Scot Safon Out At HLN, Andrew Morse Joins CNN In Leadership Rejiggering

By Alex Weprin 

CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker is reorganizing his executive team in a big way.

For starters, after 22 years at the company HLN chief Scot Safon will be departing at the end of August. Current CNN/U.S. chief and former HLN executive VP Ken Jautz will manage HLN in the interim.


“Recently, Scot approached me with the desire to take a well-deserved break, and to move on to the next phase of his career,” Zucker wrote in a memo to staff this morning. “I have enjoyed working with Scot, and I am truly sorry to see him go. But I do understand the desire to do something new.”

The CNN Worldwide chief also confirmed the addition of Bloomberg TV’s Andrew Morse, who will become senior VP of domestic newsgathering and digital editorial, reporting to Zucker. Meredith Artley, Sam Feist and Terence Burke will all now report to Morse.

Michael Bass will oversee New York and Atlanta programming, while talent and acquisitions chief Amy Entelis will now report directly to Zucker. Ken Jautz will oversee operations and finance at CNN/U.S. while managing HLN in Safon’s absence.

Tony Maddox will be giving up some of his domestic newsgathering responsibilities to focus exclusively on international coverage.

Zucker’s full memo, below.

From: “Jeff Zucker, CNN Worldwide”
Date: August 7, 2013, 9:15:03 AM EDT
To: “*All CNN Staff (TBS)”, “*HLN Staff (TBS)”
Subject: A Note From Jeff Zucker

August 7, 2013

It has been just over six months since I arrived at CNN. In that time, we have significantly increased our newsgathering resources and launched several new programs, including “Around the World,” “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” “New Day,” “HLN After Dark” and have just announced premiere dates for “Crossfire” and “AC 360 Later.”

And we’ve only just begun. During these past six months, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how we should best organize to meet the needs of an evolving 24-hour, global, multi-platform news environment.

Now, I am pleased to announce some organizational moves that will help do just that.

On the CNN US side, Andrew Morse will join us as SVP, CNN US, overseeing our domestic newsgathering and digital editorial efforts. Andrew joins us from Bloomberg, where he served as Head of US Television and transformed their linear television newsroom into a state-of the-art digital newsgathering operation. Prior to that, Andrew spent 15 years at ABC News, where he did everything from overseeing their entire digital portfolio, to serving as Executive Producer of Weekend GMA, to stints as bureau chief in Asia and producer in London. Andrew will be based in New York and report to me.

With Andrew’s new role, I am taking the opportunity to connect digital and television in a way that I believe any modern news organization must. As you have heard from me since I arrived here, I have been anxious to combine our newsgathering operations across ALL of our platforms. Now, our domestic digital and television editorial teams will report to Andrew, as we continue to drive those teams together. As a result, Meredith Artley and her digital editorial team will now report to Andrew, as will Terence Burke and the entire domestic newsgathering operation. Sam Feist, and the DC editorial and programming teams in the Washington bureau, will also report to Andrew. As a result of this, all of our domestic newsgathering operations now reside in one editorial organization, and I have asked Andrew to continue to drive our digital and television teams even closer together.

KC Estenson will continue to be responsible for our digital business, concentrating on how we deliver our news and information in all the new ways that are emerging every day. KC will continue reporting to Susan Grant, and Meredith will have a dotted line to KC.

In addition, on the CNN US side, Michael Bass will continue as SVP and will now have oversight of our New York and Atlanta based programming, including mornings, dayside, prime time and weekends. Jim Murphy, Janelle Rodriguez and our prime time executive producers will all report to him. Michael will also continue to oversee network wide booking, sponsored content, our Heroes programming, and our in-house documentaries. Michael will be based in New York and report to me.

Amy Entelis, our SVP, Talent and Program Development, will now report directly to me. Our emphasis on new programs, both live and taped, will continue to take on increasing importance. To help bolster that, we are pleased to welcome Nancy Duffy, as VP, Program Development. Nancy joins us from Fox News and will report to Amy, overseeing development of all new live programming. Vinnie Malhotra continues to have responsibility for our acquired series and CNN Films. And Courtney Sexton will be joining Vinnie’s team in Los Angeles, from Participant Media, as Senior Director, CNN Films.

Ken Jautz, EVP, CNN US will focus his attention on our overall operations and financial rigor at CNN US. He will continue to have oversight of Jack Womack’s areas of Operations, Special Events and Newsource. He will also handle day to day financial planning, serving as CNN’s interface with sales, distribution and finance. Ken has been a key partner of mine from the day I got here, and I will continue to rely on his experience and institutional knowledge.

All of these moves are effective August 19th.

With all of these changes on the domestic side, I have asked Tony Maddox to focus his time and attention solely on our international operations. Tony will continue to manage CNN International, CNN en Español, and all of our international news gathering operations. I believe this full time attention on those aspects of the organization will further enhance our international operations. The Row will continue to report to Tony, as well.

On the HLN side, I have some other news. Next week, marks 22 years since Scot Safon came to Turner. He spent the first 11 at TNT, the last 11 at CNN. Recently, Scot approached me with the desire to take a well-deserved break, and to move on to the next phase of his career. I have enjoyed working with Scot, and I am truly sorry to see him go. But I do understand the desire to do something new. Scot will be with us through the end of August. Until a new leader of HLN is named, I have asked Ken Jautz to oversee HLN, in addition to his current CNN responsibilities. Scot’s direct reports, Katherine Green, Tim Mallon and Dean Sicoli, will report to Ken during this interim period.

Scot leaves HLN in a position of strength, enjoying some of its best ratings in years. That is a tribute to Scot, and all of the wonderful people at HLN, both on and off camera. Scot has been a terrific leader, and he will be missed.

We are in the midst of some exciting, transformative times. These moves will make us even stronger. Please join me in thanking Scot, and welcoming Andrew, Nancy and Courtney to CNN.

I hope you enjoy the remaining weeks of summer. It’s bound to be a very busy Fall.