Fired CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, who was hoping to secure an $18 million lump sum payout following his departure last year, has been told to set his sights lower, with him unlikely to receive anything more than around $9million from the cable news network.
AT&T, CNN’s parent company, is said to be in negotiations to reach a deal that would see the fired anchor receive half of the $18 million he had been vying for before Jeff Zucker’s unexpected resignation Wednesday, as first reported by the New York Post.
The news of a possible settlement emerged as the CNN employee and lover who led to Zucker’s downfall, Allison Gollust, was seen arriving at her luxury Manhattan apartment late Thursday night looking distinctly sullen.
Gollust’s expression was a far cry from the happy mood she was in last November when she was photographed at a Billy Joel concert with Zucker by her side – and alleged to have forced the powerful media maven to ‘come forward’ and resign ‘not willingly.’
Sources say that Cuomo was planning to come forward with a lawsuit that would have detailed how Zucker and Gov. Andrew Cuomo had a far deeper relationship than had ever previously been explained.
One allegation suggests the disgraced governor received one-to-one media coaching for his popular pandemic press conferences from Zucker and his second-in-command, Gollust.
Cuomo may still refuse AT&T’s lowball offer and potentially file his suit, a source told the New York Post. A representative for Cuomo’s attorneys declined to comment.
He was forced out in December after he helped his brother, Andrew, deal with a sex scandal without being fully open as to the lengths he was going to his aid.
Chris was to looking to get paid out for the remainder of his contract, but Zucker was sticking firm and refusing, arguing that he brought the network into disrepute.
However, Zucker’s sudden exit after nine years as CNN’s leader means the goalposts have now shifted once again.
Zucker said he was leaving for violating corporate policy by not disclosing the nature of his relationship with Gollust, but he was reportedly given no choice by WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar, who characterized the change as his decision at a meeting with CNN Washington staff members on Wednesday night.
Zucker appeared to fall on his sword in the hopes of keeping a possible lawsuit by Cuomo from being made public, according to the New York Post.
It has since emerged that Cuomo was the one who raised the affair to executives. Cuomo’s attorneys are said to have told Kilar who then informed AT&T boss John Stankey.
Zucker was said to have been named numerous times in a draft version of the lawsuit that has not yet been filed.