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In the Afterlicht

Chris Licht was deposed on Wednesday, during an early morning walk with Zaslav in the smoke-saturated air of Central Park.
Chris Licht was deposed on Wednesday, during an early morning walk with Zaslav in the smoke-saturated air of Central Park. Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Dylan Byers
June 9, 2023

On a Saturday morning last October, then-CNN C.E.O. Chris Licht was celebrating his 51st birthday when he received a call from Gunnar Wiedenfels. Gunnar, the chief financial officer at Warner Bros. Discovery, was leading David Zaslav’s $3 billion post-merger cost-cutting effort, and had already earned a reputation as Zaz’s “hatchet man” for scrapping film projects, shelving HBO Max shows, and implementing mass layoffs. Wall Street analysts loved him for it; the creative community, less so.