CNN chief Jeff Zucker to undergo heart surgery

Jeff Zucker, shown in 2015, is president of CNN.
(Larry Busacca / Getty Images)

CNN President Jeff Zucker will be out of action for at least six weeks as he undergoes elective heart surgery to correct a long-standing condition.

Zucker, 53, told staff of the impending medical leave on Thursday, according to a representative at the network.

“He assured everyone he is going to be just fine,” CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter wrote on Twitter following the network’s morning meeting.


Michael Bass, executive vice president of programming for CNN, will oversee editorial operations in Zucker’s absence.

He chose to have the procedure now because August is typically a slower news month.

Zucker has been the driving executive force behind CNN since he took over the cable news operation in 2013. His hands-on leadership style has made him well-liked among the journalists there.

CNN, a unit of WarnerMedia (the former Time Warner), has topped $1 billion in profit in each of the last two years, thanks in large part to surging viewership during the political rise of President Trump.

CNN has become a favorite target of Trump, who often chastises the network for its aggressive coverage of his White House.

Zucker joined CNN after a run as the top executive at NBC, where he oversaw the launch of “The Apprentice,” the reality series that turned Trump into a TV star.

He began his career at NBC in 1988 as a researcher for its Summer Olympics coverage and quickly rose to become executive producer of the network’s morning franchise “Today.”


Twitter: @SteveBattaglio


8:40 a.m.: This article was updated with details of Jeff Zucker’s career.

This article was originally published at 7:05 a.m.