CNN chief Zucker may be on last go-round after reorgs - WSJ

Oct. 23, 2020 5:38 PM ETAT&T Inc. (T)TBy: Jason Aycock, SA News Editor392 Comments
  • CNN President Jeff Zucker - a survivor of corporate drama throughout AT&T's (NYSE:T) purchase and stewardship of CNN parent Time Warner - may be on his "last lap" ahead of a contract expiration, amid frustration over WarnerMedia's new overhaul, The Wall Street Journal reports.
  • Zucker felt blindsided by August's iteration of WarnerMedia's numerous shakeups, according to the report, and has had friction with WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar, the former Hulu chief named to take over AT&T's media operations in April.
  • Zucker's contract expires late into 2021, but he could leave in frustration before that, and hasn't committed to extending his deal in meetings with executives and other CNN employees, according to the report.
  • He's said he won't be making any decisions on his future at CNN until after the election.
  • Zucker's among the more polarizing figures in media leadership, but on his watch (and during years of Trump-administration controversy) ratings have improved about threefold compared with the start of 2015 - not dissimilar to gains seen at MSNBC and Fox News.
  • Meanwhile, the WSJ report notes some media and finance executives think CNN could be a spin-off target for private-equity investors or blank-check entities; AT&T (frequently looking to shed "non-core" assets after the huge Time Warner buy) has fielded interest from potential acquirers on multiple occasions but has held on to the news network so far.

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