Debt-laden Warner Bros. Discovery announced that the unit that programs its cable networks has been reorganized, eliminating some of its most senior programming executives.
Jane Latman, president of home & food content for HGTV and Food Network and Nancy Daniels, content leader for the former Turner networks, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Science Channel are leaving.
Also leaving are Matthew Butler, who oversaw content at Travel Channels and Scott Lewer, who oversees franchise series expansions and tentpole programming at the Discovery networks and the former Turner Networks.
In a staff memo Friday, Kathleen Finch, chairman and Chief Content Officer, U.S. Networks Group at Warner Bros Discovery explained the changes at the company, formed in April when Discovery acquired WarnerMedia, which had been spun off from AT&T, a deal that left the combined firm with about $50 billion in debt.
The move come as cord cutting has increased the financial squeeze on traditional cable networks and media companies shovel billions of dollars into streaming. Warner Bros. Discovery has been reorganizing–and eliminating positions–over the last few months.
“It’s become more clear that we need to make additional adjustments for the future as we evolve to a more streamlined operating model,” Finch said.
The new organization “will ultimately enable our business to run more effectively and collaboratively across all the brands and business functions while maintaining our robust culture of content creation and powerful storytelling,” she said. “Unfortunately, the changes required will include the elimination of some positions within our content teams and of some long time leaders who have been a big part of the company for many years.”
In the memo Finch said that with Latman gone, content executive Betsy Sanner Ayala will be responsible for content on Food and Loren Ruch will be responsible for HGTV.
Ayala and Ruch will report directly to Finch.
Daniels duties will pass to Howard Lee and Jason Sarlanis. Lee will oversee content for Discovery, Animal PLanet and Science Channel and continue to head TLC. Sarlanis, who oversees ID and crime content at HLN, will add TNT, TBS and TruTV to his responsibilities.
“While it is undoubtedly difficult to say goodbye to long-time colleagues and friends, the reorganization we are undertaking will ultimately enable our content teams to share resources, work more collaboratively across brands and genres, and maximize our ability to innovate and create during this dynamic time for our industry,” Finch said. “We intend to work quickly to put the new structure in place and to sync these groups effectively, so we ask for your continued patience as we make sure we’re doing things in a thoughtful way.” ■