Amid its continued TV ratings slump and under new management, CNN has undergone some major changes over the course of the year so far, and the hits just keep on coming.
A recent report indicated that CNN just laid off 20 staffers on Wednesday who were the final remnant of the network’s failed CNN+ streaming service that got axed months ago, according to the Washington Examiner.
Just days earlier, CNN had also laid off several staffers in its audio and podcast division, and those layoffs followed an announced shakeup of the network’s daytime and primetime lineups as well as the firing of a handful of highly partisan on-air personalities — which fit the stated goal of new CEO Chris Licht to transform CNN back into a straight news network from the Democrat-aligned partisan propaganda outfit it has been for many years.
Final remnants of CNN+ get the ax
The Daily Beast reported Wednesday that it had confirmed that CNN had laid off around 20 staffers who had been connected to the failed CNN+ streaming venture by way of a jointly launched project called the Interview Club.
The Interview Club was intended to “allow subscribers to drive the conversation and be part of the story” and “connect directly with anchors, experts and special guests in live, interactive conversations.”
Unfortunately for those staffers, management has decided not to move forward with the project, and though those staffers were given their pink slips, they were reportedly told that they were free to re-apply for employment at CNN in any of the network’s other open positions.
“Leadership has spent the past several months evaluating our business to ensure it is best positioned for the future,” a CNN spokesperson said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “As part of that exercise, we will stop doing some things and start doing others. CNN has opened more than 300 new jobs since May and will continue to align our resources with our greatest opportunities for growth.”
Some of those laid-off staffers, however, were said to feel as though they’d been “strung along” and led to believe that they would be transferred to other projects at the network instead of being let go, according to “two CNN insiders,” The Daily Beast reported.
Layoffs in CNN’s audio and podcast division
Meanwhile, on the same day as those layoffs, the New York Post reported that it had confirmed reports from days earlier that CNN had also laid off a “small number” of staffers, reportedly around eight of them, who were largely involved in the network’s audio and podcast division, though a few were also said to be from the editorial and sales divisions.
“Audio is an important growth area for the company,” a CNN spokesperson told The Post of those particular layoffs. “Over the last several years we’ve learned a lot about the topics and productions that most resonate with our audiences. As a result, we’ve refined our strategy to focus our resources more specifically in those areas.”
The Post further noted that, according to the network, no changes have been made to CNN’s current slate of podcasts. Left unsaid, however, is what the layoffs foretell about the future of the current podcast lineup and the apparent unlikelihood of any new podcasts.
All of this, again, appears to align with new CEO Licht’s efforts to fundamentally transform CNN into what it once used to be — a widely respected and trusted source of domestic and international news that went heavy on straightforward facts and light on partisan opinion.