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John Stankey and David Zaslav Deal with Jeff Zucker’s Resignation

The chief executives of AT&T and Discovery, of their first public feedback because the abrupt resignation of Jeff Zucker as president of CNN this week, acknowledged the upheaval on the community however sought to color an image of a robust information model that would succeed with out its longtime chief.

“Jeff had an incredible following inside CNN, and there’s lots of people who have been extremely loyal and supportive of him — that makes it exhausting for these people,” John Stankey, the pinnacle of AT&T, stated on CNBC on Friday. David Zaslav, the chief of Discovery, appeared on the community straight after Mr. Stankey.

Mr. Stankey added: “He’s been a really robust chief at CNN — however there’s lots of people at CNN who make that success attainable. And I believe even Jeff himself talks about the truth that it’s the group that makes a distinction there.”

AT&T is the father or mother firm of WarnerMedia, which oversees CNN, however Discovery is poised to take management of WarnerMedia, pending a $43 billion merger.

Mr. Zucker resigned on Wednesday after admitting he had violated company coverage by failing to reveal a romantic relationship with Allison Gollust, one other high govt at CNN.

Newsroom tensions have spilled out into the open since Mr. Zucker introduced his departure, with a lot of his loyal staff questioning the circumstances behind the transfer. Mr. Zucker acknowledged the connection as a part of an investigation by WarnerMedia into the tenure of the previous CNN anchor Chris Cuomo. For months, Mr. Zucker had defended Mr. Cuomo, his highest-rated anchor, even after it was revealed that he had suggested his brother, the previous New York governor Andrew M. Cuomo, on keeping off a sexual harassment scandal. However CNN eventually fired Mr. Cuomo, and he’s now preventing for severance pay.

The executives sidestepped intense hypothesis concerning whether or not Mr. Zucker was pressured out.

“The choice to resign was Jeff’s resolution — and it’s an unlucky set of circumstances,” Mr. Stankey stated. Ms. Gollust didn’t resign as a result of her “circumstances are completely different,” he stated.

Mr. Zaslav pushed again towards any implication that John Malone, the billionaire chairman of Liberty Media, a major shareholder in Discovery, had something to do with the transfer. In November, Mr. Malone gave an interview to CNBC that was interpreted as a critique of the path CNN had gone up to now few years underneath Mr. Zucker.

“None of us had something to do with it,” Mr. Zaslav stated of Mr. Zucker’s resignation.

With Mr. Zucker gone, there may be new uncertainty over CNN+, the digital information service that he was constructing and that’s seen as key to the community’s future as extra viewers depart conventional cable for streaming platforms.

Mr. Stankey known as CNN+ a “nice product” that may “drive innovation” because it turns into accessible to observe this spring. “I believe David Zaslav has concepts round the place he needs to take the asset and what he needs to do on account of that,” he stated.

CNN has snapped up an inventory of expertise for CNN+ that features Chris Wallace, Audie Cornish and Eva Longoria. And WarnerMedia has been planning so as to add 500 staff, together with producers, reporters, engineers and programmers. However as viewership for CNN declines, there was trade debate over whether or not CNN+, as an entity separate from CNN, is a service that folks might be prepared to pay for. And it’s unclear how CNN’s imaginative and prescient for CNN+ matches into Mr. Zaslav’s view of the corporate that’s being fashioned by the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery, which he’s set to run as soon as the deal closes midyear, offering it receives regulatory approval.

“CNN+, we couldn’t be extra enthusiastic about the truth that they’ve been hiring nice journalists,” Mr. Zaslav stated. “I haven’t gotten a enterprise evaluation on what CNN+ goes to be and the way it’s going to be provided. I’m wanting ahead to it — and I believe directionally, it’s completely what we have to do.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/04/enterprise/media/att-discovery-cnn-jeff-zucker.html John Stankey and David Zaslav Deal with Jeff Zucker’s Resignation

Fry Electronics Team

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