Licht sent a memo to all employees Thursday afternoon after the news was delivered to employees, including longtime HLN anchor Robin Mead and a reporter Chris Silica. Licht wrote in the memo that he will hold a town hall next week to answer any questions.
Licht’s layoffs are part of a larger effort by Warner Bros. Discovery, CNN’s parent company, to cut costs by 2023
December 1, 2022
To my colleagues at CNN,
As promised in my note yesterday, I’m following up with an overview of the changes we’ve made across the company. Our goal throughout the strategic review process was to better align our people, processes and resources with our future priorities, strengthen our ability to deliver on CNN’s core journalistic mission, and enable us to innovate in the years ahead. At the highest level, the goal is to direct our resources to best serve and grow audiences for our core news programs and products.
To achieve these goals, we will reduce vacancies, rethink our workflows and align our staff, investments and focus around three key strategic priorities: programming, newsgathering and digital. All solutions are designed to strengthen the core of our business.
While it’s not possible to capture every affected role in an email like this, I want to review the broader changes we’re making:
As of December 6, CNN will no longer produce live programming for HLN and will instead simulcast CNN This Morning. HLN Crime programming will move to WBD Networks, led by Kathleen Finch, and will be merged with ID. I want to take a moment to thank Robin Mead – she is not only a hugely popular presenter, but also one of the longest-serving morning hosts in history. I know the HLN audience will miss her and the other HLN talent.
CNN International is reorganizing some of its teams and bureaus, and effective immediately, the 5:00-5:30 PM ET broadcast will be replaced by a CNN US simulcast for that half hour.
CNN in Spanish
CNNE’s linear network will seek to expand its audience by diversifying the network’s programming beyond news. We will continue to produce news for CNNE and over the next year we will aim to develop a much more robust digital platform for CNNE with the goal of launching in 2024. We believe the investment will better serve and greatly expand our Spanish language news audience and we’ll have more to share about it in 2023.
We are restructuring some of our rhythms, reallocating resources to staff in some units and in more areas across the country. This will help us achieve our goal of expanding across the United States. Many of the staff cuts at Newsgathering will be offset by the addition of new roles to best serve our audience across platforms.
We’re also changing our approach to paid contributors. In some areas, we will rely more on our CNN journalists. We will generally engage contributors who are subject matter experts who broaden and diversify the perspectives we offer our audience.
Our programming teams will see some reductions in show staff and, in some cases, in the mix of crews for our daytime and weekend lineups.
The Creative Marketing team will see an overall downsizing, realignment around in-house production and consolidation of creative and strategy roles in New York. The roles will be added to both support the work and expand our digital and marketing efforts for growth.
Research is being reorganized to focus resources on CNN’s core business and optimize our newly integrated digital analytics and data science teams.
Operations teams are being restructured to align with changes elsewhere in the organization.
CNN Digital conducted an exercise earlier this fall to ensure they are best structured for the future. Then they made changes and as a result there are no other impacts in this process.
The changes we are making today are necessary and will make us stronger and better positioned to make big bets without fear of failure.
To our departing colleagues, I want to express my gratitude for your dedicated and tireless service and your many contributions to CNN. For all employees, I want to emphasize the importance of taking the time you need to best move forward. You can find resources to support you now here. I’ll be holding a town hall on Tuesday to answer your questions, which can be submitted anonymously here.
I am proud of this CNN team, and together we will ensure that CNN continues to be the world’s most important source of news and information.