Chris Licht is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CNN Worldwide. He was named to the post in April 2022. Licht oversees all operations at the global network.
Most recently, Licht served as Executive Vice President of Special Programming at CBS, a position he held since May 2016. In that role, Licht consulted on various forms of content for divisions across the network. In addition to this role, Licht served as executive producer and showrunner for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” — the most-watched program in late night television since 2017. In 2021, “The Late Show” earned its first Peabody Award. It also won an Emmy Award for “Stephen Colbert’s Election Night 2020: Democracy’s Last Stand Building Back America Great Again Better 2020.”
Prior to transitioning to late night and scripted content, Licht spent more than 20 years in broadcast news, most recently as vice president of programming for CBS News and executive producer of the network’s critically acclaimed morning news program, “CBS This Morning,” which he helped launch in 2012.
Under Licht’s leadership, “CBS This Morning” became the network’s most successful morning broadcast in more than two decades. It delivered 50 consecutive months of ratings growth and generated CBS’s largest audience in that time period in 23 years during the fourth quarter of 2015. During Licht’s tenure as executive producer, “CBS This Morning” earned a Peabody Award, two News and Documentary Emmys and one Daytime Emmy. The broadcast and Licht were honored with an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award as part of CBS News’ division-wide coverage of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Licht’s hometown of Newtown, Connecticut.
Prior to CBS, Licht was the co-creator and original executive producer of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” He was at the helm as the show garnered critical acclaim for its interviews with newsmakers and perspective on top news stories. In addition to covering nearly every important news event, Licht led the show’s comprehensive on-location coverage of the 2008 election. Before “Morning Joe,” Licht was a senior producer and then executive producer of Joe Scarborough’s “Scarborough Country” on MSNBC.
Licht began his news career in 1995 at KNBC in Los Angeles, distinguishing himself as a skilled talent producer early on during the O.J. Simpson trial. During the next seven years at KNBC, he moved up to special projects producer, coordinated the station’s Olympics coverage and then produced the “Channel 4 News at 11.” In 2001, NBC moved Licht to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he played an integral role on the transition team during the network’s purchase of KNTV. Following the transition, he remained with the station as executive producer.
Licht’s experience as a creator and producer spans news, scripted, non-scripted, talk show and live programming on network, cable and streaming platforms. This includes the Emmy-nominated “Stephen Colbert Presents Tooning Out the News” (creator and executive producer), “Our Cartoon President” (creator and executive producer), “Tha God’s Honest Truth” (executive producer), “Fairview” (executive producer), the Hulu film “In & Of Itself” (co-producer), and the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards broadcast (producer).
In 2018, Licht was elected to serve on the Board of Representatives for the Producers Guild of America East. He also serves on the board of directors for The Second City as well as the leadership council for the Robin Hood charity organization.
Licht’s first book, What I Learned When I Almost Died, was published by Simon & Schuster in May 2011 and details how his near-death experience changed his outlook on life.
Licht graduated from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and political science. He is a member of the Newhouse Advisory Board.
Licht lives in New York with his wife, a former CNN producer, and their two sons.