CNN will turn to three in-house executives to temporarily fill the role of deposed CEO Chris Licht while its parent company seeks a new chief to resuscitate the beleaguered news channel.
Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav announced the “acting leadership team” will consist of talent boss Amy Entelis, editorial head Virginia Moseley and programming chief Eric Sherling, the company said Wednesday.
Entelis, 72, has lead the recruitment and development of on-air correspondents, anchors and contributors since joining the network from ABC News in 2012.
She also helmed CNN’s efforts to revamp its documentary unit, including the Emmy Award-winning series “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown” and “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy,” according to her company bio.
Entelis was also tapped as part of a similar three-person interim team installed during last year’s transition from Jeff Zucker to Licht.
She served in that role alongside fellow execs Michael Bass and Ken Jautz.
She was a loyal colleague of Licht’s predecessor, who was forced to quit over his relationship with fellow executive Allison Gollust.
Moseley, a fellow ABC News recruit, has been at CNN for a decade and was elevated last year by Licht to become executive vice president of editorial, overseeing all of CNN’s breaking news coverage and domestic newsgathering.
The Harvard University graduate, who also spent 10 years at CBS News, is responsible for managing CNN’s White House, National Security and Justice Department, among other political reporting teams.
Moseley, 50, is married to Tom Nides, who was named the US ambassador to Israel in 2021, which during his nomination .
Sherling, 49, joins the troika after having the interim tag removed last month in his role as CNN Worldwide’s executive vice president of US programming.
Sherling, who has worked at CNN for nearly two decades interrupted by a two-year stint at ABC, “oversees all New York, Washington and Atlanta-based live programs for CNN US,” his bio touts.
The Washington, D.C.-based executive recently launched the daytime show “CNN News Central.”
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 three execs will be joined by CNN’s new COO David Leary in trying to revive the network’s tanking ratings and boost a demoralized newsroom.
“We have great confidence in this group and will fully support them until a new CEO is named,” Zaslav said during Wednesday’s 9 a.m. internal call. “We are in good hands, allowing us to take the time we need to run a thoughtful and thorough search for a new leader.”
It’s unclear if there is a hierarchy among the three execs, or how they’ll divvy up responsibilities during this transitional period.
Zaslav said he’s planning the CEO search to take months.
“I think it’s important that things settle down, and we’ve gotta get it right. We [will] find a great leader, from inside or outside, and off we go,” Zaslav said.
All three CNN veterans worked under Zucker, who had by undermining his leadership from afar.
Zaslav named Leavy, a longtime confidante, to the senior operating role last week, which that the 15,000-word Atlantic report suggested could spell “the beginning of the end” for Licht when it was released on Friday.