Producer Chris Licht will be named the President of CNN in May.
Licht first developed and produced CBS “This Morning” show before producing MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” franchise. He later became the Executive VP of special programming and executive producer of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” for CBS in 2016.
On Monday, Stephen Colbert had a special message for his friend, who would be leaving CBS to become the new chairman and CEO of CNN Global after the Discovery-WarnerMedia merger is completed in April.
Stephen Colbert Jokes That He ‘Trained The Next President Of CNN’
When the pair first met over six years ago, Colbert admitted that he didn’t think that Licht was the first person for the job.
Colbert confessed, “I wasn’t sure whether I would like him, whether we would become friends, because we’re all show folk here, and Chris is not…. I didn’t know whether I’d like him, but six years later, I love you, Chris.”
After joking that he “trained the next President of CNN,” he continued, “I believe legally CNN now stands for the Colbert News Network. Obviously, Chris is still under contract so we’re going to have to do this like a baseball trade. If CNN is taking Chris, I’m going to take Wolf Blitzer’s beard.”
The former host of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” also praised Licht’s humility when he first started working there in 2016.
“He arrived knowing what he didn’t know, which was anything about comedy or show business so he approached the job with a level of humility that is rare in executives,” Colbert said. “But here’s the thing. There are bosses and then there are leaders. Bosses tell you what to do. Leaders work as hard as you do to do what needs to be done and that’s what [Chris] did. That’s why he earned the respect from all of us here who live in the clown car.”
“We showed him what we really want to do, which is the show we do now and he immediately started creating the lines of communication, the lanes of responsibility and the respectful workplace that makes creative ambition at this speed possible,” he continued. “I’m happy that CNN will now benefit from all of his wisdom.”
Stephen Colbert Says That Chris Licht Was A ‘Stickler For The Rules’
Although Colbert admitted that Licht was in more of a “managerial” position than a creative one, Licht didn’t like one character on the show: Shrieking Joe. Although the writers liked the caricature, Licht really didn’t… and apparently the audiences didn’t either, if any ratings had anything to say about it.
Colbert also joked that Licht was a “bit of a stickler for the rules” who always said to staff “Have a good time, not a great time” at company parties.
“We’re going to miss all sorts of things about Chris… we’re going to miss your fleece vests, your strange loyalty to the folks at Untuckit,” Colbert went on. “We’ll miss your stories of how many billionaires you know and I personally will miss the frantic, flailing hand gestures when I go 38 minutes with Neil DeGrasse Tyson or even mention Lord of the Rings.”
“I know that all of us are really going to miss your air maraca white boy frat shuffle, but most of all, if I may, Chris, we’ll miss your tenacity in the face of opposition whether you’re going to bat with the network over how many times we can say butt-chug on CBS or insisting that the staff order Meatball Shop for lunch whether we like it or not and for the record, we not,” he concluded.
Fans Wish Chris Licht All The Best At CNN!
— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) March 1, 2022
In the comments, fans expressed their support for Licht moving to his new position at CNN.
“I knew the show was great but I didn’t know that you had such a powerhouse in your midst,” one fan commented. “Wishing you the best @ChrisLicht.”
“Congrats Chris and best wishes for your future success – take what you’ve learned from Stephen and let’s get this ball rolling,” another commented.
“Great tribute by Stephen Colbert to Chris Licht,” another wrote. “Looking forward to seeing how Chris Licht brings the same magic to CNN.”
“Well done all!” another commented. “Thank you, Chris, for all your hard work on The Late Show. Wishing you all the best!”