Kathy Griffin Says She Was Fired From Co-Hosting CNN’s New Year’s Eve Show After Demanding Raise
Kathy Griffin says that when she asked for a pay raise ahead of CNN ’s 2016 New Year’s Eve show, CNN president Jeff Zucker denied it and then fired her — before eventually rehiring her following a 20 percent cut in her pay.
In a feature published by The New York Times , Griffin opened up about her attempt at pay negotiation, which quickly soured. Ten days before the network’s New Year’s Eve show, which Griffin was then co-hosting with Anderson Cooper, she says she reached out to the president of CNN, expressing that she was “carrying more of the prep work than Cooper.” As a result, she felt she should be paid more than the $80,000 she was then contracted for in 2016.
In response to the ask, Zucker “got very offended” and the conversation devolved into a shouting match.
“He started yelling at me and he literally said something like, ‘Who do you think you are calling here demanding a raise?’ And then something came over me. And I just lost it. I just started screaming. I’m Kathy [beep!] Griffin, Jeff, that’s who I am,” she recalled to the New York Times .
She eventually told him she would “feel a lot more comfortable showing up if I got paid what I deserve,” a statement that Zucker allegedly took as a threat to quit the show. Following their conversation, she says, the CNN president called Griffin’s lawyer and fired her.
But Griffin called Zucker back and begged for her old job, to which Zucker agreed but cut her pay by 20 percent, according to the comedian and actress. In response to Griffin’s statements, Zucker said that the now-former CNN host — whose reality series My Life on the D-List he greenlit while president and chief executive of Bravo’s parent company, NBCUniversal — was “completely out of line” with her ask being so close to the event.
“It sounds like she is acknowledging that, insofar as Kathy Griffin acknowledges she has ever done anything wrong,” Zucker told the New York Times.
The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to CNN for comment.