Jeff Zucker

Last week, reports surfaced that CNN president Jeff Zucker had expressed interest in becoming the president of ESPN. The position has been open since John Skipper suddenly resigned last month, citing a substance abuse problem.

Deadline reported that Zucker had conversations with ESPN’s parent company Disney about replacing Skipper. But now, Zucker has stated he isn’t leaving CNN.

A CNN spokesperson told Variety that Zucker said he’s not going anywhere:

”Jeff loves his job at CNN and has no interest in running ESPN.”

Zucker who has headed NBC’s Today show, as well as being the President/CEO of NBCUniversal, has overseen CNN since 2013. Thanks in large part to coverage of the Trump administration, the network enjoyed its highest-ever ratings in 2017. Zucker has led CNN into the digital age with new initiatives like podcasts, online columns and newsletters. But he’s also brought in more debates which would be straight from the ESPN First Take playbook.

So as Zucker takes his name out of consideration for a job that he might not have been a candidate in the first place, Disney’s CEO Robert Iger continues to search for a new ESPN boss.

In the meantime, it’s business as usual at the Worldwide Leader. The company appears to be bidding for Thursday Night Football on behalf of ABC and is going ahead with Mike Greenberg’s new morning show.

For now, ESPN continues under the guidance of interim President George Bodenheimer until a replacement is found.


About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.