David Zaslav Calls Fox News 'Much More of an Advocacy Network Than a News Network'

Discovery boss will soon oversee CNN as part of deal with WarnerMedia

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 16: President and CEO, Discovery, Inc. David Zaslav speaks onstage during the Discovery, Inc. TCA Winter Panel 2020 at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on January 16, 2020 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images for Discovery, Inc.)

Longtime Discovery chief David Zaslav, who will soon oversee CNN as part of his company’s merger with WarnerMedia, called his future competitor Fox News Channel “much more of an advocacy network than a news network” on Wednesday.

Zaslav was speaking at the Paley International Council Summit when he made the remarks, which were covered by several news outlets virtually attending the media event.

“I think Fox News is much more of an advocacy network than a news network,” Zaslav said, according to Washington Post media reporter Jeremy Barr. “Overall, I think we’d be better off if we just had news networks, but we don’t.”

Fox News positions itself as a conservative-leaning network, serving those on the political right. CNN, like MSNBC, serves liberal audiences. Those two tend to split viewers, and Fox News is regularly No. 1.

Barr also said Zaslav did “not give an answer” when asked about current CNN boss Jeff Zucker’s future at the soon-to-be combined company. Per Barr, Zaslav said he is waiting for the deal to close before discussing — or simply divulging — those types of plans. Same goes for Jason Kilar’s future, we presume.

The Discovery-WarnerMedia merger is expected to close in mid-2022.

And when asked about the future of cable, the former protector of the cable bundle acknowledged that the medium is “declining,” but believes it will still stick around “a lot longer than people think.”

See Barr’s tweets at the bottom of this post.

Last week, Discovery reported it had reached 20 million paying streaming subscribers worldwide by the end of September. The company did not break out Discovery+ numbers specifically, so this tally includes its other, much smaller SVOD platforms, but the majority of that 20 million figure is made up of Discovery+ numbers, per Discovery.

In comparison, WarnerMedia’s HBO and HBO Max topped 69 million worldwide customers combined at the conclusion of Q3, according to AT&T’s third-quarter earnings results, which were released late last month. Domestically, HBO Max and HBO have a combined 45.2 million subscribers.

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