A report published in Puck News shed light on the $43 billion WarnerMedia-Discovery merger being spearheaded by Discovery CEO David Zaslav.
According to Puck News’ Matthew Belloni, Zaslav knows CNN is “tainted by politically polarized (and rapidly declining) audiences in the U.S.” but believes he could help the liberal network “successfully” transition into the world of streaming.
“To that end, I’m told Zucker recently offered MSNBC star Rachel Maddow around $20 million a year to anchor the soon-to-launch CNN+ service, which then caused NBC Universal to scramble to promise her more money and less work to stay put, which she did,” Belloni wrote on Thursday.
CNN confirmed to Belloni that Zucker did offer Maddow a gig at CNN+ but did not confirm the price. The network did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Maddow declined to comment.
In August, there were reported rumors that Maddow was considering leaving MSNBC when her contract ended early next year with the hopes of making more time with her family. Days later, it was reported she was staying with the Peacock network.
Zucker’s apparent attempt to poach MSNBC’s biggest start is the latest sign of CNN’s lurch to the left despite maintaining its portrayal as a down-the-middle network.
While Zucker’s effort to recruit Maddow failed, he did manage to pull one of her MSNBC colleagues, Kasie Hunt, who made her debut on CNN in August as a chief national affairs analyst and is set to have her own program on CNN+.
It is unknown whether or not the launch of CNN+ will be a success as the network itself has had a devastating year.
During the month of October, nearly every single program on CNN failed to average 1 million views, according to Nielsen data.
CNN averaged just 480,000 in total day viewership in October, a whopping 76% drop from January. The network’s weeknight primetime lineup averaged 733,000 viewers, an astonishing 78% decrease from earlier this year.
Throughout the year, CNN was marred in controversy. Its primetime star Chris Cuomo was accused of sexual harassment by veteran TV producer Shelley Ross when the two of them worked at ABC News and was repeatedly swept up in the scandals plaguing his brother, ousted New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D.
CNN was also widely panned over the uncomfortable return of its chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who had disappeared from the airwaves following his Zoom masturbation scandal last year.