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June 8, 2023

Chris Licht‘s gamble on Donald Trump has come up snake eyes — CNN is pulling the plug on his term as CEO.

Licht’s firing comes exactly one month after he engineered the network’s controversial Town Hall special with the GOP Presidential front-runner. Licht made a play for Trump’s base, and did draw more than 3 million viewers that night … but the blowback from CNN’s viewership and Democrats in D.C. was severe. The network’s ratings plummeted in the days after the Trump special.

CNN anchor Kate Bolduan drew the honors Wednesday morning of announcing Licht’s firing on the air. It wasn’t quite a “ding dong, the wicked witch is dead” moment … but, make no mistake, Licht had ruffled a lot of feathers at the network.

Last week, he was also the subject of a pretty unflattering profile piece in The Atlantic, and he reportedly apologized to CNN staffers earlier this week.

Licht took over at CNN in May 2022 … after Jeff Zucker‘s resignation. During his tenure, he clashed several times with Don Lemon over his on-air commentary and even his wardrobe — and Licht finally fired him back in April.

Warner Discovery, CNN’s parent company, says a panel of execs, including new COO David Leavy, will run the network until a new CEO is appointed.

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