David Zaslav meets with CNN DC Anchors and Reporters

Photo by Amanda Edwards / Getty Images for Discovery.

Discovery, Inc. CEO David Zaslav embarks on a national tour of WarnerMedia offices as he takes the helm of the newly merged Warner Bros. Discovery, and one of his first stops will be CNN’s Washington, DC office to meet with the cable news network’s anchors and journalists, a CNN insider has confirmed to Mediaite.

The merger, which ended Friday, was the culmination of a process in which WarnerMedia was spun off from parent company AT&T as part of its efforts to pay off debt and redirect funds to build and expand the 5G network to their mobile service. Some of these ventures included WarnerMedia, which sold TMZ to Fox Entertainment, and AT&T sold its DirecTV service to TPG Capital and anime producer CrunchyRoll to Sony.

According to Los Angeles TimesThe newly merged company is expected to have nearly 40,000 employees and more than $ 50 billion in annual revenue by 2023.

Warner Bros. Discovery’s assets will include WarnerMedia’s HBO, CNN, TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network and Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California with its iconic logo water tower. Discovery’s offerings include its namesake Discovery Channel, Food Network, HGTV, Animal Planet, Science Channel and TLC and its own streaming service, Discovery +.

On Sunday, The Wrap reported that Zaslav’s planned itinerary included a visit to WarnerMedia’s global headquarters in New York City on Monday, Warner Bros. The Atlanta office on Tuesday, the WarnerMedia / HBO offices in Culver City, California on Wednesday, and then a town hall at the WarnerMedia offices in Burbank.

A CNN insider told Mediaite on Sunday that Zaslav’s Monday trip will also include an evening meeting with CNN’s anchors and journalists in the country’s capital, an agency that includes many of the on-air personalities who make up a large part of the network’s face.

The CNN website lists among their DC-based notable name anchors Jim Acosta, Dana Bash, Pamela Brown, Wolf Blitzer, Brianna Keilar, John Kingand Jake Tapperplus some of the many journalists covering the political beat as chief political analyst Gloria Borgerchief correspondent in Washington Kaitlan CollinsPolitical Reporter and Editor-at-Large Chris CillizzaCorrespondent in the White House Jeremy Diamondsenior political analyst Nia-Malika HendersonSenior Correspondent in the White House Phil MattinglyCongress correspondent Ryan Noblesleading political correspondent Abby Philipand Chief Correspondent for National Affairs Jeff Zeleny.

The source told Mediaite that the mood among the DC bureau hoped that the meeting with Zaslav would go better than last month’s meeting with former WarnerMedia chief Jason Kilar.

Kilar’s stony virtual encounter with CNN’s New York anchors came in the immediate aftermath of the ouster of former CNN chief jeff sugar and persistent unrest around Chris Cuomo leave the network. According to a report from Wall Street Journalseveral anchors protested loudly against Zucker being pushed out, expressing dissatisfaction with the possibility that Cuomo could get the dismissal he demanded and get “well paid” despite breaches of journalistic standards related to covering his brother’s troubled end. Andrew Cuomo term of office as governor of New York.

The tap to take over from Zucker to lead CNN was Chris lighta veteran TV producer with a resume that included a reputable stay with MSNBC’s Tomorrow Joe and no later than The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

On April 5, Kilar confirmed that he was stepping down as WarnerMedia chief, a move that was largely expected to happen before the merger.

“We would like to hear that he will let us do our job,” the CNN insider told Mediaite when asked about their expectations for the meeting with Zaslav.

In addition to shuffling names around the company’s organization chart and other merger-related changes, it’s a time of transition and growth for CNN. The streaming service CNN + is taking its first small steps in the middle of an increasingly competitive field, where mega-players such as Netflix, Amazon and Apple are investing staggering sums in their own streaming platforms and original content.

Cable news ratings have long been dominated by Fox News, but CNN has seen a recent rating increase driven by their ground coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Many of the network’s best-known names, including Tapper, Jim Sciutto, Don Lemon, Andersen Cooper, Brianna Keilar, John Berman, Erin Burnett, Clarissa Wardand Christiane Amanpour, has reported live from Ukraine. Blitzer and Sarah Sidner was among the CNN teams reporting from border countries like Poland and Romania that have received some of the millions of Ukrainian refugees.

Both those who have reported from Ukraine and their colleagues who anchor CNN’s shows from DC and New York have expressed pride in the network’s coverage of the war, a pride that is justified in the eyes of many media observers.

But how their new boss, Honcho Zaslav will be the captain of their cable news ship, is a question left to CNN staff.

“David Zaslav’s honeymoon is over” Puck News’ Matthew Belloni last week, where he describes some of the challenges that await Zaslav as he seeks to navigate several wildly divergent corporate cultures among the divisions of the new entity, make final decisions on how to restructure management and deal with the huge debt of around 58 billion dollars on their books. .

“[I]It’s hard to smash obsolete companies with different cultures, “Belloni wrote, adding that he” bet the inevitable mass layoffs are next, “with analysts estimating it could take more than a decade to pay down on it debt.

In Belloni’s assessment, CNN + seemed like a mature goal for Zaslav to take some steps, with its reported annual budget of $ 300 million. But the streaming service can also benefit from the merger, he wrote, such as being able to sign up for new subscribers by being promoted as an upcharge product along with HBO Max.

Last year with the looming merger, Zaslav profusely praised CNN in a call with Wall Street analysts, praising them as “a news service that has real and meaningful resources globally, news gathering resources, the largest and largest group of global journalists of any media company, perhaps with the exception of the BBC. “

UPDATE: CNN’s Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter confirmed that Zaslav would include CNN’s DC agency in his visit next week, while he “begins[s] integration work ”of the merged companies.

This article has been updated with additional information.

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