaw both CNN and Warner’s sports business, said earlier this year he plans to step down from his roles around the end of 2021, when his current employment contract is about to expire. With just over five months to go, however, five people inside and outside the company who typically have knowledge of the parameters of an executive search say they are unaware of an ongoing search. , given that he may have a reason to stay in 2022.

WarnerMedia declined to comment.

In public places, Zucker went on to say that he expected to leave according to the timeline he described. Now, however, it seems he may have the option of staying until at least the proposed WarnerMedia merger is completed and Discover, maintaining continuity for his employees and operations. Doing so will keep CNN and Warner Sports on a more familiar business trajectory, one that could be disrupted by bringing in a short-term carer and, potentially, another executive later. when Discovery took over WarnerMedia.

The merger is expected to be completed by mid-2022.

If Zucker decides to stay, it will likely give new impetus to growing speculation that he could be a good fit for a key executive role at the merged entity. Zucker is known for being friendly with David Zaslav, the president and CEO of Discovery. Unlike many executives, Zucker himself served as the company’s CEO, leading NBCUniversal from 2007 to 2011.

“Jeff is an extraordinary talent,” Zaslav said at a press conference in May when the deal was announced. “The focus will be on talking to everyone at Discovery and everyone at WarnerMedia and figuring out how we bring this company together. It’s all about talent, and so we’re going to try to figure out how we can get the best people to stay. ” At the town hall meeting with CNN staff in May, Zucker said he plans to investigate what options he might have in the merged WarnerMedia and Discovery.

But such talks may be premature. The two companies were unable to coordinate their efforts before the deal was finalized, and factors such as the new organization’s operating structure have yet to be disclosed. Discovery declined to comment.

There are reasons for Zucker to continue to be interested in properties under his watch. Turner Sports is aiming launches NHL coverage under a new 7-year agreement Bringing professional hockey to Warner for the first time. CNN has revealed plans to launch CNN Plus, a new video streaming service, in 2022. Exiting later this year will keep Zucker from overseeing Turner’s digital debut and completion of the first NHL season.

And CNN continues to navigate the post-election news cycle, as many news outlets are grappling with a drop in viewership and consumer attention. CNN in recent weeks has continued to show more positive attitude than it has shown since Zucker took over as president in 2013, aired multiple segments about vaccine misinformation and the January 6 uprising at the US Capitol. But it is also developing new muscles, including a successful cooking series from actor Stanley Tucci and new press efforts devoted to space exploration; race and culture; and climate and environment. For example, on Friday, CNN will air a special, helmed by Bill Weir, its climate correspondent, about the future of food consumption and the emergence of low-carb diets. meat.

An executive search for a new sports head and CNN will likely take some time to complete. CNN’s job alone requires managing hundreds of employees and shouldering responsibilities greater than those overseeing a broadcast network’s news operations. At the end of January, The Walt Disney Company announced former president of ABC News, James Goldston, is leaving. The company did not address the replacement, Kim Godwin, until early April.

https://variety.com/2021/tv/news/warnermedia-jeff-zucker-cnn-succession-1235024656/ | WarnerMedia Hasn’t Focused on Replacing Jeff Zucker at CNN


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