Report: Jeff Zucker may soon be out at CNN, had talks with Disney to take over at ESPN

Rumor has it that CNN President Jeff Zucker is in the running to take the reins at ESPN.

But is this because he’ll soon be in need of a job?

As Deadline Hollywood reported: “Multiple sources close to Zucker confirmed to Deadline that he has had conversations for the top job at the sports giant.”

Other reports say Zucker has had no direct conversations with Disney CEO Robert Iger, but he has reportedly thrown his hat in the ring to run ESPN, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

SG Jeff Zucker
(Image: screenshot)

Given ESPN’s decidedly liberal slant, Zucker would be a natural fit at the sports network.

The anti-Trump zealot is considered a “sports junkie,” and he started his media career as a researcher for NBC during the 1988 Summer Olympics.

CNN’s Brian Stelter tweeted a short statement from the network on the rumored interest.

“In response to questions, CNN spokeswoman Allison Gollust said, ‘Jeff loves his job at CNN, and has no interest in running ESPN,'” he tweeted.

Zucker reportedly signed a contract extension with CNN last year and has been credited with “turning the cable news network around, leading it to a record $1 billion in profit in 2017,” THR reported.

But all may not be rosy, thanks in large part to President Donald Trump.

The entertainment industry magazine noted that Zucker’s “future at CNN has been the subject of intense speculation owing to Donald Trump’s consistent criticism and a looming showdown with the Justice Department, which has sued to stop AT&T’s proposed $85 billion merger with CNN parent Time Warner.”

Disney is looking to replace former ESPN chief John Skipper, who resigned just before Christmas.

Internal candidates in the running for the plum job, according to THR, include Kevin Mayer, head of strategy at Disney, and Jimmy Pitaro, who runs Disney’s consumer products group.

Here’s a quick sampling of how the Zucker rumor is playing out on social media:

https://twitter.com/KULTRA2K/status/954731312820244481

https://twitter.com/Dagny_Galt/status/954708779588866048

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Tom Tillison

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