CNN lays off producers in reorganization move

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CNNCNN has laid off top producers from its entertainment group, TheWrap has learned. “They include longtime executive producer Karen Bonsignore and part of her team including Jennifer Wolfe, Doug Hyde, Denise Quan and KJ Matthews.”


According to TheWrap sources, the changes were part of a plan to restructure the network for more entertainment coverage.

On 11/5 we reported that CNN’s sister network HLN (Headline News) was preparing for “a significant amount of staff layoffs and show cancellations.”

According to that story, much of the network’s daytime programming is going to be replaced with more entertainment-themed shows. Those changes will lead to staffing changes as well. Apparently that now includes CNN.

CNN Worldwide chief Jeff Zucker reorganized HLN leadership this summer, letting go EVP Scot Safon. SpikeTV founder Albie Hecht was then brought in run the network. But ratings have yet to pick up on an overall basis.

The daily entertainment show “Showbiz Tonight” on sister network HLN was apparently not affected by the layoffs. On Monday, HLN announced that “Showbiz Tonight” will include three hours in weekdays, with a live one hour show at 6 p.m. and reruns at noon and 11 p.m. TVNewser reported HLN layoffs in LA, NY and Atlanta on Friday, with a dozen people let go, who would be replaced by new blood.

Network president Jeff Zucker has struggled to reposition CNN. The network reboot got off to a strong start with an injection of fresh on-air talent, new morning show “New Day” and the relaunch of “Crossfire,” but those shows are struggling in the ratings. On the week of 10/28, the network suffered its lowest primetime average ratings since Zucker took over in January.

See TheWrap story here.

RBR-TVBR observation: As audiences become less interested in relying on networks for their news and more on the internet, ratings must be garnered from other means. Zucker is on a mission to get ratings back on track and monetize that trend. Research is also showing that audiences are not trusting mainstream media news as in the past and abandoning evening broadcast network news programming. They, instead, flock to alternative media for the headlines—if they care to find them at all. Fox News seems to be bucking the trend.


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Carl has been with RBR-TVBR since 1997 and is currently Managing Director/Senior Editor. Residing in Northern Virginia, he covers the business of broadcasting, advertising, programming, new media and engineering. He’s also done a great deal of interviews for the company and handles our ever-growing stable of bylined columnists.