According to an internal memo obtained by Yahoo Finance, CNN CEO Chris Licht wrote to employees on Wednesday: “Our people are the heart and soul of this organization. It is incredibly hard to say goodbye to any one member of the CNN team, much less many.”
“I recently described this process as a gut punch, because I know that is how it feels for all of us,” he continued, adding: “It will be a difficult time for everyone.”
Licht wrote in the memo that CNN would notify affected employees and paid contributors over the next two days. He said would follow up with more details on the layoffs and changes on Thursday afternoon.
Warner Bros. Discovery recently laid off around 70 staffers working in sports across brands including Turner Sports, Bleacher Report, and studio operations in Atlanta. It slashed 14% of its HBO Max workforce earlier this summer.
So far, the company has eliminated a reported 1,000-plus jobs across units.
‘It looks messy, and it is messy’
Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav has been aggressive when it comes to streamlining the debt-ridden business, which officially merged in April 2022.
Since that time, though, the stock has plummeted more than 50% amid increased restructuring charges, macroeconomic challenges, further subscriber losses in linear television, and a slowdown in advertising.
Zaslav recently commented on the future of the struggling media giant, comparing the company’s merger challenges to painting a mural.
“We’re painting a mural on the side of a building, and all kinds of stuff is falling off,” Zaslav said in an interview with RBC Capital Markets analyst Kutgun Maral earlier this month. “It looks messy, and it is messy. It’s really hard and it’s really challenging.”ORDER A COPY OF ROB’S NEW BEST SELLING BOOK! Called “America’s Number ONE Gossip Columnist” by The National Enquirer. Rob ‘Naughty But Nice’ Shuter breaks celebrity news every day on his website NaughtyGossip.com where he delivers all the dish about the stars we love in his naughty but nice signature style. You can also catch him co-hosting and breaking celebrity news on Good Day New York, The Today Show, The Talk, Wendy Williams Show, CNN, Extra and Z100’s ‘Elvis Duran.’ Previously, Rob was the Huffington Post’s only celebrity columnist and the former executive editor of OK! Magazine. Rob has also hosted his own Saturday night talk show on Mark Cuban’s channel and his own daily morning show, ‘The Gossip Table,’ on VH1! Breaking some of the biggest entertainment stories, including Jamie Lynn Spears’s pregnancy news, Britney’s first post-meltdown interview, Eva Longoria’s wedding, and baby exclusives for Jessica Alba, Tori Spelling and Mathew McConaughey’s tots, Rob always knows where to find the best scoop. Before Rob was one of the world’s most successful entertainment reporters, he was a publicist working for Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, P. Diddy, Jessica Simpson and Jon Bon Jovi! Now he is bringing all this experience to his new show on I HEART MEDIA in his unique cheeky way, that is always a pinch and never a punch!
The executive went on to describe the economy as “weak” and the advertising market as “very weak” while recognizing the uncertainty heading into 2023.
“I can’t predict what will happen, but we’re in the process of really restructuring how we go — the cost structure of our company, the efficiency of our company, how we operate in this new environment,” he said, reiterating the company’s $12 billion earnings forecast for 2023.
While addressing recent headlines of slashed production budgets and shut-down projects, along with the removal of several titles from the HBO Max platform, Zaslav revealed HBO lost $3 billion last year after spending nearly $7 billion on content over that same time frame.
“We have the best IP in the world,” he asserted. “We need the best structure and we’ve got to spend money where it’s working.”
Zaslav doubled down on opportunities within the brand’s tentpole franchises, including the DC Universe.
“Part of our strategy is drive the hell out of DC,” the executive revealed, adding: “It’s one of the biggest opportunities at this company.”
Warner Bros. Television Studios CEO Channing Dungey teased on Wednesdaythe studio is currently in talks to close a major animation deal with Amazon (AMZN) for DC-branded content, further emphasizing that strategy.