Cable news giant CNN will be hit by layoffs Wednesday and Thursday, part of continued cost-cutting by parent company Warner Bros. Discovery, which is trying to integrate the legacy WarnerMedia businesses (like CNN) and the Discovery businesses.
In a memo Wednesday morning, CNN CEO Chris Licht wrote that the channel will inform paid contributors Wednesday as part of a new reporting strategy, with full-time employees being informed of their status on Thursday.
“It will be a difficult time for everyone,” Licht wrote.
“Our people are the heart and soul of this organization,” the executive added. “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.”
The cuts are not a surprise, with Licht warning employees in late October that the news division would be undergoing a restructuring, citing “widespread concern over the global economic outlook.”
But they do come amid decreasing morale at CNN, which has already seen significant turnover this year since the Discovery merger. One of the first moves made after the merger closed was to shut down the CNN+ streaming service, laying off a couple hundred employees in the process.
Since then, the company has also made cuts at CNN Digital, and saw a handful of high-profile on-air anchors and correspondents depart, including Brian Stelter and John Harwood. It has also begun to add new programming, most notably a new morning show led by Don Lemon, Poppy Harlow, and Kaitlan Collins.
That being said, the CNN layoffs come amid a wave of cost-cutting across the media industry, with TV news operations in particular buckling down for 2023.
Licht’s full memo is below.
November 30, 2022
To my CNN colleagues,
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.
Today we will notify a limited number of individuals, largely some of our paid contributors, as part of a recalibrated reporting strategy. Tomorrow, we will notify impacted employees, and tomorrow afternoon I will follow up with more details on these changes.
It will be a difficult time for everyone. If your job has been impacted, you will learn more through an in-person meeting or via Zoom, depending on your location. In those meetings, you will receive information specific to you about notice period or any severance that would apply, and your anticipated last day. I want to be clear that everyone who is bonus eligible will still receive their 2022 bonuses, which are determined by company performance.
I know these changes affect both our departing colleagues and those who remain, and we have resources designed to support you. I will include a link to those resources in my follow up email tomorrow.
Let’s take care of each other this week.