Warner Bros Discovery-owned CNN has executed sweeping layoffs as part of its cost-cutting strategy, according to a report. It has also implemented a series of changes that impacted multiple divisions across the news organisation, including ending live programming on HLN network, the company’s chief executive, Chris Licht, said in a memo to employees.
“The changes we are making today are necessary and will make us stronger and better positioned to place big bets going forward without fear of failure,” Licht wrote in his memo.
As per the CNN report, the layoffs, which started Wednesday and were expected to impact hundreds of employees, largely had been completed by Thursday afternoon. While the number of employees that were let go has not been disclosed, it is understood that the cuts targeted several areas of the company, including some on-air talent and members of management.
As far as the live programming on HLN is concerned, which ends on December 6, it is learnt that HLN will instead simulcast “CNN This Morning” and, Licht said, HLN’s crime programming will move under the purview of Kathleen Finch, a programming executive at Warner Bros. Discovery, CNN’s parent company.
Licht said that the network was also shifting its approach to paid contributors, after cutting from its stable of commentators on Wednesday, the report said. “In some areas, we will rely more on our CNN journalists,” Licht wrote.
“Overall, we will engage contributors who are subject-matter experts that expand and diversify the viewpoints we bring our audience,” he said.
Other changes, as per Licht, include CNN International “reorganizing some of its teams and bureaus.” Effective immediately, CNN International’s 5 pm ET show “will be replaced by a simulcast of CNN US for that half hour,” he added.
Meanwhile, CNN en Español, Licht said, will move to diversify its audience beyond news.
Licht also announced several other divisions were undergoing restructuring, including US newsgathering, operations, research, creative marketing, and programming.