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News Television

CBS News and Stations Shakes Up Their Talent Relations Team

Alison Pepper returns to take over as the senior vice president for talent strategy. Meanwhile, Laurie Orlando now oversees the talent strategy.

Eduardo Razo

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CBS News and Stations is undergoing a shakeup as Alison Pepper returns to the network to take over as the senior vice president for talent strategy. Laurie Orlando recently occupied the role, but she now oversees the talent strategy for CBS Stations. 

Orlando joined CBS News in January 2016 following a stint with ESPN in a top executive role, where she oversaw talent recruitment and development dating back to 2008. As a result, Orlando takes over a job she’s familiar with, dating back to her time with the sports network.

“Laurie is an exceptional partner who is passionate about our mission and believes wholeheartedly in discovering and developing the next generation of community journalists,” Wendy McMahon, president and co-head of CBS News and Stations, said.

“With nearly four decades in the industry, she will be invaluable to our station teams as we actively retain and recruit creators committed to leading the way in local news and information.”

Pepper spent two decades working with CBS News in her first stint, where she would ultimately become a producer for “60 minutes.” She left in 2019, as she left to become an agent for CAA in its Television – News and Sports Media, representing news media talent.

“Alison is an experienced, strategic professional with a sharp eye for the caliber of journalists who elevate and differentiate CBS News across the industry,” Neeraj Khemlani, president and co-head of CBS News and Stations, said. 

“Alison has attracted and recruited a diverse range of talent to CBS News over the years, and we welcome her back to continue this important work. She brings the unique experience of being a successful news executive and an agent at one of the leading talent agencies to this position.”

News Television

Chris Licht: CNN’s Competition Isn’t MSNBC, Fox News

In a recent appearance on the podcast “On With Kara Swisher,” Chris Licht explained that his competition for the cable news channel isn’t Fox News or MSNBC.

Eduardo Razo

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CNN’s Chris Licht took over the role of Jeff Zucker and in a recent appearance on the podcast “On With Kara Swisher,” Licht explained that his competition for the cable news channel isn’t Fox News or MSNBC.

“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,” Licht said.

“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.”

Additionally, Licht laid out who he was competing against and didn’t name any news outlets; his response will surprise many as to who he wants CNN to compete against under his tenure.

“My competition is frankly Kathleen’s HGTV and Netflix,” Licht said. “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.”

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News Television

Tucker Carlson: Social Media Ban Is Attack On Democracy

Carlson is sounding the alarm on existing social media bans to people like former President Donald Trump calling such bans “attacks on democracy.”

Ryan Hedrick

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Fox News host Tucker Carlson is sounding the alarm on existing social media bans to people like former President Donald Trump calling such bans “attacks on democracy.” 

Big Tech moved to ban Trump from all social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube following the Jan 6th riots at the U.S. Capitol. 

Carlson told his audience Wednesday that it really doesn’t matter what you think of Trump or his policies on fentanyl or anything else. 

“If you’re an American, you have to acknowledge that in order for our democracy to function, candidates for office — political candidates — have to be allowed to speak in public,” Carlson said in a transcript published on Breitbart

Carlson stated that if political candidates can’t speak in public then this can’t be a democracy. 

“He is still banned despite Elon Musk’s takeover,” Carlson said. “Trump is still banned from Twitter tonight, one of our premier social media platforms. Parler, you’ll remember, was pulled off the internet for giving Donald Trump an account.”

“So, you have to wonder now, where are the defenders of democracy? People were yelling last week about democracy is dying. If there are not calling for Trump to be re-platformed, you will know for certain they’re not defenders of democracy. They’re totalitarians,” he added. 

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News Television

Chris Licht: Media Coverage, Analysis Doesn’t Belong on Linear Television

Many questions remain regarding CNN boss Chris Licht to the abrupt cancellation of “Reliable Sources” and the subsequent exit of host Brian Stelter.

Ryan Hedrick

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Many questions remain regarding CNN’s unceremonious cancellation of “Reliable Sources” and the subsequent exit of host Brian Stelter. The network under CEO Chris Licht has undergone several changes and there’s more to come.

Recently, Licht sat down with journalist Kara Swisher on her podcast to discuss a bevy of topics related to the network, a network that Licht has promised to steer in an entirely different direction than his predecessor Jeff Zucker.  

Licht touched on Stelter’s departure, citing the need for CNN to take a different approach when it comes to covering what’s happening in the media. “Reliable Sources” focused on the analysis of and commentary from the American news media. 

“I want to do media coverage in a different way,” Licht told Swisher. “I think you can see Sarah Fisher who we just brought over as a contributor, who still works for Axios, and my vision for media coverage is that it doesn’t really have a place on linear television.” 

Stelter came to CNN after working as a media reporter for The New York Times. Stelter had agreed to host a daily episode of Reliable Sources on CNN+, but the streaming platform was disbanded shortly thereafter.

Licht said he prefers that CNN do media analysis and commentary on its digital platform which reportedly reaches 180 million unique users. 

“When it makes sense to be on television, we put Oliver Darcey on or we put Sarah [Fisher] on,” he added. 

Stelter reportedly had three years left on his contract when he was let go by CNN. Swisher reported during the conversation that Stelter had told friends that he felt like a sacrificial lamb. Swisher asked Licht why he didn’t offer Stelter a position elsewhere in the company. 

“I don’t really want to get into specifics on that,” Licht stated. “It’s not fair to Brian.”  

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