In a shocking development to come less than one year after Licht took over as CEO of CNN in April 2022, the embattled network chairman reportedly engaged in a “tense but respectful exchange” with Puck’s Dylan Byers in Washington on Wednesday night.
According to Semafor Media, guests in attendance at Puck’s party in Washington were “treated” to a “semi-public debate” between Licht and Byers when the network CEO questioned why Puck has written so many reports focusing on the state of CNN since Licht’s takeover as chairman last year.
Meanwhile, one guest at the party revealed the sudden showdown grew “tense” after Byers pressed Licht on why the 51-year-old newsman and producer has “not done more to signal a reversal of fortunes for the network.”
As RadarOnline.com previously reported, CNN has continued to struggle since Licht took over at the network following the unceremonious departure of his predecessor, Jeff Zucker, in February 2022.
These changes have caused concern for the future of the already struggling news network, with some sources suggesting CNN – and Licht’s vision for CNN – is on the verge of falling into total obscurity.
“Chris Licht was brought in as a messiah but all he has delivered is a benign brand of banal new coverage — the kind you can get anywhere,” one network insider told RadarOnline.com shortly after CNN suffered its lowest ratings in nine years in January.
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“At this stage, you have to wonder whether the halcyon days are long gone for an institution that was once considered the worldwide leader in news,” the source continued.
“Stick a fork in it, it’s done.”
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Elsewhere, Licht has faced backlash for his habit of abruptly axing popular on-air talent while simultaneously shaking up and switching the network’s various program lineups – including most recently with CNN This Morning.
According to some CNN insiders, the network’s staffers have started “growing frustrated” with Licht and, as Puck’s Dylan Byers put it, his ongoing failure to “signal a reversal of fortunes for the network.”