Christopher Andrew Licht was born on October 22, 1971, in Newtown, Connecticut.
His parents are Susan Mary (Kneeland) and Dr. Peter David Licht.
He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and political science from Syracuse University’s S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in 1993.
In 2014, one of the TV news control rooms at Syracuse’s Dick Clark Studios and Alan Gerry Center for Media Innovation was named in his honor.
Licht started his career in Los Angeles at KNBC around the time of the O.J. Simpson trial.
He also worked with local NBC affiliates in LA and San Francisco markets. He joined MSNBC in 2005 and was the executive producer for Scarborough Country.
Later he became the founding executive producer of Morning Joe, which he helped create along with host Joe Scarborough before its launch in 2007.
In 2011, Licht joined CBS as the vice president of programming at CBS News. In 2012, he became the executive producer of CBS This Morning.
He joined The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in 2016 as the executive producer. He is known for making CBS This Morning successful by allowing the show’s hosts, Gayle King, Charlie Rose, and Norah O’Donnell, to talk freely about news events and about themselves.
As the showrunner and executive producer of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, he improved management issues that host Stephen Colbert previously handled, shortened the opening credits, and added a comedy sketch immediately before them.
After Jeff Zucker’s resignation, Licht was named the chairman and CEO of CNN on February 26, 2022. On his first day, he sent a memo to all employees saying that CNN should be a beacon in regaining trust in the news media.
Licht has expressed a desire to change negative perceptions of CNN among Republicans.
One such method involves limiting CNN’s use of the term “breaking news” to stories that have significant importance.
Licht received criticism as CNN terminated the contracts of several long-time correspondents in late 2022, including Brian Stelter, John Harwood, and Jeffrey Toobin.
The Washington Post described the move as the latest evidence of a shift to a less politically charged tone under new leader Chris Licht.
While serving as the executive producer of CBS This Morning, the show won a Peabody Award and three Emmy Awards. He was also co-nominated for three Emmy Awards in 2015.
The series won an Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Journalism in a Regularly Scheduled Newscast for a story on fraud at compounding pharmacies, which he co-executive produced with Steve Capus.
On April 28, 2010, Licht suffered a near-fatal cerebral hemorrhage while driving in Washington, D.C.
He later wrote a book about his experience, What I Learned When I Almost Died: How a Maniac TV Producer Put Down His BlackBerry and Started to Live His Life, which was published in 2011.
Joe Biden, the then vice-president and a survivor of an aneurysm himself, called Dr. Vivek Deshmukh, a highly recommended neurosurgeon, to ensure Licht received the best care possible.