Discovery's Merger With WarnerMedia Could Take Effect As Early As Friday | CNN Business

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Brian Stelter highlights Discovery CEO David Zaslav’s support for CNN’s coverage of Russia-Ukraine and reports that Zaslav has selected Chris Licht to run CNN once Discovery and WarnerMedia merge this spring.

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Chris Licht’s hiring begins new era at CNN

Sky News journalists Dominique van Herrden and Stuart Ramsay recount their harrowing experience after they were ambushed in Ukraine while trying to drive back to Kyiv.

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In the forthcoming book “This Will Not Pass,” Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns report that President Biden told an associate that Rupert Murdoch is the “most dangerous man in the world.” David Zurawik reacts.

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Brian Stelter discusses former Trump official Mick Mulvaney joining CBS and Biden press secretary Jen Psaki’s impending move to MSNBC. Natasha Alford and David Zurawik assess the revolving door between politics and TV.

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“You can’t stop this war without providing independent information in Russia,” Meduza editor Ivan Kolpakov says. Meduza is seeking donations from the West because sanctions have hobbled its ability to collect money from Russian readers.

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CNN Executive VP and Chief Digital Officer Andrew Morse and CNN+ General Manager Alex MacCallum explain the unique features of CNN+, the network’s streaming service set to launch on March 29.

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The Kremlin banned an interview with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky from airing in Russia. CNN’s Matthew Chance talks to the journalists who conducted it.

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The Academy Awards – once premium viewing for tens of millions of people – is in danger of slipping into irrelevancy. CNN’s Frank Pallotta speaks with Variety’s Tim Gray about what the Academy can do to fix the awards show.

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CHICAGO - JANUARY 23:  Oscar statuettes are displayed during an unveiling of the 50 Oscar statuettes to be awarded at the 76th Academy Awards ceremony January 23, 2004 at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois. The statuettes are made in Chicago by R.S. Owens and Company.  (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

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CNN’s Oliver Darcy and Brian Stelter react to Chris Wallace’s interview with the New York Times on why he left Fox.

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CHICAGO - JANUARY 23:  Oscar statuettes are displayed during an unveiling of the 50 Oscar statuettes to be awarded at the 76th Academy Awards ceremony January 23, 2004 at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois. The statuettes are made in Chicago by R.S. Owens and Company.  (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

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Russian journalists Ekaterina Kotrikadze and Tikhon Dzyadko, the husband and wife behind the now shut-down independent Russian news outlet TV Rain, talk with CNN’s Brian Stelter about rebuilding their brand from outside the country and breaking through propaganda.

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Ekaterina Kotrikadze/Tikhon Dzyadko/YouTube

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Several news outlets across the globe broadcast dramatic drone footage showing the destruction of Mariupol, Ukraine. Russian state TV also aired that footage but used it as propaganda.

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Late night hosts poke fun at GOP’s line of questioning during the Supreme Court nomination hearings for Ketanji Brown Jackson.

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Komsomolskaya Pravda, a pro-Putin Russian tabloid, reported nearly 10,000 Russian soldiers have died fighting in Ukraine before quickly scrubbing the figure from its website. CNN’s Nada Bashir reports.

” data-duration=”01:56″ data-editable=”settings” data-headline=”Pro-Putin tabloid scrubs Russian invasion casualty figure” data-index=”idx-12″ data-show-name=”” data-show-url=”” data-source=”CNN” data-uri=”archive.cms.cnn.com/_components/video-resource/instances/h_11d9516752e6dabce9c53a5c0a7823e8″ data-video-id=”media/2022/03/22/pro-putin-tabloid-scrubs-russian-casualty-figure-ukraine-sot-es-vpx.cnn” data-video-instance=”archive.cms.cnn.com/_components/video-resource/instances/h_11d9516752e6dabce9c53a5c0a7823e8″>

A Russian flag flies in front of a ruby star atop one of the Kremlin's towers in downtown Moscow on March 13, 2018. Russia will hold presidential elections on March 18, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV        (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

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Russian actress Masha Mashkova is speaking out against Russia’s war in Ukraine after her father, Russian actor Vladimir Mashkov, spoke at Vladimir Putin’s rally in support of the war.

