Skip to main content

CBS's Chris Licht Tapped to Lead CNN

(Image credit: CBS)

Chris Licht, who is currently the executive producer of CBS’ Late Show with Steven Colbert and VP of special programming for ViacomCBS has been tapped to replace Jeff Zucker as the head of CNN, replacing Jeff Zucker, who announced his resignation (opens in new tab) over a relationship with another CNN staffer. 

Licht has spent more than 20 years in broadcast news and currently serves as executive vice president of special programming at CBS. He has created, led and strengthened award-winning news and entertainment shows and programming, including "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," "CBS This Morning," and MSNBC's "Morning Joe."  

"I have known and admired Chris for more than 15 years and strongly believe he is the best person to lead CNN Global as part of Warner Bros. Discovery," said David Zaslav, incoming CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery. "Chris is a dynamic and creative producer, an engaging and thoughtful journalist, and a true news person. He has more than two decades of broadcast experience across local, cable and national news. He has been in the field, in the control room and on the set. He is a highly principled individual who is trusted, hard-working and makes every organization stronger, more innovative, and more cohesive." 

Discovery expects that Licht will start at CNN in early May, after Discovery's acquisition of CNN is complete. He will report directly to Zaslav.

"I'm honored to have this opportunity, especially at such an important time for our country and the world,'' said Licht. "CNN has a rich and storied legacy and I both promise to uphold it and build upon it. I am eternally grateful to Stephen Colbert and the peerless Late Show team for an unforgettable run. I am looking forward to returning to my journalism roots."

Licht has broad experience as a journalist and leader. He currently is executive vice president of special programming at CBS and executive producer and showrunner for "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert." Prior to that, Licht was vice president of programming for CBS News and executive producer of the network's morning news program, "CBS This Morning," which he helped launch in 2012. Licht won accolades for elevating the quality of journalism at "CBS This Morning.'' Prior to CBS, Licht was the co-creator and original executive producer of MSNBC's popular morning news show, "Morning Joe."

The news comes amid CNN’s coverage of the Ukrainian war, leading some to praise (opens in new tab) the news networks’ experience in covering conflicts that go back to the first Gulf War, which upped the network’s reputation in the early '90's. The network is also planning to debut its $4.99/month CNN+ streaming service shortly (anchored by former Fox News's Chris Wallace) and announced (opens in new tab) its programming lineup last week. 

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (, the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.