The incredibly-shrinking CNN is about to get smaller, according to the new chairman and CEO of the leftist news outlet. Chris Licht confirmed this news to a company “town hall” meeting on Tuesday in front of scores of nervous employees.
Despite his earlier assurances that mass layoffs would not happen, the network is about to part ways with numerous “non-essential” staffers.
He told workers that he was speaking honestly in June when he said CNN would not be forced to fire people. Licht did not apologize Tuesday for the change of heart.
It is a role he is getting used to. Licht presided over the shutdown of the ill-conceived CNN+ and its $300 million investment. Network veterans such as Brian Stelter, Jeffrey Toobin, and John Harwood have also been shown the door during his brief tenure.
His prior and pending moves follow the pattern of major legacy media outlets such as ABC News, CBS News, and NBCUniversal. All are making cuts as their viewership and revenue dwindles.
Licht warned of this happening upon his hiring. ABC and NBC will be making cuts as well. https://t.co/w8Y6SJuJYX
— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) November 16, 2022
Those present at the town hall confirmed that Licht did not specify who was subject to the layoffs. He did, however, note that network teams not considered essential to the “core mission” were in danger.
It was only June when the new leader told staff that “a layoff is a downsizing, where you are given a target.” He added that this was not coming to CNN.
That changed by October when his memo went out saying that changes affecting “people, budgets, and projects” were on the horizon. He warned that there would be a “noticeable change to this organization.”
The new CEO cited worries over the “global economic outlook” and how it affected CNN’s “long-term planning.”
During the meeting, Licht assured workers that there were no plans for layoffs past those coming in December. He has reportedly been tasked with cutting $100 million from the network’s budget.
Parent company Warner Bros. Discovery also plans to lay off 1,000 employees by year’s end.
One CNN staffer, who said they’d been with the company for 20 years, told the meeting that they’d never seen morale at a lower point than now.