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After announcing his retirement from football, Buckeyes player Harry Miller shares his struggles with depression and anxiety.

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Media coverage of the war in Ukraine has largely been praised. Some journalists see this as an opportunity to reevaluate how wars and conflicts are covered when the victims are not mainly White or directly related to Western interests.

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Refugees, mostly women and children, wait in a crowd for transportation after fleeing from the Ukraine and arriving at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland, Monday, March 7, 2022. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian civilians attempting to flee to safety Sunday were forced to shelter from Russian shelling that pummeled cities in Ukraine's center, north and south. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

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New York CNN Business  — 

A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.

The formation of Warner Bros. Discovery is just about complete.

As Variety’s Jennifer Maas first reported on Tuesday, the pending merger between Discovery and WarnerMedia could “close,” in Wall Street parlance, as early as the end of business Friday. (WarnerMedia is CNN’s current parent, and CNN will be a part of this new media juggernaut.) A person familiar with the matter confirmed to Brian Stelter and me that the Friday timing is possible.

The companies have been planning for this moment for the better part of a year. In recent weeks, Monday the 11th was tentatively marked as a closing date. Now it could be a few days earlier.

Discovery and AT&T are not publicly commenting. But there are many signs that the deal is quickly coming to completion, with David Zaslav in charge of the enterprise. On Tuesday, AT&T officially began its process to spin off WarnerMedia, executing a stock dividend that will give shareholders some shares in the new company. AT&T shareholders will control 71% of Warner Bros. Discovery. “This is going to be the most exciting story in the sector for the next few years,” high-profile industry analyst Jessica Reif told Yahoo Finance.

The spin-off was accompanied by WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar formally announcing that he will depart the company on Friday. “With the pending transaction with Discovery nearing close, now is the right time to share with each of you that I will be departing this amazing company,” Kilar told employees in a memo on Tuesday.

In his note, Kilar called leading WarnerMedia “the honor of my lifetime.” Some of his key lieutenants are also leaving, making way for Discovery.

In his tenure as CEO, Kilar brought a new streaming-era mentality to a set of businesses – including HBO and CNN – that were historically siloed and focused on cable and satellite relationships. We talked about it last week when he was hanging out with the tech team running the CNN+ launch. The three keys in this new world, he said, are customer acquisition, engagement, and retention – hooking subscribers, keeping subscribers coming back for fresh and compelling content, and giving them reasons not to cancel. I know that sounds like common sense to some, but it requires a major mindset shift for traditional media businesses.

Speaking on CNBC, Kilar said his counsel to the leaders of Warner Bros. Discovery would be to “start and end with storytelling and stick to that knitting, and also recognize what’s working really well, which is clearly the streaming side of the business and gaming side of the business.” Kilar said he had no “grand proclamations” to share about his own future, but said, “I’m not going to a beach to go and reflect or retire…”

“The end credits are rolling for the senior leadership of WarnerMedia,” the WSJ’s Joe Flint wrote Tuesday.

Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff, who has led the studio since 2019, is set to leave at the same time as Kilar, the NYT’s Brooks Barnes reported, citing three sources and saying a formal announcement is coming soon. Like Kilar, he wrote, Sarnoff “found herself without a seat in the game of musical chairs that accompanies the merging of competing companies.” While the new structure “is still unknown,” Zaslav is expected to take over “at least some” of her portfolio.

HBO Max chief Andy Forssell is also parting ways with the company, Variety’s Matt Donnelly and Jennifer Maas scooped. As Deadline’s Anthony D’Alessandro and Dade Hayes reported, Discovery streaming head JB Perrette was “widely speculated to be taking over the newly merged company’s combined direct-to-consumer streaming operation even before Forssell’s exit became official.” All that said, HBO content chief Casey Bloys is expected to stay, D’Alessandro and Hayes reported…

Read More Here

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