CNN’s Ex-Stars Reclaim Spotlight: A Grand Network Return

CNN's Ex-Stars Reclaim Spotlight: A Grand Network Return

Some of CNN’s biggest liberal stars who were pushed out under previous leadership have been making their return on-air in recent weeks, marking another shift away from a mission to make the network less partisan.

It has been nearly one year since CNN’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery, canned the network’s beleaguered CEO Chris Licht, who was brought on to restore the journalistic credibility CNN had lost during the Trump era.

Among the changes Licht made were of personnel, particularly jettisoning some of the most anti-Trump voices who had helped redefine CNN as a news organization aligned with MSNBC, which has openly embraced its far-left stance.

However, at least three of them have crawled their way back on CNN’s airwaves.

Jeffrey Toobin, who was CNN’s chief legal analyst, “decided” to exit CNN after 20 years in August 2022, though it was widely believed he was forced out by the Licht regime.

Toobin has made a remarkable resurgence in recent weeks, making at least 20 CNN appearances, many of them discussing former President Trump’s hush money trial. He is frequently introduced to viewers as a “former federal prosecutor.”

Don Lemon, another longtime CNN star, was fired last April following several tumultuous months that included losing his solo primetime show, off-set drama on his new morning show and his controversial “past her prime” comments about Nikki Haley.

In a recent interview, Lemon left the door open about officially returning to CNN.

Brian Stelter, CNN’s former chief media correspondent, was fired in August 2022 after Licht’s decision to cancel the network’s long-running media-centric Sunday show “Reliable Sources,” which Stelter hosted since 2013.

A source familiar with Toobin, Lemon, and Stelter’s recent appearances tells Fox News Digital that they were simply “guests” and there are no discussions about bringing them back in an official capacity.

While the three ex-CNNers may not be on the network’s payroll, their return to the network’s airwaves remains a signal of a strong rebuke from current CNN staff against the decisions made in the Licht era.

Licht was handpicked by Warner Bros. Discovery chief David Zaslav to course-correct CNN, which continues to lose viewers and has been tainted by a liberal, anti-Trump slant previously embraced by Zucker, who himself was ousted in February 2022 amid scandal.

During his roughly one-year tenure, Licht struggled to earn the trust of CNN’s rank and file, who rejected assertions that the network had a liberal bias, something Licht was hired to address.

The programming reversals and the return of previously axed on-air personalities showcase the ongoing evolution and shifts in CNN’s culture and approach.

These developments underline the network’s dynamic nature and the constant adjustments made to cater to its audience, balancing between past controversies and future endeavors to maintain relevance in today’s media landscape.

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