CNN Chief Doesn’t View Fox News, MSNBC as His Rivals

During an appearance on “On With Kara Swisher,” CNN’s chairman and CEO Chris Licht opened about who he sees as competition for the cable news channel, and it isn’t Fox News. 

“I’m not looking at it through trying to appeal to ‘lean into the left’ or ‘try to appeal to more people on the right.’ I think that that’s not a good business model because you’re fighting for a bigger slice of a shrinking pie,” said Licht on the newest episode of Swisher’s Vox Media-based podcast, which interviews influential names in politics, the entertainment Industry and more.

Licht, who upon taking the reins set a goal to shift to less-partisan news production at the network, said fellow channel news competitors aren’t on his radar. 

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“The competition for me in cable is not MSNBC or Fox. Hopefully, what we’re doing is so different and unique that we are attracting people who perhaps have found cable news to be irrelevant in their lives,” Licht said. 

“My competition is frankly Kathleen’s HGTV and Netflix,” Licht continued, referring to Kathleen Finch, chief officer of lifestyle brands at Discover Inc.

Finch oversees operations for all of Scripps programming, including Food Network, HGTV, TLC and more.

“I’m fighting for people in down news times. I’m fighting for people’s discretionary attention. And I don’t believe that the way to the future is to try to steal people from Fox,” Licht said.

Licht moved into his current position as chairman and CEO in February of this year. He previously served as EVP of special programming at CBS, and executive producer and showrunner for The “Late Show With Stephen Colbert.”

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