Michael Bass, Amy Entelis and Ken Jautz will serve as interim co-heads of CNN following the resignation of Jeff Zucker.
WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar indicated that the trio would lead the network on an interim basis through the close of the company’s merger with Discovery, which is expected in the spring or even earlier.
Kilar wrote in a memo to employees that he has “full confidence that Michael, Amy and Ken, as interim heads for News, will provide the leadership this organization needs during this time of transition.”
Bass has been executive vice president of programming for CNN U.S., with a long history of working with Zucker dating to NBC’s Today in the 1990s. He was co-executive producer of Katie Couric’s syndicated series from 2012 to 2013, before following Zucker to CNN.
Entelis is executive vice president for talent and content development at CNN Worldwide, having joined the network in 2012. She’s had a hand in hiring dozens of journalists and other personalities, and led the launch of CNN Original Series and CNN Films.
Jautz is executive vice president of CNN/U.S. His tenure at CNN and Turner Broadcasting goes back decades, including a stint from 2010 to 2013 overseeing all CNN U.S. programming. He has been responsible for HLN as well as group operations and business affairs.
Although Zucker’s future was uncertain when the Discovery-WarnerMedia transaction closes, the abrupt nature of his departure came as a surprise to CNN staff and the media world in general. Zucker said that he failed to disclose the nature of a relationship with a longtime colleague. She was later identified as Allison Gollust, who serves as the network’s top marketing executive.
The news was covered throughout the day, not just on CNN but one of its main rivals, Fox News, which also led with Zucker’s resignation on its website along with a half dozen sidebars. The headline: “Embattled CNN boss Jeff Zucker resigns in disgrace after bombshell relationship with colleague surfaces.”
On CNN, Alisyn Camerota said Zucker’s departure was an “incredible loss.” “He has this uncanny ability to I think make every one of us feel special and valuable in our own way, even though he is managing an international news organization of thousands of people.” She added, “I just think it is so regrettable how it happened. … These are two consenting adults who are both executives. That they can’t have a private relationship feels wrong.”
Dade Hayes and Jill Goldsmith contributed to this report.
Jason Kilar’s complete memo is below.
Team News and Sports –We are fortunate to have three senior leaders within the News organization who have agreed to serve as interim co-heads for CNN beginning today through what you should anticipate will be through the close of the pending transaction with Discovery. These leaders are Michael Bass, Amy Entelis and Ken Jautz. I have full confidence that Michael, Amy and Ken, as interim heads for News, will provide the leadership this organization needs during this time of transition. Lenny Daniels will continue to serve as President and lead Turner Sports & Bleacher Report. Patrick Crumb will continue as President and head of the regional sports networks. You will hear more from Michael, Amy, Ken, Lenny, and Patrick in the coming days but I wanted you to be aware of these decisions that have been made. Jason
Must Read Stories
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.