News & Insights

The Deadline: A Media Landscape Blanketed by High-Stakes Moves at the Top

By Rebecca Epps

The Deadline - Media Intelligence Newsletter.

A Media Landscape Blanketed by High-Stakes Moves at the Top, CNN Continuing to Take Hits, & Fox Ratings Failing to Come Back from Tucker Carlson Ousting

Key Highlights:

  • Surprise New Leadership at Twitter – The appointment of a new CEO at the social media giant has many wondering if Musk’s controversial reign over the platform will be reeled in, while others say Yaccarino’s reputation could be at risk.
  • CNN Fails to Win Over Viewers, Instead Showcases “Disastrous” Town Hall – With the network continuing to be in the hot seat, the town hall with Former President Donald Trump failed to bring back any justice. Meanwhile, Kaitlan Collins seems to be on the up-and-up.
  • A Dynamically Divided (and Perhaps Not Surprising) Trust in Media – New data shows extreme polarization in how much trust Americans put in our top 45 news outlets.

Industry News

New Details Emerge in Tucker Carlson Ousting While Ratings Continue to Take a Hit

More details continue to surface surrounding Tucker Carlson’s departure from Fox News and his future in the media industry is gradually coming into focus. Sources familiar with the matter tell Variety that Carlson recently had a phone conversation with one of Fox Corp’s board members, who informed him that his absence from the airwaves was a stipulation imposed by Fox News as part of their settlement with Dominion Voting Systems. This condition was not documented in the settlement agreement but rather a verbal agreement. Meanwhile, with Carlson’s absence from the network, questions arise about potential programming shifts and broader implications for the conservative media conglomerate. Ratings for the 8 p.m. hour continue to take a hit, with Fox News placing last in Tucker’s old time slot last week where a slew of fill-in hosts have taken over. However, according to Variety, the network has gained at least 40 new advertisers in the 8 p.m. hour.

Elon Musk Appoints New CEO of Twitter: Linda Yaccarino Takes the Helm

There is a new top chief at Twitter. Linda Yaccarino, the advertising chief at NBCUniversal, has been appointed the new role. Yaccarino will focus on business operations while Elon Musk will work on product design and technology. Yaccarino brings valuable insights and expertise to Twitter as the platform heavily relies on ads for revenue but has faced challenges in expanding this area, exacerbated by Musk’s previous actions that unsettled advertisers. However, Yaccarino’s responsibilities will go beyond addressing advertising difficulties. Twitter has faced gaps in expertise and technical issues due to significant downsizing initiated by Musk. Moreover, the company carries a substantial $13 billion debt, which was incurred to facilitate Musk’s acquisition. Industry experts and Yaccarino’s colleagues are questioning her decision to join Twitter, as her reputation as one of the most beloved and trusted figures in the revenue side of the industry could potentially be at risk due to her new capricious and unpredictable boss.

CNN Faces Criticism After What Many Call a “Disastrous” Town Hall, Leadership Under Fire

CNN’s prime-time town hall featuring former President Donald Trump generated widespread criticism and raised concerns about how the news media will handle covering falsehoods from leading Republican candidates in the 2024 election. During the event, the former president continually evaded questions and made false claims about a rigged election. The telecast garnered just 3.1 million viewers, calling into question both CNN’s and Trump’s drawing power compared to previous town halls. Additionally, CNN was criticized for enabling Trump’s misleading statements and preventing real-time fact-checking. The event caused many to call into question CNN’s reputation and sparked calls for accountability within the network’s leadership. CNN Chairman Chris Licht issued a robust defense saying that there are people with opinions and backlash, and that is absolutely expected, but that people now know what the stakes are in this election in a way they didn’t know before. Licht also hailed moderator Kaitlan Collins and said it was a “masterful performance.” Journalists at CNN and others called the town hall a “debacle”, a “disaster” and “CNN’s lowest moment.” On Twitter, hashtags such as #BoycottCNN, #DonewithCNN and #ByeCNN trended following the event.

CNBC Anchor Who Filed Sexual Harassment Claims Against NBCUniversal CEO Leaves Network

CNBC announced it is parting ways with Hadley Gamble, the CNBC International anchor and correspondent who filed a sexual harassment complaint against Jeff Shell, the former NBCUniversal CEO. Gamble, a distinguished journalist with over a decade of experience at CNBC, had undertaken prominent assignments and gained expertise in the Middle East and beyond. Her departure was met with a statement from a CNBC spokesperson expressing gratitude for her contributions and wishing her success in future endeavors. Comcast, the parent company of CNBC, terminated Shell in late April after confirming allegations of sexual harassment, with Gamble’s complaint triggering the subsequent investigation.

