×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Jeff Zucker Will Stay at CNN Through 2020 Election

AT&T won’t be able to hang up on Jeff Zucker. The colorful CNN chief signed a deal several months ago that will keep him at the cable-news network through the 2020 election, according to a person familiar with the matter,.

CNN declined to make executives available for comment. Vanity Fair previously revealed details of the executive’s contract.

The pact, previously undisclosed, will dampen speculation that AT&T, which gained approval Wednesday to complete its purchase of CNN owner Time Warner, might try to oust Zucker and put a new executive at the helm of CNN. Under Zucker’s tenure, CNN has gained new relevance with its coverage of the Trump administration. That journalism also draws the ire of President Trump, who often takes to Twitter to call CNN “Fake News.” He often uses the same phrase to disparage CNN’s reporters during press appearances.

Since arriving at CNN in 2013, Zucker has developed a slate of original documentary series and documentary films; hired anchors including Jake Tapper, Alisyn Camerota and Chris Cuomo; and given higher profiles to CNN personnel like Don Lemon and Brooke Baldwin.  Zucker has also presided over an expansion of digital content at the network, whose stories are as likely to show up in email newsletters and mobile web pages as they are on TV.

While the network trails rivals Fox News Channel and MSNBC in primetime, it has made viewership gains in many parts of the schedule, and often beats MSNBC among viewers between 25 and 54 – the demographic favored by advertisers in news programming – in daytime programming and on weekends.

Gains at CNN are nothing to dismiss casually.  CNN threw off $1 billion in profit for Time Warner in 2016, and had been expected to do the same in 2017. That’s a significant chunk for its parent company, which had 2016 net income of approximately $3.93 billion.

At the same time, Zucker has also served as a lightning rod of sorts, with President Trump claiming at various points that he helped the executive get his job at CNN, or that he helped boost Zucker’s career. During his time at CNN, the network has become more polarizing than in the past, pursuing a “Facts First” brand positioning that took an image of vanilla, down-the-middle reporting and turned it into a sort of “aggressive neutral” that tries to find accurate details for viewers.

 

More TV

  • Mr. Peanut to Appear in His

    Mr. Peanut to Appear in His First Super Bowl Commercial

    The monocle-wearing Mr. Peanut is about to offer snack fans an entirely new lens on Super Bowl advertising. Planters, which has featured the anthropomorphic legume for more than a century as its spokes-character, will place him in a 30-second ad slated to appear in the second quarter of CBS’ broadcast of Super Bowl LIII on [...]

  • DRG Boards Sales on Scandi Sci-Fi

    DRG Boards Sales on Scandi Sci-Fi Mystery Series ‘The White Wall’

    Scandinavian sci-fi series “The White Wall” is coming to the international market, starting at NATPE, after DRG picked up international rights to the upcoming project. Finland’s Fire Monkey and Nice Drama, part of the Nordic Entertainment Group, are making “The White Wall” for Swedish pubcaster SVT and its Finnish counterpart, YLE. It will feature a [...]

  • L.A. Teachers' Strike: Hollywood Studios, Unions

    Hollywood Studios, Unions Support Parents and Educators as L.A. Teachers' Strike Rages

    Hollywood unions and entertainment companies have stepped up to support the 31,000 Los Angeles teachers in the second day of a massive strike that’s affected nearly half a million students. More than 50 SAG-AFTRA members picketed at a Tuesday afternoon rally in the driving rain next to the Hollywood & Highland Center with secretary-treasurer Jane [...]

  • R. KellyR. Kelly in concert at

    'Surviving R. Kelly' Producers on the Lifetime Doc's Ripple Effect

    The ripple effect of “Surviving R. Kelly” continues to widen more than a week after the documentary aired on Lifetime, renewing public interest — and outrage — over the litany of sexual abuse allegations against the R&B artist. Lady Gaga and Phoenix have apologized for working with him. Chance the Rapper and other artists are said to [...]

  • Yellowstone

    Viacom Lays Off Paramount Network Staffers Amid Reorganization (EXCLUSIVE)

    Viacom has laid off a number of staffers in its entertainment group, with the majority of the affected employees hailing from Paramount Network, Variety has learned exclusively. A Viacom spokesperson declined to comment. But a source with knowledge of the situation that the number of affected employees was fewer than 20, or less than 2% of [...]

  • The Last OG

    TV News Roundup: 'Last O.G.' Sets Season 2 Premiere Date on TBS

    In today’s TV News Roundup, “The Last O.G.” announces its Season 2 return date and Variety has the exclusive first look at Fox’s new legal drama “Proven Innocent.” FIRST LOOKS Netflix has announced its new limited series “Black Earth Rising” will launch on Jan. 25. The contemporary thriller series stars Michaela Coel as Kate Ashby, a Rwandan girl [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content