Zucker to stay at CNN through rest of 2021

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CNN President Jeff Zucker told employees on a Thursday conference call that he will stay on at the network through the end of the year.

CNN media analyst Brian Stelter reported Thursday that Zucker had been mulling whether it was time to move on, but has decided to steer the network through 2021 before stepping aside. 

“The truth is, back in November and December I had basically decided that it was time to move on now,” Zucker said on the call. “But since then I’ve had a change of heart. And I want to stay. Not forever, but for another year. And I feel really good about this decision.”

Zucker has led CNN since 2013.

During former President Trump’s term in office, he reshaped the network into an antagonistic news force against the White House. 

CNN’s reporters, anchors and hosts grew in stature for clashing with White House officials, tracking the president’s falsehoods and breaking news about the tumultuous internal workings of the Trump administration.

CNN adopted a “Facts First” slogan to draw attention to the administration’s false or unproven claims, and the network promoted its heated clashes with Trump officials as a selling point. 

Trump and his allies relished having CNN as a foil, calling the network “fake news” and holding them up as an example of a media they accused of being hostile and unfair. 

There are questions about whether cable news networks can sustain the viewership they gained through the Trump years now that President Biden is in office. 

CNN got a boost and surged ahead of longtime ratings king Fox News in January after Trump whipped up a mob that stormed the Capitol to disrupt the Electoral College vote count.

Ratings for all the cable news channels have receded some in the past two weeks as the Biden administration has settled in.

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