CNN Sees Another Behind-the-Scenes Shakeup

The shakeups at CNN keep on coming. Michael Bass, CNN's top programming executive, is leaving the cable news channel, CEO Chris Licht revealed to staffers at the Warner Bros. Discovery-backed outlet's daily news meeting Monday. Bass, who joined CNN in 2013, is set to depart at the end of the year.

In a staff memo, obtained by Deadline, Licht explained that the decision to leave was Bass', noting that "throughout his nearly decade-long run at this organization, Michael has demonstrated incredible leadership and perseverance." Licht applauded Bass as having "been a steady hand during some of the most turbulent times this network has faced." He noted that Bass, along with a team of other CNN employees, "kept CNN live and on air as COVID-19 shut the world down" and was also part of a trio who "guided CNN through a difficult transition period while simultaneously overseeing our exceptional coverage of the war in Ukraine."

"As head of domestic programming, Michael helped create a number of new shows and overhaul legacy programs. His full list of accomplishments is too great to acknowledge in a single memo. But on the heels of the midterms, it's worth noting that he oversaw coverage of elections, town halls and debates, and is the creator of CNN's Key Race Alerts, which continue to distinguish our election coverage today. He also developed a number of special series such as Roots, The Person Who Changed My Life, Champions for Change, and the "Beyond the Call of Duty" franchise," Licht continued, adding, "I wish Michael well in his future endeavors and thank him for his contributions, guidance, and friendship."

Licht said the network is currently "launching a search for Michael's replacement, and we will communicate an interim plan in the coming days." Bass has not commented on his departure at this time. Bass joined CNN in 2013 following his time at NBC in business development. A longtime deputy to Jeff Zucker, Bass worked with him at NBC's Today show and at Katie before Zucker hired him at CNN.


Bass' departure comes as Licht leads a massive effort to reorganize and reorient CNN amid faltering ratings. Licht became the network's chairman and CEO in the spring following Zucker's Licht became the network's chairman and CEO in the spring following. Since then, there have been several changes at the network. After the network canceled its Reliable Sources program in August, former CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter left the company. His exit was followed in September by the news that CNN White House correspondent John Harwood would also depart.