CNN head, a frequent Trump target, renews contract through 2020: report


CNN President Jeff Zucker has renewed his contract through the 2020 election, according to a Wednesday report.

According to Vanity Fair, the 53-year-old Zucker signed his new deal “several months” before a federal judge approved a blockbuster merger between AT&T and Time Warner that was being challenged by President Trump’s Justice Department in court. 

The signing comes months after Trump, a staunch critic of CNN who regularly refers to the network as “fake news,” predicted Zucker’s job was in “jeopardy” due to being “ratings challenged.”

Zucker has hit back without naming Trump directly, telling a New York audience in September that attacks from the White House have “only emboldened” the network.

{mosads}“People from the Administration have attacked us, called us names, just for doing our jobs. But that has only emboldened us, made us stronger,” Zucker said during at an event of the Library of American Broadcasting.

“It hasn’t hurt the CNN brand in any way; in fact, it’s only enhanced it. It is our job to hold those in power accountable. … They should respect it even if they don’t like it. We have no agenda other than to report the news fairly. I have spent 30 years in the news business. There has never been a more important time,” he added. 

CNN’s ratings were down in last month when compared to May of 2017, dipping 25 percent it total viewers in primetime, 34 percent in the primetime 25-54 demographic advertisers covet most, and 20 percent overall in the “total day” demo that measures audiences from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. on a daily basis, according to Neilsen Media Research. But it was still the second-most watched May in network history, according to CNN. 

CNN sits in third place in the ratings race against MSNBC and Fox News.

Zucker, 53, joined CNN in January 2013 not long after serving as president and CEO of NBC Universal. 

Trump and Zucker’s working relationship goes back to 2004, when the NBC president hired the real estate mogul to star in the reality show “The Apprentice,” which became an instant hit for the network. 

Trump as president has claimed to have helped Zucker secure his job as head of NBC Universal, telling CNN’s Jim Acosta last year to “ask Jeff Zucker how he got his job.”

The relationship between the two soured quickly when Trump began tweeting and saying at rallies that CNN was “fake news” and overwhelmingly negative towards his campaign. He hasn’t appeared on the network in nearly two years, dating back to August 2016. 

—Updated at 6:36 p.m.

Tags CNN Donald Trump Fake News NBC

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