CNN Chief Lets Go Of Hundreds Of Employees At Company, Guts Sister Network HLN: Reports
CANNES, FRANCE - JUNE 23: Chairman and CEO Chris Licht attends the Warner Bros. Discovery WBD at Cannes Lions 2022 on June 23, 2022 in Cannes, France.
Arnold Jerocki/Getty Images for Warner Bros. Discovery

CNN boss Chris Licht laid off numerous high profile employees at the left-wing news network this week and completely gutted its sister network HLN.

Licht cut all live programming on HLN and got rid of the network’s “Morning Express with Robin Meade” and “Weekend Express,” the New York Post reported.

Other top figures who were laid off include CNN reporters Alison Kosik, Martin Savidge, Alex Field, Mary Ann Fox, and Chris Cillizza, the report said.

CNBC added that the network let go of “hundreds of staffers” out of the network’s roughly 4,400 employees.

In memo to employees at the company, Licht said that the goal of the strategic review that led to the layoffs 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.”

The memo said that the network would focus on programming, news-gathering, and digital.

The broadscale changes that he announced included:

  • HLN: Beginning December 6, CNN will no longer produce live programming for HLN and instead will simulcast CNN This Morning. HLN Crime programming will move under the WBD Networks led by Kathleen Finch and will be merged with ID. I want to take a moment to thank Robin Meade — she is not only an exceptionally popular anchor, but also one of the longest-running morning hosts in history. I know the HLN audience will miss her and the other HLN talent.
  • CNN International: CNN International is reorganizing some of its teams and bureaus, and effective immediately, the 5:00-5:30pm ET show will be replaced by a simulcast of CNN US for that half hour.
  • CNN en Español: 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 throughout next year, we will look to develop a far more robust digital platform for CNNE with the aim of launching it in 2024. We believe that investment will better serve and significantly grow our Spanish-language news audience, and we will have more to share on that in 2023.
  • U.S. Newsgathering: We are restructuring across some of our beats, realigning resources to staff up in some units and in more areas around the country. This will help us deliver on our goal of covering the United States more broadly. Many of the staff reductions in Newsgathering will be offset by the addition of new roles to best serve our audience across platforms.
  • Contributors: We are also shifting our approach to paid contributors. In some areas, we will rely more on our CNN journalists. Overall, we will engage contributors who are subject-matter experts that expand and diversify the viewpoints we bring our audience.
  • Programming: Our programming teams will see some reductions in show staffs and, in some cases, the combination of teams for our dayside and weekend lineups.
  • Creative Marketing: The Creative Marketing team will see an overall reduction in size, realigning around in-house production and consolidating creative and strategy roles in New York. Roles will be added to both support that work and expand our digital and growth marketing efforts.
  • Research: Research is reorganizing to focus resources on CNN’s core businesses and to optimize our recently integrated Digital Analytics and Data Science teams.
  • Operations: The Operations teams are restructuring to align with the changes to other units across the organization.
  • CNN Digital: CNN Digital conducted an exercise earlier this fall to ensure they were best structured for the future. They made changes then and, as a result, there are no further impacts in this process.

Licht said that the changes were needed to make the company stronger and put it in a position to make big investments in the future without worrying about failure, which comes after the network had to cancel its streaming service CNN+ shortly after it launched.

“To our departing colleagues, I want to express my gratitude for your dedicated and tireless service and for your many contributions to CNN,” the memo concluded. “To all employees, I want to underscore the importance of taking the time you need to best be able to move forward. You can find resources to support you now here. I will be holding a town hall on Tuesday to answer your questions, which can be submitted anonymously here.”

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