OPINION | This article contains commentary that reflects the author's opinion.
Roughly 100 CNN employees were fired as the network cleans house. This is part of a “series of cuts” underway at CNN’s parent company as Warner Bros. merges with Discovery Inc.
The company is cutting $3 billion in costs, according to Bloomberg. The network has already shut down its online streaming platform, CNN+ just one month after its debut.
As promised by incoming CNN boss Chris Licht, the network is making significant changes and moving in a new direction — with less bias. Viewership has plummeted for the network as a growing number of people have criticized the network’s obvious bias and political agenda in its reporting.
Many of the fired employees were working in the network’s podcast space. A CNN spokesperson claims “audio remains an important area of focus,” but the network is learning about what topics and productions resonate with audiences.
“As a result, we’ve refined our strategy to focus our resources more specifically in those areas,” the CNN spokesperson said.
After eight long years, CNN finally canceled the “Don Lemon Tonight” show hosted by Don Lemon. Lemon is losing his prime-time show on weeknights and he’s been moved to a morning spot where he will co-anchor with two others, including Poppy Harlow and White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins.
Although morning shows can be popular, this change is certainly a massive demotion for Lemon who is losing his prime-time show in exchange for co-anchoring a morning slot.
This demotion for Lemon comes on the heels of CNN firing outspoken liberal host Brian Stelter.
Licht has signaled that he is making major waves against blatant bias, anti-Trump personalities like Stelter. Licht is demanding that the liberal network become less partisan and stir away from the angry years seen during the presidency of Donald Trump.
If both on-air personalities and their programming doesn’t comply, they could be fired. Three sources familiar with the matter confirmed to Axios that on-air talent needs to adjust to a less partisan tone and strategy. If not, they could be ousted.
Licht reportedly wants to feature more personalities that are less polarizing. This approach is much different than former CNN president Jeff Zucker.
Zucker was accused of programming that engaged in disrespectful interviews and “PR stunts.” Under Zucker, producers and bookers focused less on nuance and mostly on noise.
Numerous employees are beginning to share their experiences online by posting on Twitter. One employee, Alexander McCall, said that he and his colleagues were told CNN will produce fewer podcasts next year.
“It’s just a bummer to watch companies pull the plug on or disinvest from business units that are so young,” McCall tweeted. “Especially when you’ve seen firsthand the work of so many people to make it profitable.”