“We are fortunate to have three senior leaders within the News organization who have agreed to serve as interim co-heads for CNN beginning today through what you should anticipate will be through the close of the pending transaction with Discovery. These leaders are Michael Bass, Amy Entelis and Ken Jautz,” WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar said Wednesday. “I have full confidence that Michael, Amy and Ken, as interim heads for News, will provide the leadership this organization needs during this time of transition.”
The new trio of leaders takes CNN’s helm after the surprise exit of Zucker, who acknowledged in a memo Wednesday that he had been involved in a relationship with Allison Gollust, chief marketing officer for CNN and Turner Sports. The disclosure came as a result of efforts by former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo to attain a settlement after he was dismissed last year.
Zucker also supervised Turner Sports, and that unit’s top managers are expected to remain in place, Kilar said. “Lenny Daniels will continue to serve as President and lead Turner Sports & Bleacher Report. Patrick Crumb will continue as President and head of the regional sports networks.”
Bass and Entelis joined CNN during Zucker’s tenure, but have become intertwined with CNN’s operations since their hire. Entelis, whose responsibilities include relationships with talent, is said to be particularly close to many of CNN’s anchors and correspondents and has had a strong hand in building up CNN’s slate of original series and documentary films. Bass, a longtime Zucker lieutenant, oversees much of the outlet’s newsgathering and programming. And Jautz, who has been with WarnerMedia for decades, has had experience running CNN’s U.S. operations and sister cable outlet HLN.
WarnerMedia corporate parent is expected to spin off the company in weeks to come so it can merger with Discovery.