CNN axes prominent talent as network cuts hundreds of jobs
CNN chief Chris Licht executed massive layoffs at the network on Thursday and announced that he was ending live programming on sister network HLN.
Licht gave pink slips to a number of notable correspondents and production staff, including editor-at-large Chris Cillizza.
In a memo shared with the employees, Licht said: “The changes we are making today are necessary and will make us stronger and better positioned to place big bets going forward without fear of failure.”
However, the move was criticised by many on social media as uncertainty and layoffs impact journalists’ livelihoods and mental health.
CNN also fired Alison Kosik, Alexandra Field, and Martin Savidge. Mary Anne Fox, the VP of northeast news, was also laid off.
The layoffs were expected to impact hundreds of employees but a CNN spokesperson allegedly refused to mention how many were let go.
Licht announced that he was also ending all live programming on HLN. This means that all HLN hosts will lose their jobs.
Licht said HLN will instead simulcast “CNN This Morning” and its crime programming will move under the purview of Kathleen Finch, a programming executive at the Warner Bros.
“I want to take a moment to thank Robin Meade — she is not only an exceptionally popular anchor, but also one of the longest-running morning hosts in history,” Licht wrote in his memo. “I know the HLN audience will miss her and the other HLN talent.”
Other changes at the network included CNN International “reorganising some of its teams and bureaus”.
Long time anchor Martin Savidge dismissed by CNN as network begins hundreds of layoffs, hitting expensive on-air talent first. pic.twitter.com/e4dXtVRYN9
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) December 1, 2022
Licht said, effective immediately, CNN International’s 5pm ET show “will be replaced by a simulcast of CNN US for that half hour”.
Some of the changes at the network, after Licht took over as the head of CNN, have already been implemented in the last few months, CNN Business reported on Thursday.
My heart always goes out to those affected by media layoffs, but Chris Cillizza, literally the dumbest reporter in all of media, was just fired from CNN.
— Brianna Wu (@BriannaWu) December 1, 2022
In his latest memo to the employees, Licht wrote: “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 enable us to innovate in the years ahead.”
I am saddened by this news, as I am grateful to have shared the screen with Robin Meade over the years. She is an incredible talent. >> HLN Gutted By CNN Layoffs https://t.co/LsXB6weUt9 via @variety
— G O L D I E. (@goldietaylor) December 1, 2022
He added: “At the highest level, the goal is to direct our resources to best serve and grow audiences for our core news programming and products. To achieve these goals, we will be reducing open job positions, reimagining our workflows and aligning our staffing, investments and focus around three key strategic priorities: programming, news gathering and digital.”
another rough day in the news business:
-NPR hiring freeze and a revenue shortfall
-WaPo killing its magazine and layoffs
unionize, stand strong, our only hope is solidarity ✊
— Brandon Carter (@brandonetc) November 30, 2022
Meanwhile, Jay Rosen, a professor of journalism at NYU and a keen media observer, told the Guardian last week that “Chris Licht believes that CNN devoted too much time to Trump coverage and politics, and in looking for short-term ratings CNN became over-dependent, like a sugar-high, on Trump, politics generally and punditry. A lot of people would agree with that”.