CNN To Face Historically Low Ratings And Layoffs By End Of 2022: Report

(Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
Font Size:

CNN is reportedly on track to face massive layoffs and historically low ratings by the end of CEO Chris Licht’s first year of running the network.

Licht replaced former CNN CEO Jeff Zucker in April amid the network’s parent company’s merger with Warner Bros. Discovery. During his first year in the position, Licht has witnessed major financial struggles and staffing issues for the upcoming new year, according to several reports.

The network’s profit is set to drop below $1 billion for the first time since 2016 with the rise of digital subscriptions, CNBC reported in October, citing a business review. The drop in profitability led Licht to release a memo in October announcing the upcoming layoffs that will “affect people, budgets, and projects.”

“There is widespread concern over the global economic outlook, and we must factor that risk into our long-term planning,” Licht reportedly wrote. “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.”

The memo came after Licht said he would not cut the current job numbers, Fox News reported. The employment cuts are expected to occur in early December after being tasked by Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav with making $100 million in job cuts in an effort to balance the budget, according to Fox News. Licht reportedly has a list of staffers who are slated to be on the chopping block.

A CNN spokesperson reportedly said in June that Licht would reassess the resources at the network, but employee layoffs were not on the horizon, the outlet reported. The individual praised the network’s head for making a responsible decision in connection to the company’s new financial situation.

“The Zucker era was like the roaring 20s, people were spending money hand over fist,” the person said, according to Fox News. “There is a lot of fat. It sucks, but these layoffs are probably necessary.”

The network’s ratings have also been underwater in 2022, trailing behind both its major competitors, Fox News and MSNBC, the outlet reported. The network is heading toward its lowest-rated year among the 25-54 demographic since ratings began being tracked in 1992, according to the outlet.

The program’s election coverage, which has traditionally had skyrocketing views, plummeted in comparison to the other two networks. CNN appointed anchor Jake Tapper to cover the midterm elections between Oct. 10 and Nov. 11. (RELATED: Two More CNN Employees Depart The Network)

Zaslav has reportedly told Licht he is primarily concerned with shifting away from the network’s left-leaning bias rather than its ratings.

Some of the network’s main anchors, including former “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter and former White House correspondent John Harwood, have departed the network amid Licht’s efforts to adopt a more bipartisan tone. He has also eliminated the programs “New Day” and “Don Lemon Tonight,” and assigned Don Lemon on the new morning program “CNN This Morning” alongside former Daily Caller reporter Kaitlan Collins and anchor Poppy Harlow.

Nicole Silverio

Follow Nicole Silverio on Twitter @NicoleMSilverio