CNN Lays Off Hundreds of Staffers, Halts Live Programming on HLN
CNN on Thursday laid off hundreds of staffers and made other sweeping changes that CEO Chris Lictht admitted was a “gut punch” to the network. Among the biggest changes: All live programming on HLN will be halted starting on Dec. 6.
Licht singled out the work of Robin Meade, the “Morning Express” anchor who has been with HLN since 2001. In place of her show, CNN’s longtime sister channel will instead simulcast “CNN This Morning.” HLN crime programming will move under Warner Bros. Discovery Networks and will be led by Kathleen Finch as it merges with ID.
“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 a staff memo outlining the layoffs and restructuring the outlet is undergoing. “I know the HLN audience will miss her and the other HLN talent.”
CNN did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for clarification on if Meade will stay at the network following this change.
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Among other on-air talent that has been let go in the latest round of staff cuts is Chris Cillizza, Alison Kosik, Martin Savidge, Alexandra Field, and Sonia Moghe, according to CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy, who said that the number of layoffs was in the “hundreds.”
The change to HLN, which was once known as CNN Headline News, marks yet another shakeup at CNN since Licht took over the network in the spring, as the network undergoes layoffs and restructuring.
CNN International has also been impacted by the most recent changes, with the 5:00-5:30 p.m. ET show being replaced by a simulcast of CNN U.S. for that half hour, effective immediately.
Licht also mentioned some less tangible structural changes, including “restructuring across some of our beats, realigning resources to staff up in some units and in more areas around the country,” which the CEO says will help “deliver on our goal of covering the United States more broadly.”
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The head of the network also said CNN is “shifting our approach to paid contributors,” after some paid contributors were notified about whether they were impacted by the network’s layoffs Wednesday.
In a Wednesday morning memo Licht said full-time employees will be informed of their status on Thursday. He addressed departing colleagues in the Thursday memo, stating “I want to express my gratitude for your dedicated and tireless service and for your many contributions to CNN.”