CNN boss Chris Licht was all smiles at the premiere of HBO’s “Succession.”

Chris Licht on the hot seat? As Logan Roy (and the “Succession” Season 4 premiere attendees ordered rye, vermouth and bitters) would say, “F*ck off!”

Chris Licht might not have been the hottest celebrity at Monday’s “Succession” Season 4 premiere — we went with Matthew Broderick, who supported his “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” pal Alan Ruck, aka Connor Roy — but he might have been its participant. the coolest session in the media.

The screening and after-party for the final season of HBO’s brilliant media empire drama was beautiful. For starters, Episode 401 – which we got to see on the big screen at Lincoln Center at Jazz – was fantastic. Read IndieWire’s review here. A jazz band set the mood as we awaited fashionably late episode introductions from HBO boss Casey Bloys and “Succession” creator Jesse Armstrong. Blue and white branded M&Ms, popcorn and water bottles took the lead.

All 26 cast members bowed and received a standing ovation. We then placed our mobile phones in flimsy ‘Succession’ branded clear plastic bags with no real security features and rolled the iconic opening credits. (The event is “cocktail attire suggested,” so perhaps they thought no one had pockets.)

The after-party with a huge 4,500-square-foot wall of windows overlooking Columbus Circle featured specialty cocktails “F*ck Off” (rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, Angostura bitters and cocktail cherry) and “The Checkmate” (tequila, triple sec, ginger syrup, lemon juice and Angostura bitters). They took off the remaining edge; the “succession” was so perfect.

Adjacent to Ertegun Átrium, not far from sushi, caviar cones and other small dishes, there was Licht. It’s not unusual to see Licht at an HBO party. Its CNN brand is part of Warner Bros. Discovery; he could see his New York office from the bar. Dressed in a light suit and no tie, Licht smiled as he chatted with fellow guests, including Bloys and Katie Couric. Licht’s boss, WBD CEO David Zaslav, was not present at the party. This is also not unusual, although last year he attended the same ceremony at the Museum of Natural History in New York.

Alexis Bloom, Fisher Stevens and Katie Couric at the Season 4 premiere "Succession" It was held on March 20, 2023 at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City

Alexis Bloom, Fisher Stevens and Katie Couric at the ‘Succession’ Season 4 Premiere held at Jazz at Lincoln Center on March 20, 2023 in New York City.

Photo by Nina Westervelt/Variety via Getty Images

Licht seemed cheerful, despite the March 13 Page Six reports that in a few months you will not (or may!) have a job. To be fair to Licht, and at the risk of being a little unfair to Page Six, this is an obscurely sourced story that depended on internal “whispers” about his job security — or lack thereof — with the “insiders” being former producer Stephen Colbert his cases were presented, or he remains. obsession advanced.

Regarding Licht’s departure before Labor Day, a CNN spokesperson told IndieWire on Tuesday, “Time will prove the rumor ill-founded and the story false.”

Still, acknowledging that Licht is under the microscope’s 100x lens doesn’t lend credence to conspiracy theories. CNN was in trouble before the merger between WarnerMedia and Discovery, and before Zaslav hired Licht to restore the left-leaning cable news network known as the Cable News Network to its glory days of unbiased reporting. It’s nice to say that the twist leaves something to be desired.

From March 13-19, CNN suffered its lowest-rated week in more than 30 years among adults 25-54 (a key demographic for news programming), with the demo averaging 84,000 prime-time viewers, according to Nielsen. Even MSNBC beats CNN in this metric these days.

"Succession" Starring Sarah Snook, Alan Ruck, Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong and Kieran Culkin in the Season 4 premiere

‘Succession’ Starring Sarah Snook, Alan Ruck, Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong and Kieran Culkin in Season 4 Premiere


Two days after the Page Six report, the New York Post proper (Page Six is ​​the Post gossip section) wrote that Zaslav defended Licht again town hall, attended by roughly 600 CNN staff. IndieWire obtained a transcript of the town hall.

– There is no script for Chris’s work. He was very wrong. We were wrong a lot. That’s how it works,” Zaslav said. “We are all flawed. We’re trying to figure out what’s best for CNN.

“This is a moment for Chris. And I know this is a moment for you — for all of us who share a common mission,” he added.

We should point out here that the New York Post is a conservative-leaning publication owned by News Corp, the Murdoch-controlled mass media and publishing conglomerate previously (and almost again) paired with Fox News. The paper’s sniping—and Zaslav’s full-throated defense—created an oddly familiar drama.

Maybe someone should make a show about it.

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