The Wall Street Journal Drops Honorifics

The newly minted editor-in-chief of the WSJ continues to make adjustments, namely to certain journalistic processes. Emma Tucker announced the publication will be ending its use of honorifics. In a note to readers, Tucker said the WSJ will be eliminating the routine use of honorifics, our courtesy titles, in its news pages. Tucker went on further to say that for years the publication weighed the tradition of using those titles against the need to align with a more modern audience. In the end, she said, they have decided to drop those titles in order to be more in line with the way people communicate and that it puts everyone on more equal footing and helps make their reporter’s writing livelier. With the move, the New York Times is now one of the very few notable news organizations that will still describe someone with Mr., Ms., etc., on second reference.

Google and The New York Times Pair Up in Marketing & Ad Deal

The New York Times and Google are striking a deal. According to people familiar with the matter, the news outlet is getting around $100 million from Google over three years as part of a broad deal that allows the Alphabet unit to feature Times content on some of its platform. The deal is expected to give the Times an additional revenue driver as news outlets brace for an advertising-market slowdown. The New York Times announced its deal with Google earlier this year and described it as an expanded agreement that included content distribution and subscriptions, as well as using Google tools for marketing and ad-product experimentation. The Times has not commented any further beyond this initial remark.

After a Long Bout of Controversy, ABC Announces New Hosts for GMA3

The new anchors for GMA3 have been announced, five months after former anchors T.J. Holmes and Amy Robach were taken off the air following reports of a romantic relationship. Eva Pilgrim and DeMarco Morgan will co-anchor the show, and Dr. Jennifer Ashton, who’s been with the show since 2020, will continue to host the show with them. ABC aims to breathe new life into the show by introducing a diverse lineup of anchors with varied expertise and backgrounds. The decision to shake up the anchor team comes as part of a strategic move to attract a broader audience and stay competitive in the evolving media landscape. GMA3 aims to provide viewers with engaging discussions on important topics while reflecting the diversity and inclusivity of modern society.

Vice Media Files for Bankruptcy, Highlighting Troubles in the Digital Publishing Industry

Vice Media, the renowned digital media company known for its edgy content and unique storytelling approach, is now finding itself teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. The company, once hailed as a pioneer in the media industry, has been grappling with financial challenges and a failure to adapt to the rapidly evolving digital landscape. Despite securing significant investments from prominent entities like Disney and private equity firms, Vice Media struggled to meet its ambitious revenue targets. The company faced setbacks due to changing consumer preferences, declining ad revenues, and the inability to effectively monetize its digital platforms. The media outlet has now been forced to file bankruptcy protection after it’s scrambled to find a buyer for months. Though readers came by the millions, new media companies like Vice had trouble wringing in profits with the bulk of ad dollars going to the major online journalism platforms.

Career Moves

New Managing Editor Appointed at The Washington Post

Matea Gold, an accomplished journalist with extensive experience, has been appointed as the Managing Editor of The Washington Post. Gold joined The Post in 2013 after a 17-year career at the Los Angeles Times. She has had a rapid rise through the ranks of editorial leadership, starting as a national politics reporter, then running the national political enterprise and investigations team for four years during the tumultuous Trump administration years.  Her promotion comes at a crucial time for The Post. The media landscape continues to evolve, and Gold’s leadership will be vital in navigating the complexities of the digital age and adapting to constantly changing reader habits.


The Rise of Kaitlan Collins at CNN

There is a new anchor to CNN’s top primetime spot. Kaitlan Collins will take over as host of the 9 p.m. hour. CNN network boss Chris Licht announced in an email to staff. Collins was quickly rising to fame within the network, most notably making her big-time debut as moderator of CNN’s town hall with Former President Donald Trump. Despite heavy criticism surrounding the town hall event and it’s handling by the network, Collins post as moderator cemented how she is undoubtedly skyrocketing through the ranks at the network. Collins went from chief White House correspondent to morning show anchor to, now, the person tasked with helping Licht remake primetime. Collins came to CNN in 2017 as a White House reporter. Her Alabama upbringing and conservative bona fides quickly made her a key player. Colleagues credit her with being sharp and prepared. However, early in her tenure at the network, Collins dealt with controversy after past tweets from college resurfaced in which she made antigay remarks, which she later apologized for. Last year, CNN named her co-host of “CNN This Morning” and Collins only seems to be continuing her rise from here.

Trust in Turmoil: America’s Divided Stance on Media Integrity

A recent study by YouGov is shedding light on trust in some of the most frequent news makers to permeate our airwaves and digital screens. According to the April survey, there is extreme polarization in how much trust Americans put in the top 45 news outlets. Political affiliation plays a significant role, with Democrats generally more trusting of mainstream media while Republicans exhibit greater skepticism. According to the survey, sources such as CNN and MSNBC are the most divisive, and The Weather Channel, PBS, and BBC are the most trusted sources overall. This growing mistrust poses challenges to the media industry, leading to desperate measures and intensified competition. Some say that media outlets are willing to cross ethical boundaries and prioritize sensationalism over accuracy in favor of gaining a leg up on the competition. The consequences however of such actions are far-reaching, as they further contribute to the erosion of public trust and undermine the media’s credibility as a whole.


Sign-up for Our Newsletters

Sign up to receive The Deadline and Digital Dive weekly

You may opt out any time. View our Privacy Policy.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.