CNN began a long-expected round of layoffs on Wednesday as president Chris Licht and other executives at WarnerBros. Discovery trim costs at the struggling cable news network.

Licht informed CNN employees of the cuts in a memo and acknowledged “it will be a difficult time for everyone” at the company.

“It is incredibly hard to say goodbye to any one member of the CNN team, much less many. I recently described this process as a gut punch, because I know that is how it feels for all of us,” Licht said in the memo, which was shared on Twitter by CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy.

Licht said the pink slips would begin with “a limited number of individuals, largely some of our paid contributors” as part of a “recalibrated reporting strategy.”

The company will begin notifying other impacted employees on Thursday, with additional details from Licht on CNN’s next steps to follow by that afternoon.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many of CNN’s roughly 4,000 employees worldwide are being chopped.

Chris Licht statement
Licht acknowledged in the memo “it will be a difficult time for everyone” at the company.

Chris Licht
CNN’s Chris Licht has warned for weeks that layoffs were coming.

CNN headquarters in Georgia
CNN will begin notifying other impacted employees on Thursday.

The Post has reached out to CNN for comment.

The cuts have been widely expected since Licht took over for ousted CNN boss Jeff Zucker this year. So far, Licht has cut ties with longtime network mainstay Brian Stelter and shifted Don Lemon to co-host CNN’s revamped morning show.

WarnerBros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav is aiming to slash $3 billion from the corporate giant’s books in the aftermath of its merger. As of August, the company had some $55 billion in debt on its books.

Licht signaled layoffs were imminent in a memo to staffers in late October, telling workers that the internal shakeup would “accelerate” by the end of the year. At the time, the CNN president asserted the cuts were necessary to prepare the network for worsening macroeconomic conditions.

“There is widespread concern over the global economic outlook, and we must factor that risk into our long-term planning,” Licht said.  “All this together will mean noticeable change to this organization. That, by definition, is unsettling. These changes will not be easy because they will affect people, budgets, and projects.”

“When we emerge on the other side, CNN will be a stronger, more nimble organization, ready to weather whatever the global economy throws at us and to grow into the future,” Licht added in the October memo.

Earlier this month, CNN staffers reportedly grilled Licht about his cost-cutting plan during a tense town hall meeting. A CNN source told Fox News there were “huge nerves” about the round of cuts.

Licht also pushed back on the assertion that Zaslav was dictating changes at CNN, where Licht is steering the network toward fact-based, non-partisan coverage.

“I own the vision for this place,” Licht said. “I did not take this job to take dictation from anybody.”

This is a breaking story. Check back for updates.


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Tyler Cowan