‘He’s Over’: Ex-CNNer Brian Stelter Reports on CNN Chief Who Axed Him

CNN host Brian Stelter at the CNN+ launch party / Getty Images
June 5, 2023

Former CNN personality Brian Stelter this weekend took aim at the ex-boss who showed him the door last year, reporting on his former coworkers' harsh views of CNN CEO Chris Licht.

Licht is the focus of a damning Atlantic feature story titled "Inside The Meltdown at CNN," which ran Friday and has called into question the CEO's future at the media company. It details inner turmoil and employees' lack of confidence in him.

"That anti-Licht sentiment is shared by many in the CNN rank and file, and has existed to some extent for months, but The Atlantic article cemented it. In the words of three employees: 'He’s over.' 'He’s done.' 'There’s no coming back from that profile,'" Stelter reported in a Sunday New York magazine story about CNN employees' frustrations with Licht.

Stelter said it's the first time he's reported on his former employer since he was fired from CNN in August 2022.

Right before the Atlantic piece dropped, CNN's parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery, announced the hiring of a new chief operating officer at CNN, David Leavy. Anchors told Stelter that staffers immediately began reaching out to Leavy and complaining of a loss of confidence in Licht.

"I feel like a quarterback without a coach," an anchor told Stelter.

Stelter said employees at the network didn't feel close to Licht and that he was distant.

"Licht kept most CNNers at a distance, or at least that’s how they felt. Correspondents likened him to a ghost and bemoaned his lack of feedback," Stelter wrote.

Licht vowed to turn CNN into a more trusted and less left-wing political source when he took the reins in May 2022, and he canned vocally anti-Trump hosts including Stelter and Don Lemon who he said were "off mission." He said last week that he is only halfway through his "gut renovation" of the network.

Ratings at CNN have hit record-lows in recent months. In March, CNN hit a three-decade low in viewership. Its primetime show ratings fell by 25 percent in May from the year before.

Published under: Brian Stelter , CNN