CNN President Jeff Zucker is being mentioned as a candidate to run ESPN, according to published reports.
Walt Disney Co. is looking for a successor to ESPN President John Skipper who left the sports giant citing substance abuse issues. Former ESPN boss George Bodenheimer was brought back to run the network on an interim basis, but a permanent head has not yet been named.
CNN and the other news networks have seen their ratings and revenue rise amid the news kicked up the Trump administration. Zucker was criticized for giving Trump too much free attention as a candidate. Since being elected Trump has scorned CNN as “fake news.”
The Trump administration has also sued to prevent CNN’s parent company, Time Warner, from being acquired by AT&T. There have been reports that the administration wants Zucker or CNN removed before it will approve the deal.
Before getting the CNN job, Zucker ran NBCUniversal and helped make Donald Trump a TV star by airing The Apprentice.
A CNN spokesperson said that “Jeff loves his job at CNN and has no interest in running ESPN.”
Disney did not comment in the reports.
Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.
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