Licht sent a memo to all staff Thursday afternoon after the message broke to staff, including longtime HLN host Robin Meade and reporter Chris Cillizza. Licht wrote in the memo that he will be holding a town hall next week to answer any questions.
Licht’s cuts are part of a broader effort at Warner Bros. Discovery, CNN’s parent company, to cut costs through 2023.
December 1, 2022
To my CNN colleagues,
As promised in my note yesterday, I follow with an overview of the changes we’ve made across the organization. Our goal throughout the strategic review process has been to better align our people, processes and resources with our future priorities, strengthen our ability to deliver on CNN’s core journalistic mission, and position ourselves to innovate for years to come be. At the highest level, the goal is to deploy our resources to best serve and grow audiences for our core news programs and products.
To achieve these goals, we will reduce vacancies, redesign our workflows, and align our staffing, investments and focus on three key strategic priorities: programming, news gathering and digital. All decisions are aimed at strengthening the core of our business.
While it’s not possible to capture every impacted role in an email like this, I’d like to address the broader changes we’re making:
Beginning December 6, CNN will no longer produce live programming for HLN and will instead simulcast CNN This Morning. HLN crime programs are moved under the WBD networks headed by Kathleen Finch and merged with ID. I want to take a moment to say thank you to Robin Meade – not only is she an immensely popular anchor, but also one of the longest-running morning anchors in history. I know HLN audiences will miss her and the other HLN talents.
CNN International is reorganizing some of its teams and offices, and effective immediately, the 5:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET broadcast will be replaced with 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 try to develop a far more robust digital platform for CNNE with the aim of launching it in 2024. We believe that investments will better serve our Spanish language and significantly expand its news audience, and we will have more to share about that in 2023.
US News Collection
We’re reorganizing some of our beats and reallocating resources to increase staffing in some units and in additional areas across the country. This will help us achieve our goal of broader coverage of the United States. Many of the staff cuts at Newsgathering are offset by the addition of new roles to best serve our audience across platforms.
We’re 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 who will expand and diversify the perspectives we bring to our audiences.
Our programming teams will experience some reduction in show staff and in some cases combining teams for our daily and weekend lineups.
The overall creative marketing team is downsized, realigned around in-house production, and consolidating creative and strategic roles in New York. Roles will be added to support this work and expand our digital and growth marketing efforts.
Research is reorganizing to focus resources on CNN’s core businesses and streamline our recently integrated digital analytics and data science teams.
Operations teams are being restructured to align with changes in other units across the organization.
CNN Digital conducted an exercise earlier this fall to ensure they are optimally structured for the future. You then made changes and as a result there is no further impact on this process.
The changes we are making today are necessary and will make us stronger and better positioned to place big bets without fear of failure.
I would like to express my gratitude to our departing colleagues for their dedicated and tireless service and for their many contributions to CNN. To all employees, I would like to emphasize the importance of taking the time it takes to best advance. Find resources to support you now. I will be holding a town hall on Tuesday to answer your questions, which can be submitted anonymously here.
I’m proud of this CNN team, and together we will ensure that CNN remains the world’s premier source of news and information.