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CNN media reporter delivers brutal on-air assessment of CEO Chris Licht’s tenure: ‘Series of severe missteps’

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CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy provided a searing postmortem Wednesday on fired CEO Chris Licht.

Darcy told CNN anchor Kate Bolduan on Wednesday that Licht’s time leading the company consisted of a “series of severe missteps” that led to “shrinking profits” and “really low morale.”

Darcy has been no stranger to criticizing his former boss. The reporter hammered him after CNN held a town hall with former President Trump last month that enraged liberal critics and the network’s base audience.

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Oliver Darcy Chris Licht

CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy tore into then-CEO Chris Licht over the Trump town hall last month, saying moderator Kaitlan Collins was given an “impossible task” and America was not served by the “spectacle of lies that aired on CNN.” (CNN/Reuters)

“It’s hard to see how America was served by the spectacle of lies that aired on CNN Wednesday evening,” Darcy wrote in a searing newsletter.

More recently, the reporter wrote that Licht “lost the room” at CNN.

During the “CNN News Central” segment following Licht’s departure, anchor Kate Bolduan asked the reporter about the news. Darcy got straight to the point, saying, “That’s right, Kate. Chris Licht, the embattled chairman and CEO of CNN, whose tenure was really marked by a series of severe missteps.”

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Photo of CNN town hall

CNN faced furious criticism for airing a town hall in May with former President Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 GOP nomination. (Screenshot/CNN)

The media reporter then detailed the problems CNN faced under Licht, telling Bolduan, “This really caps a tumultuous year for CNN that has seen shrinking profits, programing missteps and really low employee morale.”

Fox News Digital reported that, while in the role, Licht was regularly attacked by liberal media critics and his tenure was plagued with internal leaks from CNN staffers. He was also forced to make difficult choices, such as axing the costly CNN+ streaming service, a widely panned Zucker-era product that puzzled onlookers and insiders from the start, and undertake company-ordered layoffs.

Additionally, the network’s ratings under him fell drastically, and his new morning show has struggled to get off the ground.

Darcy noted that Zaslav’s hope is that “these three executives who he’s installing can really right the ship and get everything back on track before a new leader is ultimately named.”

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Chris Licht at CNN Upfronts

Chris Licht, then-Chairman and CEO, CNN Worldwide, speaks onstage during the Warner Bros. Discovery Upfront 2023 at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on May 17, 2023 in New York City. He was fired on Wednesday a little more than a year into the job. (Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

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