CNN’s Chris Licht’s dirty work is over — for now.
The left-leaning news network’s new CEO cut hundreds of jobs Thursday in an effort to shore up costs and transform the struggling cable news network.
Before Thursday’s bloodshed, CNN had about 4,400 employees. The layoffs affected hundreds of employees, but amounted to a “single-digit percentage” of employees, according to a source familiar with the matter. This means that more than 440 employees have not been issued pink slips.
A source close to the situation said Licht’s brutal cuts are now over.
Until this week, CNN executives were discussing a $100 million cut. CNN did not comment on whether they hit that number.
According to The Post, Licht has appeared on HLN’s Morning Express with Robin Mead and Weekend Express, as well as CNN’s Alison Kosik, Martin Savidge, Alex Field, Mary Ann Fox and Chris Cillizza. He also targeted staff working on long-form stories, as well as paid contributors.
“During our strategic review, our goal 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 allow us to innovate in the years ahead,” Licht wrote in a memo. employees Thursday.
“At the highest level, our goal is to focus our resources on providing the best service and growing audiences for our core news programs and products,” he said.
Licht is also expected to reveal details of the new daytime lineup for CNN in the coming days, as sources wonder about the future of high-paid anchors Briana Keiler, John Berman, Chris Wallace, Kasie Hunt and Audie Cornish.
A source with knowledge said those anchors aren’t in the chopper, but could find homes in open programming spots.
Licht confirmed that starting Dec. 6, CNN will no longer produce live programming for HLN, officially known as Headline News, and will instead simulcast “CNN This Morning,” hosted by Don Lemon. As a result, HLN’s Meade was let go.
HLN’s crime programming will now operate under Kathleen Finch’s WBD Networks and will be merged with the ID cable channel.
Although Licht has let go of the ax for the time being, he faces enormous challenges. CNN is trailing rivals MSNBC and Fox News in total viewers this year, according to Nielsen television ratings data. That alone has weighed on CNN’s finances, pushing profitability below $1 billion for the first time since 2016, S&P Market Intelligence recently reported.
In addition to ratings, Licht needs to rebuild the daytime and primetime lineup and fill CNN’s important 9 p.m. slot, which remains open after the firing of disgraced anchor Chris Cuomo, in late 2021.
In addition, CNN’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery is committed to raising at least $3 billion by 2024 after buying the assets of the company formerly known as WarnerMedia from AT&T.
Warner Bros., which owns HBO Max, Hollywood studio Warner Bros. and HGTV. Discovery said in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it would have to spend between $1 billion and $1.5 billion to cancel and pay for programs it had already launched. severance packages.
The media conglomerate also said it expects to take a potential write-off of more than $4 billion in pre-tax charges through 2022.