Zucker got here fairly near exiting, based on associates, however determined to remain on. He advised staff on Thursday morning that he’ll stay with CNN’s mother or father, WarnerMedia, by the top of the yr.
“The reality is, again in November and December I had principally determined that it was time to maneuver on now,” Zucker mentioned on the corporate’s every day editorial name. “However since then I’ve had a change of coronary heart. And I wish to keep. Not without end, however for an additional yr. And I really feel actually good about this determination.”
Zucker oversees each CNN and the mother or father firm’s sports activities belongings because the chairman of WarnerMedia Information and Sports activities.
Zucker’s timeline supplies some short-term stability at CNN, the place he’s broadly seen as a driving drive.
And his determination has penalties far past inner politics as a result of CNN is without doubt one of the greatest information suppliers on the earth.
Zucker introduced a producer’s mind, a nostril for information and one eye on expertise. Quite a few tales described his hands-on administration and his assist for confrontational interviews.
Within the Trump years, CNN adopted the slogan “Details First” and known as out the administration’s lying, gaining the belief of many viewers whereas alienating some Trump followers. Zucker turned a boogeyman of types for Trump and on Fox’s prime time exhibits — but extra proof of his larger-than-life standing within the information enterprise.
“Zucker could possibly be drawn to pursue his different passions, which embrace politics and sports activities, individuals who know him say,” The Journal reported in a front-page story.
The tales sparked hypothesis and no small quantity of concern inside CNN.
The establishment, after all, is way greater than any particular person — CNN has about 4,000 staff and probably the most sturdy newsgathering operations on the planet. And Zucker is not proof against inner criticism. However by and huge the sprawling group has been at its greatest when a robust chief has set the route.
Kilar appeared to acknowledge this when he praised Zucker in interviews in December. “The 2 greatest issues that ever occurred to CNN have been Ted Turner and Jeff Zucker,” Kilar mentioned.
Again in October and November, Zucker “was fairly properly set on leaving proper after the inauguration,” an affiliate mentioned.
“The trade is altering, our firm is altering, so I’ve so much to consider,” he advised staffers in late October.
Information govt transitions are commonplace on the finish of presidential election cycles. And it could have been tempting for Zucker to exit on prime, so to talk, since CNN has been No. 1 within the cable information rankings race, a uncommon dethroning of Fox.
Finally “he selected to remain as a result of he loves his work,” the affiliate mentioned.
“CNN has by no means been stronger, and that’s one thing I’m extremely pleased with,” Zucker mentioned.