CNN prez Kent ankling group

COO appointed in August 2000 after departure of Kaplan

NEW YORK — Now that Walter Isaacson is firmly entrenched at CNN News Group, Phil Kent, the news net’s prexy and chief operating officer, has resigned.

“I could have stayed for the next couple years and filled up my days productively, but I took this job a year ago when CNN (had) very different circumstances,” said Kent, who will exit at the end of September. “I am proud of all we accomplished and believe that this is the right decision for me at this point in my life.”

Some time off

Kent, 46, said he will take time off to decide what he wants to do next. “I’ve been blessed with a unique range of opportunities in my life,” Kent said. “I have no worries about figuring out what to do next. After running this thing, I can probably run any multinational corporation — not that I’ve gotten any offers.”

Isaacson said in a statement that he was sorry to see Kent leave. “He has done a great job at CNN. We will all miss him, and we wish him well.”

Kent’s position will most likely be phased out.

Leadership limbo

Insiders said that since early July, when Isaacson replaced Tom Johnson as chairman and CEO of CNN News Group, Kent’s role at the company has been in flux. Kent also felt slighted that he was not named to the top post.

“Walter and Phil had a lot of overlapping strengths and responsibilities,” a CNN newsroom person said. “There wasn’t really room for both of them.”

Kent was appointed to the newly created post of prexy-chief operating officer of CNN News Group in August 2000 after the departure of CNN’s then-prexy, Rick Kaplan. The appointment came amid exec reshuffling as CNN prepared for the merger of its parent Time Warner with America Online.

The primary goals at the time were to create a cohesive management team, get expenses under control and compete more aggressively in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Operation overhaul

Since that time, AOL Time Warner has restructured its television holdings, elevating Jamie Kellner to oversee a TV networks group that includes the Turner basic cable channels and the WB broadcast weblet. Kellner took over as chairman and CEO of a newly expanded Turner Broadcasting, replacing Terence McGuirk, who hired Kent, previously prexy of Turner Broadcasting System Intl.

As president-chief operating officer, Kent was responsible for overseeing the management for the networks’ nearly 4,000 employees and more than 30 cable, radio, Web and mobile services. From 1993-96, Kent was president of Turner Home Entertainment, the former Turner division comprising the company’s homevideo, new-media, licensing and merchandising, feature distribution and book publishing operations.

Before joining TBS, he was a television agent at CAA.

Kent began his career at Blair Television, where he helped build Blair Entertainment into a successful TV and radio production and syndication company. The company has since folded.

More TV

  • NBCU Reality Streaming Service Hayu Launches

    NBCU’s Reality Streaming Service Hayu Launches in Three New Territories (EXCLUSIVE)

    It’s easier to keep up with the Kardashians in the Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg after NBCUniversal launched its reality-TV streaming service, hayu, in those countries Tuesday. The service went live with about 6,000 episodes of unscripted fare from NBCUniversal’s lineup, including “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” “Made in Chelsea” and “The Real Housewives” and [...]

  • Arrow -- "Elseworlds, Part 2" --

    'Elseworlds, Part 2' Recap: Batwoman's 'Arrowverse' Story Begins

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Elseworlds, Part 2” the second part of the 2018 “Arrowverse” crossover, which aired Dec. 10. “Arrow’s” leg of the “Elseworlds” crossover had a little more to think about than “The Flash’s,” mainly because it served as the first introduction to Ruby Rose’s Batwoman. For [...]

  • Michael Uslan's U2K Becomes Asia-Hollywood Formats

    Michael Uslan's U2K Becomes Asia-Hollywood Formats Pipeline (EXCLUSIVE)

    Michael and David Uslan, the father and son producing team with credits that include “The Dark Knight” and “Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch” have struck a cluster of deals that makes them a two-way conduit for TV formats between Hollywood and Asia. U2K, a company that includes the Uslans and Jon Karas (“Believe in [...]

  • Court TV Brand to Resurface as

    Court TV Brand to Resurface as New Channel From Scripps Co.

    Court TV is back in session. The cable TV channel that once carried gavel-to-gavel live coverage of high-profile trials will be revived by a new owner, nearly a dozen years after it was shuttered by Turner Broadcasting. Katz Networks, a division of E.W. Scripps Co., plans to revive Court TV as a new channel designed [...]

  • Gina Rodriguez Carmen Sandiego

    TV News Roundup: Netflix's Carmen Sandiego Series With Gina Rodriguez Sets Premiere Date

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix announced a premiere date for its upcoming Carmen Sandiego series and Stars released the premiere date for its original comedy series “Now Apocalypse.” DATES Lifetime will debut a new Gretchen Carlson documentary Jan. 14 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, Variety has learned exclusively. The two-hour special titled “Gretchen Carlson: Breaking [...]

  • Craig Hunegs WB

    Craig Hunegs to Exit Warner Bros. TV Group and Digital Networks (EXCLUSIVE)

    After nearly 25 years in the Warner Bros. family, Craig Hunegs is exiting his post as head of business for Warner Bros. TV Group and president of the studio’s digital networks wing. Hunegs said he has been discussing his exit with Warner Bros. chairman-CEO Kevin Tsujihara for the past several months. At a time of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content