CNN’s top programming executive, Michael Bass, is leaving the cable news channel.
CNN CEO Chris Licht announced the decision to staff at the channel Monday morning, writing in a memo that Bass “made the decision to leave CNN at the end of this year” and noting that “he has been a steady hand during some of the most turbulent times this network has faced.”
Licht added that CNN is “launching a search for Michael’s replacement, and we will communicate an interim plan in the coming days.”
Bass was one of the executives who ran CNN (the others were talent and content development chief Amy Entelis and operations and production executive Ken Jautz) on an interim basis after Jeff Zucker left the channel earlier this year. Licht officially named Bass to his team in July.
Bass was a long time deputy to Zucker, having worked with him at NBC’s Today show and at Katie, the Katie Couric syndicated talk show that Zucker ran after departing NBC. Zucker hired him at CNN in 2013 to lead programming.
Licht’s memo is below.
To my CNN colleagues,
I’m writing to let you know that Michael Bass has made the decision to leave CNN at the end of this year. Throughout his nearly decade-long run at this organization, Michael has demonstrated incredible leadership and perseverance. He has been a steady hand during some of the most turbulent times this network has faced.
Along with a brilliant and courageous team, Michael kept CNN live and on air as COVID-19 shut the world down. Never has CNN been more essential than those bleak days when people were struggling to understand the pandemic. And as a part of the “Trio,” Michael, Amy, and Ken 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.
I wish Michael well in his future endeavors and thank him for his contributions, guidance, and friendship. We are launching a search for Michael’s replacement, and we will communicate an interim plan in the coming days.