Chris Licht Warns Employees Of Upcoming Layoffs At CNN

(Photo by Arnold Jerocki/Getty Images for Warner Bros. Discovery)

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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CNN CEO Chris Licht informed staff in a Wednesday email that layoffs will be underway in the coming days, according to a screenshot of the message posted by Oliver Darcy, a senior media reporter at the outlet.

The network’s executives are set to notify a pool of staff, mostly paid contributors, about the end of their employment at the company, according to the email. Licht described these staffing changes as a “gut punch” to the network, as CNN has reportedly faced historically low profits and ratings throughout 2022.

“Our people are the heart and soul of this organization. It is incredibly hard to say goodbye to any one member of the CNN team, much less many,” according to the email. “I recently described this process as a gut punch, because I know how it feels for all of us. Today we will notify a limited number of individuals, largely some of our paid contributors, as part of a recalibrated reporting strategy. Tomorrow, we will notify impacted employees, and tomorrow afternoon I will follow up with more details on these changes.”

Licht said each impacted employee will receive further details individually about their anticipated last day, as well as information about a notice period and severance if applicable, according to the email. He assured employees that all those eligible for a 2022 bonus will receive it.

“I know these changes affect both our departing colleagues and those who remain, and we have resources designed to support you,” the email continued. “I will include a link to those resources in my follow up email tomorrow. Let’s take care of each other this week.” (RELATED: Chris Licht Says Would ‘Absolutely Not’ Rehire Chris Cuomo To CNN)

Licht has faced major financial struggles at the network since he replaced former CEO Jeff Zucker following the latter’s resignation in February. The network’s profit is set to drop below $1 billion for the first time since 2016 with the rise of streaming services, CNBC reported in October.

The economic drop led Licht to prepare for layoffs in an October memo, where he warned of network changes that will “affect people, budgets, and projects,” according to CNBC. CNN’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery, has tasked Licht with making nearly $100 million in job cuts in an effort to balance the budget.

The network is also on track to witness its lowest-rated year among the key 25-54 age demographic since ratings tracking began in 1992, Fox News reported earlier in November. CNN’s Election Day coverage ratings, which have historically flourished, largely trailed behind Fox News and MSNBC in 2022.

CNN’s president has made several major changes to the network in an effort to shift away from left-leaning coverage. Brian Stelter, who hosted CNN’s longest-running program, “Reliable Sources,” departed the network following the August cancellation of the show. Former White House correspondent John Harwood, known for openly bashing former President Donald Trump and Republicans, also suddenly left the network in September.

Nicole Silverio

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