CNN Chief Jeff Zucker Says He Has ‘No Interest in Running ESPN’

AP Susan Walsh
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

A report surfaced on Friday, claiming that CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker was being eyed by Disney as a potential successor to recently resigned ESPN President John Skipper.

However, according to a spokesman, Zucker says he has no interest in taking over the floundering sports giant.

ESPN has been looking for a replacement for Skipper ever since he suddenly resigned on December 18th, revealing that he had long suffered from substance addiction, and needed to step-down in order to seek treatment.

On Friday, the website Deadline reported that Zucker was in discussions with Disney about taking over leadership of ESPN. A CNN spokesman, though, says, “Jeff loves his job at CNN and has no interest in running ESPN.”

According to the Los Angeles Times:

Chatter that Zucker and Disney have talked about the position has circulated among sports TV executives amid questions about his future at CNN, where he is under contract at least through the end of the year.

CNN parent Time Warner Inc. is headed to federal court in March as the Justice Department has filed suit to stop AT&T’s $85-billion deal to acquire the media conglomerate. The government has raised concerns that the merger could raise prices for pay-TV subscribers.

President Trump’s personal animus for CNN, which he contends has covered him unfairly, has led to speculation that AT&T would jettison Zucker in order to smooth the path for the merger.

But Zucker remains committed to the network, according to one person who does business with CNN and spoke on the condition of anonymity. Along with ratings and record profits for the news channel, Zucker thrives on being part of an organization that is a central part of the country’s political discourse in the age of Trump.

Of course, if Jeff Zucker wanted to lead a news organization that opposes President Trump, he could do so just as easily from ESPN as he could from CNN.

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