Top Programming Exec At CNN Leaving Network CNN sign (AP)
By Cathy Burke | Monday, 21 November 2022 02:47 PM EST
Michael Bass, a top programming executive at CNN, is leaving the network.
CNN's chief executive officer Chris Licht told staff the network is searching for a replacement, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
"Throughout his nearly decade-long run at this organization, Michael has demonstrated incredible leadership and perseverance," Licht said in a memo to employees, THR reported.
"He has been a steady hand during some of the most turbulent times this network has faced."
"Along with a brilliant and courageous team, Michael kept CNN live and on air as COVID-19 shut the world down," the CEO said, according to the memo posted by THR.
"Never has CNN been more essential than those bleak days when people were struggling to understand the pandemic. And as a part of the 'Trio,' Michael, Amy [Entelis], and Ken [Jautz] guided CNN through a difficult transition period while simultaneously overseeing our exceptional coverage of the war in Ukraine."
Bass will reportedly leave by the end of the year.
According to The Wrap, Bass helped create a number of new shows and legacy programs.
He also oversaw coverage of elections, town halls and debates, and he created CNN's Key Race Alerts. In addition, he developed special series including "Roots," "The Person Who Changed My Life," "Champions for Change" and the "Beyond the Call of Duty" franchise, The Wrap recounted.
The departure follows a series of personnel and programming changes Licht has overseen at CNN since taking over as president earlier this year under the newly formed media conglomerate Warner Bros. Discovery, The Hill noted.
Among the changes Licht has implemented have been the revamping of CNN's morning news show and the cancellation of its long-running Sunday media affairs program.
But the departure also comes at a time of sluggish ratings across cable news since former President Donald Trump left office, The Hill reported.
In a recent interview Licht said he didn't want producers, talent and showrunners to be so laser-focused on ratings — but rather concentrate on a more sober, fact-based CNN than the model under Jeff Zucker, The Hill has reported.
"I don't, do not, want someone who's producing an hour of television on CNN saying, 'You know what? I could lead with this or I could lead with that. I'm going to lead with that because it'll get a better number.' I want people leading and stacking their shows in a way based on journalism and what's important," Licht said during the interview. "Let me worry about the ratings. Chase stories, not ratings."
The shakeup isn't the last. Licht has been charged with implementing a series of cuts and layoffs expected to take place at the network next month, The Hill reported.
Bass was one of the executives who ran CNN on an interim basis after Zucker left the channel earlier this year. Licht officially named Bass to his team in July, THR reported.