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Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images for WarnerMedia

CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker said on a staff-wide call Thursday morning that he plans to stay with the network until his contract expires at the end of 2021.

Why it matters: Zucker's tenure at CNN has been debated among media insiders for years. The TV boss has reportedly been eyeing an exit from the network for some time.

  • Zucker has been president of CNN Worldwide since 2013. He was named chairman of WarnerMedia News and Sports in March 2019, following the acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T in 2018.
  • Zucker led the network during a contentious period, with former President Trump frequently demonizing CNN to his followers. Under Zucker's leadership, the network leaned into that tension, placing more anti-Trump opinion-like programming in primetime.

The big picture: CNN saw a ratings boost in mid-January during President Biden's inauguration and in the week following the Capitol attack. It's unclear whether the Biden administration will bring a substantial lift to ratings overall, as ratings fell in primetime after news surrounding the insurrection subsided.

  • Still, the January bright spots were an indicator that CNN has some running room following consistent beats by Fox News during the Trump era.
  • Zucker's departure at the end of 2021 could come amid a ratings resurgence, should CNN be able to continue to find ratings streaks during the first year of the Biden administration.

What's next: Zucker hasn't indicated what he plans to do when and if he leaves CNN, but the former NBC Universal executive has previously suggested that he would consider getting into politics.

Go deeper

Omicron cases confirmed in 4 U.S. states

A healthcare worker inserts a Covid-19 rapid test into a machine in Denver, Colorado. Photo: Daniel Brenner/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Five cases of the newly-discovered Omicron variant were detected in New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday, making New York the fourth state with confirmed cases.

The latest: In addition to New York, the variant has been confirmed in California, Colorado and Minnesota.

Early winter heat shatters records in U.S., Canada

Temperature departures from average on Dec. 2, 2021, as depicted by the GFS computer model. (Weatherbell.com)

A widespread and intense heatwave is roasting large portions of the U.S. and Canada, shattering daily and monthly temperature records.

Why it matters: Winter is the fastest-warming season across the U.S., and the lingering warmth is shortening the snow season in places like Colorado and Montana, where mountain snowpack is a critical source of water during the summer months.

5 hours ago - Science

COVID time warp

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The start of the COVID-19 pandemic seems like a lifetime ago to some, and just yesterday to others. Scientists are beginning to unpack the way people processed the passage of time amidst the stress, uncertainty and isolation of the 1 year, 8 months and 21 days since WHO declared a pandemic.

Why it matters: The pandemic's global effects on how people experience time could provide new insights into the brain's ability to perceive and predict time — a fundamental feature of life.