Warner Bros. Discovery Set For More TV Layoffs This Summer
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros. Discovery is set to undergo another round of layoffs in its television business.
Deadline understands that the company is expected to cut some roles in its cable TV business, which includes the Discovery-branded cable networks.
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It’s been described as “pockets of refinement” rather than wholesale cuts and sources have told Deadline that cable staffers have been bracing themselves over the last couple of weeks.
The timing is yet to be confirmed. Sources originally told Deadline that the cuts were expected over the next few weeks, but it’s more likely later this summer.
Warner Bros. Discovery operates cable networks including Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Science Channel and Animal Planet as well as the former Scripps networks such as Food Network and HGTV. It also operates the former Turner-branded networks such as TNT, TBS and truTV.
The division is run by Chairman and Chief Content Officer, US Networks Group Kathleen Finch.
In February, at a Deadline-moderated keynote at the Realscreen conference in Austin, Texas, Finch was candid about the challenges of merging the businesses, which she called “tough”.
“When you go through a merger, you do sort of figure out how many layers we need. How much staff do we need? I’m not really running these networks as 30 individual teams, they’re clustered together, they’re put together with leaders at the top who really live and breathe that content,” she said. “That’s not to say that the people that we lost aren’t amazing people, they are, we just had to have a restructure that has less people doing the jobs.
Earlier this year, CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels said “we’re done with that chapter” of cuts, which also included axing a number of series and movies and it was “able to turn the page forward”.
However, the challenges of merging two major companies – Warner Bros. and Discovery – over the last 12 months has meant there’s still pockets where it needs to make changes.
It comes after a handful of layoffs were made out of Warner Bros. Discovery’s sports division last week. The unit, which is run by Luis Silberwasser, saw around 50 roles cut including in its digital sports department.
Last year, Warner Bros. Television cut around a quarter of its workforce and before that the HBO/HBO Max programming operation laid off 14% of staff – around 70 people – largely on the Max side including in its non-fiction originals team and international. There were also cuts at CNN in 2022 as well as in its ad sale division.
Warner Bros. Discovery is not alone in making cuts this year.
Earlier this month, Paramount cuts 25% of staff across Chris McCarthy’s domestic team, which includes the recently combined Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios and Paramount Media Networks.
Last month, Disney initiated the second and largest round of planned layoffs, with more expected later this summer, as it looks to cut 7,000 roles. NBCUniversal also experienced scattered layoffs in select divisions earlier this year.
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