Insider See Cuomo’s hand behind Jeff Zucker’s sudden departure from CNN

“People just get shell-shocked.” That’s how a CNN source describes the staggering fall of the Jeff Zucker, who announced on Wednesday morning, he is resign from CNN after not disclosing “a consensual relationship with my closest colleague.” He is referring to Allison Gollust, who worked with Zucker for about 20 years, first at NBC before following him to CNN in 2013 and becoming the powerful head of the network’s media and marketing. This news has completely taken the media by storm, like an episode of Heir play in real life.

Reading between the lines, everyone’s interpretation of this is Chris Cuomo Zucker cutlery. Zucker sack Cuomo at the end of last year about the former presenter’s deep involvement in the strategic response to his brother’s sexual harassment scandal, Andrew Cuomo– then Zucker initially stood by Chris Cuomo for months when the first revelations of his involvement came to light. (For a remarkable stint in a small world, Gollust briefly worked for Andrew Cuomo between jobs at NBC and CNN.) Politico report that, according to sources, Chris Cuomo’s attorneys had “raised issues of the relationship between Zucker and Gollust. Cuomo’s legal team asserts that Zucker is hypocritical in alleging that Cuomo has a personal conflict of interest when his relationship with Gollust also presents a potential conflict.”

I’ve heard similar things, including from someone with direct knowledge of Cuomo himself bringing up the connection in conversation. The attorneys retained by CNN’s parent company, WarnerMedia, have been conducting an investigation into the Cuomo matter over the past few months, since Coumo’s firing, and I said they’ve begun asking about Zucker and Gollust in recent weeks. Sources also told me Cuomo’s team dug the story around, which could explain how it ended in a little-noticed gossip item published by Radar Online on Jan. 4. A Cuomo spokesperson had no comment on this, but basically everyone I spoke to said the same thing: Zucker really became the latest victim of the Andrew Cuomo scandal. As one former TV news honcho said, “It’s like the ending of Lake dog. ” Another media executive texted me: “I’ve known that since they fired Cuomo.”

Zucker has retained crisis communication specialist Risa Heller, who also declined to comment. I say that WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar made it clear to Zucker in a phone call over the past few days that he cannot stay at the company. Calls were scheduled between Kilar and Zucker’s direct reports on Wednesday afternoon, and Kilar told CNN staff in a memo that he had appointed a temporary leadership team consisting of three of Zucker’s deputies—Michael Bass, Amy Entelis, and Ken Jautz— Who will run the network “until the end of a pending transaction with Discovery.” Which brings us to the point: It sucks. WarnerMedia’s merger with Discovery is expected to close in the next few months. CNN is also gearing up for the launch of a direct-to-consumer streaming service, CNN+, in which it has invested heavily. And they’re also in the process of finding a 9 p.m. replacement for Cuomo, who was once a star on CNN’s iconic lineup. “Why would you want to give Discovery a scandalous CNN? There’s no reason to do it this way,” said one of my CNN sources. The sources admit that speculations and rumors about Zucker and Gollust’s relationship are no secret within CNN (or outside for that matter), but as one of them noted, “Once these That truth is presented to the company, it will bind them. It’s just really unfortunate. ”

Several CNN talents have publicly endorsed Zucker. “I’m devastated,” Don Lemon told Diversity. “I just appreciate Jeff, and he’s the best boss we’ve ever had, and one of the best things that ever happened to CNN.” In similar comments to The Daily Beast, Alisyn Cameron speak, “We are all devastated. Jeff is beloved here. We all know there will never be a smarter or more compassionate boss.” A future without Zucker is something the network has looked down on for a while. Like me previous report, Zucker and Kilar have clashed in the past. In the fall of 2020, Zucker lost oversight of CNN’s finance, human resources, and communications divisions, and sources later told me he was informed less than a day before the change. when it took effect, which angered him. He was close to leaving, but decided to stay at least until the end of his contract. After the merger with Discovery is announced, Zucker will probably be in it for a long time due to his friendship with the Discovery CEO. David Zaslav. Now, for CNN – facing a massive post-Trump ratings slump, the birth of a major strategic initiative, a golden time gap, and fading enterprise integration – the The future looks uncertain again.

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