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The Licht Show & WaPo Politics

Fred Ryan
Doubts about Fred Ryan’s future are now pervasive in the Post newsroom. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Dylan Byers
November 16, 2022

“The last thing I want to be is another gut punch,” Chris Licht, the chairman and C.E.O. of CNN, said in a town hall address to his staff this week, “and I know what I’m doing right now is another gut punch.” Thus began Licht’s mea culpa for the latest drama at CNN. When he first arrived at the network, earlier this year, he quixotically signaled that he would not implement layoffs at CNN despite a number of countermanding inexorable forces—a worsening economy, the decline of linear, and the $50+ billion debt load strapped to the ankle of his boss, the heralded Warner Bros. Discovery C.E.O. David Zaslav. Alas, Licht has since learned a lesson from the Jack Welch school of management: don’t promise what you can’t deliver. As I have reported and Licht himself has now confirmed, layoffs will begin in early December.