CNN plans to make noticeable changes that will “affect people, budgets, and projects” before end of 2022, according to CEO Chris Licht.
Licht sent an internal memo to staffers, which has been obtained by Fox News Digital, that didn’t mention the dreaded “layoffs” word but strongly hinted at cost-cutting measures would occur in the near future.
“I have spent the last six months meeting so many of you and diving deep into every corner of the company to understand how you do the incredible work CNN produces every day, how we’re structured, and defining our top priorities. As many of you know, I have also spent much of that time doing formal business reviews with senior staff to identify areas where we should make changes, investments, and reductions to match our future priorities,” Licht wrote.
Licht, who took control of CNN earlier this year following a long-planned merger that put the network under the control of Warner Bros. Discovery, noted changes that have already been made on his watch. CNN has “restructured” it’s digital team, combined newsgathering operations across digital and linear and announced plans to shake up morning and primetime programming lineups.
“We have also begun to reduce or eliminate areas that aren’t core to our mission. All these moves are designed to keep CNN essential across platforms to ensure that wherever and however people get their news, they must have CNN,” Licht wrote. “There is a lot more to be done. I am writing to you today to say that over the next several weeks, that work will accelerate. There is widespread concern over the global economic outlook, and we must factor that risk into our long-term planning. All this together will mean noticeable change to this organization. That, by definition, is unsettling. These changes will not be easy because they will affect people, budgets, and projects.”
Licht said the moves will be “strategic,” and will “minimize the impact on our core newsgathering operation and Digital,” which have already seen changes since he took control off the network.
“Our aim is to have most of these decisions made by the end of the year, so we can start 2023 feeling settled and prepared for the future. We will send updates as I have them, and I plan to hold town hall meetings in both November and December,” Licht said. “When we emerge on the other side, CNN will be a stronger, more nimble organization, ready to weather whatever the global economy throws at us and to grow into the future.”
CNN declined additional comment.
Licht was named to the gig earlier this year shortly after the wrenching departure of Jeff Zucker, whose tenure saw CNN take a leftward lurch in its coverage and become known for its mutual antagonism with Donald Trump and his supporters.
Since Licht took over, CNN has pulled the plug on its short-lived streaming service, CNN+, and parted ways with left-wing media pundit Brian Stelter, among other moves such as moving polarizing host Don Lemon from primetime to the mornings.