With AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner now poised to close in a matter of days, it’s come time for the anticipated parlor games regarding who from the latter institution will be sticking around under the new regime. As I reported yesterday, a number of departures are expected within Time Warner’s C-suite, and other personnel shuffles are likely to occur at the company’s operating divisions, such as CNN parent Turner Broadcasting. In some cases, sources told me, the details are still being worked out. But a day after a federal judge gave the green light for the deal to move forward, I can now confirm the name of at least one high-profile Time Warner figure who isn’t going anywhere: CNN boss Jeff Zucker.
I’ve learned that the veteran broadcast executive, who has served as president of Time Warner’s cable news channel since 2013, signed a new deal several months ago that will keep him at CNN through the 2020 election. CNN’s wall-to-wall coverage of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign juiced ratings, and the network’s adversarial coverage of the Trump presidency has infuriated the president, with Trump and his cronies frequently attacking Zucker’s army of journalists. (As my colleague Gabriel Sherman reportedyesterday, Trump recently groused, “I made Jeff Zucker.” He also complained that Chris Cuomo received his own prime-time show.)
The Trump-CNN war has been a particularly juicy narrative given the president’s history with the executive, dating back to his days hosting The Apprentice when Zucker ran NBC. It was also the presumptive backdrop for the Department of Justice’s failed lawsuit to stop the $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner combination, which a federal judge cleared the way for on Tuesday in a landmark M&A ruling.
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Source: Vanity Fair