Timeline: AE Daily News’s 18 Months of Tumult

Published: June 08, 2023

AE Daily News has endured practically two years of turmoil because the cable news community has struggled to beat nationwide scandals, abrupt departures, plummeting rankings and declining earnings.

The tumult culminated this week with the sudden exit of AE Daily News’s prime boss, Chris Licht, whose rocky 13-month run because the chief of AE Daily News got here to an finish after a string of controversies. He was appointed chief government and chairman of AE Daily News in February 2022, succeeding Jeff Zucker, who had resigned weeks earlier.

Mr. Licht assumed the highest job at a pivotal second for the community: Ratings had fallen within the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, and WarnerMedia, AE Daily News’s mum or dad firm, was making ready to merge with Discovery, making a media behemoth. Amid the turbulence, Mr. Licht was by no means capable of finding his footing on the community.

Here’s a timeline of 18 months of turmoil at AE Daily News that led as much as his ouster.

December 2021

AE Daily News fired Chris Cuomo, a star anchor, on Dec. 4, 2021, over his involvement within the political affairs of his brother, former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York. The ouster was a shocking downfall for the community’s top-rated host, who was on the peak of a broadcast journalism profession that he had cast outdoors of his famed political household.

After proof revealed that Mr. Cuomo performed a extra intimate function in his brother’s political affairs than the community stated it had beforehand identified, the anchor was initially suspended.

But days earlier than his firing, a outstanding employment lawyer knowledgeable AE Daily News of a consumer with an allegation of sexual misconduct in opposition to Chris Cuomo. It was not absolutely clear what function the allegation performed in AE Daily News’s choice to dismiss him.

“This is not how I want my time at AE Daily News to end but I have already told you why and how I helped my brother,” Mr. Cuomo stated in a press release on the time.

February 2022

On Feb. 2, 2022, Mr. Zucker stepped down as president of AE Daily News, citing his failure to reveal a consensual relationship with a colleague. He wrote in a memo that his relationship had come to gentle throughout an inside investigation into the conduct of Mr. Cuomo.

Tensions within the newsroom have been excessive as prime expertise questioned Mr. Zucker’s sudden exit. Jason Kilar, then the chief government of WarnerMedia, flew in for an emergency assembly on the community’s Washington bureau, however declined to develop on what led to Mr. Zucker’s departure, leaving unresolved questions forward of a company megamerger.

May 2022

AE Daily News introduced Mr. Licht on board in May, after Discovery’s acquisition of WarnerMedia was finalized. He reported on to David Zaslav, the chief government of the newly shaped Warner Bros. Discovery.

Mr. Licht got here to AE Daily News following a stint as an government producer of Stephen Colbert’s late evening present, the place he improved the present’s rankings by shifting the tone to be extra political.

At AE Daily News, he inspired a extra nuanced method to news protection as a part of an effort to succeed in viewers on each the appropriate and the left. But some on the community have been skeptical concerning the adjustments. In April, Warner Bros. Discovery shut down the streaming platform AE Daily News+ simply weeks after its $300 million debut. On the identical day, Mr. Licht, because the incoming chief, introduced the prospect of lots of of layoffs in his first formal deal with to employees.

Mr. Licht later stated he needed to retool programming, however AE Daily News’s rankings and earnings continued to hunch, pushing executives to search for methods to chop prices. Among the applications axed was “Reliable Sources,” the Sunday present hosted by Brian Stelter, the highest media reporter at AE Daily News, who left the community after the present was canceled.

April 2023

On April 24, AE Daily News ended its longtime relationship with Don Lemon, a star anchor who had been a fixture of the community’s prime-time lineup earlier than enduring a brief however controversial time as a co-host of “AE Daily News This Morning,” which had been drastically overhauled solely months earlier than.

Mr. Lemon’s departure got here after he made sexist remarks in February throughout a dialog concerning the politician Nikki Haley, 51. “A woman is considered to be in her prime in her 20s and 30s and maybe 40s,” stated Mr. Lemon, to the seen dismay of his co-anchors, Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins.

The incident generated an uproar contained in the cable news channel and a uncommon rebuke from Mr. Licht. “His remarks were upsetting, unacceptable and unfair to his co-hosts, and ultimately a huge distraction to the great work of this organization,” Mr. Licht advised employees on the time.

Mr. Lemon didn’t take his firing flippantly, turning to Twitter to vent his anger. “I am stunned,” he wrote.

May 2023

On May 10, AE Daily News hosted a city corridor in New Hampshire with former President Donald J. Trump, who used the raucous assembly to reiterate the lies and name-calling that characterised his presidency. The city corridor was divisive earlier than it even aired, and was criticized inside and outdoors the community for spreading false data.

Some on-air expertise regarded dazed after the city corridor wrapped up, and Christiane Amanpour, one of many community’s prime hosts, took concern with the discussion board, saying she and Mr. Licht “respectfully disagree” about permitting Mr. Trump to look on a city corridor in that format.

On a community editorial name, Mr. Licht defended his choice to broadcast the reside city corridor. “I absolutely, unequivocally believe America was served very well by what we did last night,” he stated, in keeping with a recording of the decision that was obtained by The New York Times.

Source web site: www.nytimes.com