CNN’s ratings reportedly sank to historically low levels in 2022 following mass layoffs and financial burdens throughout the year.
The network averaged a little over a half million viewers in a day, and slightly over 120,000 in the key 25-54-year-old advertiser demographic, Puck News reported Wednesday. The network’s profitability reportedly sank below $1 billion in 2022 for the first time since 2016 due to the rise of digital subscriptions. CNN’s total viewership on Jan. 10 was roughly 520,000, according to Adweek data published Jan. 11.
.@DylanByers: “In 2022, CNN averaged just over half a million viewers in total day, and just over 120,000 in the advertiser-relevant 25-to-54 year-old demo—its lowest-rated year in history.”
— Saagar Enjeti (@esaagar) January 12, 2023
CNN President Chris Licht took over the network’s leadership in May following the resignation of former CNN President Jeff Zucker. Since then, he has canceled several former programs, including CNN’s longest-running show hosted by former anchor Brian Stelter, “Reliable Sources,” in an effort to shift the network to more bipartisan coverage. (RELATED: CNN’s New Morning Show’s Debut Episode Sinks Under Water)
Several other prominent staffers, including former White House correspondent John Harwood, departed the network in Licht’s first year.
Licht crafted a new plan Wednesday to increase the network’s ratings by shifting anchors to time slots that typically get more views, according to Puck News. Anchors John Berman, Kate Bolduan and Sara Sidner will co-host a three-hour morning program from 9 a.m. to noon. Anchors Brianna Keilar, Jim Sciutto and Boris Sanchez will co-host a show from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and anchor John King will continue to host the noon hour program.
The network’s reported drop in profitability caused Licht to release an October memo warning employees of massive layoffs that would “affect people, budgets and projects.” David Zaslav, the CEO of CNN’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery, reportedly tasked Licht with making $100 million in job cuts to balance the network’s budget drop.
Licht made plans to lay off a massive pool of staff, most of whom were paid contributors, in early December.
“Our people are the heart and soul of this organization,” Licht wrote in an email before issuing the layoffs. “It is incredibly hard to say goodbye to any one member of the CNN team, much less many. 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.”