CNN’s new boss, Chris Licht, announced this week that more layoffs are soon to come at the struggling news network as Licht works to cut upwards of $100 million from the network’s budget, RadarOnline.com has learned.
The surprising new development came on Wednesday during a tense town hall between the 51-year-old CEO and his staffers.
Although Licht did not provide specifics when Alisyn Camerota – the town hall’s moderator – asked who would be getting the axe, Licht did reveal those who are not part of CNN’s “core mission” are likely to be let go.
Licht also revealed the next round of layoffs are scheduled to come as soon as early December.
“There are huge nerves about that,” one CNN insider said regarding Licht’s Wednesday announcement, according to the New York Post.
“It wasn’t clear from that town hall who they’re going to fire,” the network insider added. “We’re waiting for answers on that.”
The town hall reportedly grew more heated after Camerota questioned Licht over whether the upcoming layoffs are a result of the influence David Zaslav – who serves as CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, the network’s parent company – has over CNN.
“I own the vision for this place,” Licht quickly responded. “I did not take this job to take dictation from anybody.”
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As RadarOnline.com previously reported, Licht’s announcement on Wednesday came just weeks after the new CNN chairman issued a memo warning staffers of upcoming “changes” being made to the network’s “people, budgets, and projects.”
“There is widespread concern over the global economic outlook, and we must factor that risk into our long-term planning,” Licht wrote in October.
“All this together will mean noticeable change to this organization. That, by definition, is unsettling,” he continued. “These changes will not be easy because they will affect people, budgets, and projects.”
Other reports suggested the upcoming round of layoffs are a result of Zaslav’s order for Licht to cut $100 million from CNN’s budget, and it comes as Zaslav himself it set to cut upwards of 1,000 of his 40,000 workers at Warner Bros. Discovery by the end of year.
Licht’s announcement on Wednesday, as well as his memo in October, came in stark contrast to an announcement he made in June in which he said “no layoffs” were taking place at CNN.
“As it relates to CNN, there are no layoffs per se,” he said during a staff-wide event at the time. “A layoff is a downsizing, where you are given a target, and that is not happening at CNN.”