May 17, 2021 - Economy

AT&T-Discovery media merger opens door to new Jeff Zucker era

Jeff Zucker

Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images for WarnerMedia

Friends tell me Jeff Zucker may drop his plan to depart at year's end and instead remain head of CNN, as a result of the massive merger of AT&T-Discovery media assets announced Monday morning.

Driving the news: I'm told that nothing has been decided. But absent this tectonic media shift, Zucker — who's chairman, WarnerMedia News and Sports, and president of CNN Worldwide — was gone. Now, the door is open for him to stay.

Why it matters: Zucker is one of the world's most experienced media executives, running a global machine with an unmatched reach and footprint. And is the largest news-organization website.

Discovery CEO David Zaslav, who's golfing/Hamptons buddies with Zucker, will run the new company, Axios is told.

  • Zucker, 56, relishes his news and sports roles, and runs CNN with a producer's passion and eye for detail. He also could have a political career in his future.
Data: Company filings. Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Company filings. Chart: Axios Visuals

The companies' combined assets will be a stronger competitor for Disney and Netflix in the streaming wars, Axios Sara Fischer writes.

  • AT&T and Discovery have both launched general entertainment streaming platforms in the past year — HBO Max and Discovery+.
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