When CBS News decided to blow up its morning show again, Chris
Licht was the guy they tapped to put all the new pieces in place.
Licht made a name for himself as cocreator and executive producer of
MSNBC’s Morning Joe, which reinvented the format of traditional news
shows with its on-the-fly format. At CBS, he is looking to build the next
destination for smart TV with the relaunched CBS This Morning.
Having Licht executive-produce the broadcast was not CBS News’
original plan, but the 40-year-old exec prefers to have control over the
product that will ultimately determine his success on the job.
“If I’m going to be tasked with remaking this morning show, why put
someone in the middle? Ultimately it’s going to be up to me,” he says.
With the other half of his dual role as VP of programming, Licht has his hand in developing all future
programming at CBS News, though he is mum on what those projects are for now.
“I think this division is going to start doing some really interesting things that will " t perfectly into the
other half of my job,” he says. “And that’s going to be when it really starts to be fun.”
Licht sees himself keeping the dual producer/executive role for a while, though he notes the balance of
it will change when the broadcast is in steadier ratings territory. For now, This Morning has not moved the
ratings needle much from The Early Show it replaced, which Licht admits is a source of impatience for a
broadcast he’s “really proud of.”
“From CBS’ standpoint, there is a patience: Do a good broadcast and people will find it,” he says. “I’m
very impatient. I don’t understand why everyone isn’t watching it.”
One year into his tenure at CBS News, Licht is still a producer at heart, calling it “the most fun part of
my day,” though being a part of the CBS News senior management team has exceeded his expectations
and opened him up to taking on yet more responsibility. “I would love to do just about anything in this
news division,” he says. “Would I want to go run another network? I don’t know. But here, I can’t think of
anything they would throw my way that I wouldn’t want to do.”