The resignation of on Wednesday is the latest crisis to engulf the struggling cable news outlet, which has been and headed by Jeff Zucker.
Licht stepped down effective immediately on Wednesday — ending a 13-month stint as network boss during which he fired several prominent on-air personalities, green-lighted the train-wreck town hall with Donald Trump and saw CNN’s highly publicized streaming service snuffed out shortly after it launched.
The final straw was a devastating, 15,000-word profile in The Atlantic which portrayed Licht as a thin-skinned executive who refused to engage his employees while harboring jealousy over staffers’ longing for his predecessor, Zucker.
Here are a few of Licht’s missteps during his abbreviated reign, along with the crises that engulfed the network before his arrival:
In late April, CNN ousted longtime controversial anchor Don Lemon, the 57-year-old who put his foot in his mouth when he called 51-year-old GOP presidential candidate “
Lemon, who rose to prominence in broadcasting as one of the few gay African-American television news personalities, had a history of upsetting co-workers, particularly women, during his 17-year tenure at CNN.
He was stripped of his solo anchoring slot in primetime and placed alongside Kaitlan Collins and Poppy Harlow as part of Licht’s revamped morning show last November.
But the chemistry seemed to be off from the outset.
Just weeks into the new gig, Lemon clashed with his two female co-hosts over on-air remarks he made about women’s soccer.
Lemon got into an awkward dispute with both Collins and Harlow after he than the women’s side.
“The men’s team makes more money. If they make more money, then they should get more money,” Lemon said.
“The men’s team makes more money because people are more interested in the men.”
Shortly after that tense exchange, Lemon Kaitlan Collins after an on-air segment, sources told The Post at the time.
When the cameras stopped rolling after the Dec. 8 show, he allegedly approached Collins and berated her in front of staffers for supposedly “interrupting” him on air.
In the aftermath, a source said: “At this point, Kaitlan wants to be on set with Don as little as possible … It’s messy.”
The final nail came after his belittling remark about Haley triggered national ridicule, leading the network to force him to take sensitivity training before finally pulling the plug.
Trump town hall
Licht’s decision to give Donald Trump the spotlight during what turned into a chaos-filled 70-minute town hall sparked backlash before and especially after the May 10 event.
Trump steamrolled Collins, who moderated the town hall in front of a live audience of mostly Republican voters, while spouting false claims about the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riots and the decision to hold him .
In the wake of the town hall, veteran CNN reporter Oliver Darcy revealed that the ratings-challenged network and Licht were “facing a fury of criticism – both internally and externally over the event,” .
The network’s own as so “disturbing” that viewers “have every right to be angry and never watch this network again” during the opening monologue of his CNN show “Anderson Cooper 360.”
Audience members appeared to listen as the network logged a mere 494,000 average total viewers in prime time in May, according to Nielsen, though Trump’s controversial appearance on the network saw CNN viewership spike to 3.3 million.
Despite the fallout, Licht appeared tone deaf as he said he “unequivocally” believed America was served well by Trump’s town hall.
“You do not have the like the former President’s answers, but you can’t say we didn’t get them,” with staff the day after the presidential event.
In April of last year, CNN’s new corporate parent, Warner Bros. Discovery, shuttered CNN+ less than a month after a launch that was preceded by a multi-million dollar marketing campaign touting high-priced talent acquisitions such as former Fox News anchor Chris Wallace.
CNN+ was the brainchild of previous CNN boss Jeff Zucker and his deputy, Andrew Morse, who was head of CNN’s global digital division.
Zucker’s original plan was to launch CNN+ in January — giving the streaming service a three-month head start before the network was absorbed by the newly merged corporate entity.
But technical difficulties kept delaying the launch and federal regulators approved the merger between CNN’s old parent company, WarnerMedia, and Discover sooner than anticipated.
Zucker at the end of March, but he never got the opportunity to see his final product get off the ground because after his years-long relationship with became public.
Jeff Zucker resignation
Zucker quit in February 2022 after it was learned he had been carrying on a relationship with Allison Gollust, who was his top marketing officer at the network.
The 57-year-old Zucker, who made his name in network television as showrunner for the highly successful morning show “TODAY” at NBC, failed to disclose the relationship with higher-ups, resulting in his exit.
Why did Chris Licht step down as CEO from CNN?
Chris Licht stepped down as CEO of CNN Wednesday morning, after staffers and senior figures at the networks called for his head following a scathing magazine profile.
CNN staffers were enraged by Licht’s criticism of the network’s COVID-19 coverage.
Licht’s exit from CNN comes after former CEO Jeff Zucker’s departure from the network over a year ago. Zucker was forced to leave over a relationship with a co-worker.
Licht has accused Zucker of undermining his leadership and spreading negative stories about the news operation.
CNN announced that Licht will be replaced by a group “comprising seasoned programming leaders” including Amy Entelis, the executive vice president of talent and content development.
Others were upset with Licht’s decision to stage a live town hall event with Donald Trump.
The nature of Zucker’s relationship with Gollust surfaced during an internal investigation into the network’s dismissal of its former primetime star Chris Cuomo.
Gollust, who had previously worked as a communications aide for then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, acknowledged the relationship.
She resigned weeks after Zucker ended his nine-year reign at the helm of CNN.
Chris Cuomo firing
In December 2021, , his highest-rated prime time star, assistance to his brother, then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, leveled by former aides.
Chris Cuomo’s involvement in his brother’s public relations efforts were revealed during the course of an investigation into the then-governor’s conduct by the office of the state attorney general, Letitia James.
Weeks earlier, Chris Cuomo appeared on CNN’s air and denied that he had been an adviser to his brother.
But text messages and emails unearthed during the course of James’ investigation appeared to contradict that claim.
In the wake of his firing by CNN, Chris Cuomo took legal action against the network seeking to be paid the remaining sum left on his contract.