Isaacson Takes To Small Screen

Headshot of Lisa Granatstein

NEW YORK–Walter Isaacson, a Time Inc. veteran and current editorial director, has been named chairman and CEO of CNN News Group, a sister company encompassing CNN’s flagship cable channel, Headline News, CNNfn, CNN/SI, CNN en Espanol and CNN International.

A memo from AOL Time Warner CEO Jerry Levin says Isaacson starts today. He replaces Tom Johnson, another former print news executive who converted to TV, who resigned abruptly late last month.

Isaacson’s replacement was not named.

Since AOL’s merger with Time Warner last January, CNN has been rocked by management shake-ups, hundreds of job cuts, poor morale, and lackluster ratings. Isaacson’s enthusiasm and hard-charging ways may be just what CNN needs. At Time magazine, where he was managing editor the last five years, he rejuvenated the newsweekly, adding technology and pop culture news and the six-issue Time 100 series, a list of the century’s most influential people.

In January, Isaacson ascended to become Time Inc. editorial director, acting as a news liaison with AOL and sibling CNN.

Isaacson joined Time in 1978 as a national affairs writer in New York, moved to Washington as a political correspondent and rose to national editor and assistant managing editor. In 1993, he became editor of new media for Time Inc.

At CNN he reports to Jamie Kellner, Turner Broadcasting Systems chairman and CEO and oversees Philip Kent, CNN president and chief operating officer. Eason Jordan, CNN’s news-gathering president, reports to Kent and Isaacson.

@lgranatstein Lisa Granatstein is the editor, svp, programming at Adweek.