CNN will cut 90 minutes of CNNi programming that is produced in London, replacing it with a simulcast of CNN’s ratings-challenged U.S. programming “for the time being,” according to the report.
TVNewser, which was started by CNN’s Brian Stelter, reported that “overall headcount will be unchanged” and “some of the London-based jobs will shift to Atlanta.” However, the decision to cut CNN’s London-based operation “is likely to result in dozens of employees losing their jobs,” according to The Guardian.
CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The consolidation of CNNi comes after longtime CNN International executive vice president Tony Maddox accepted a voluntary buyout option to exit the company earlier this month. Over 100 veteran employees have joined Maddox in accepting the deal as CNN seeks to trim headcount.
“It remains to be seen how many of the CNN staffers based in London will move to Atlanta with those jobs,” TVNewser’s A.J. Katz wrote.
Meanwhile, there are plenty of empty desks at CNN’s Atlanta headquarters if London staffers do relocate.
Several members of CNN’s Atlanta-based staff that covers health care found out last week they are getting pink slips despite the network recently calling mass layoffs a "crazy rumor." The decision surprised many staffers who considered the health unit a successful department.
Despite CNN denying that layoffs were imminent back on May 7, some staffers have been fearful since rumors began to circulate.
“There are no mass layoffs at CNN. I have no idea where that crazy rumor came from. We have recently offered a voluntary buyout option for employees, and just over 100 people voluntarily decided to take it. That's it,” executive vice president Allison Gollust told Fox News on May 7. “We have nearly 4,000 people at CNN… and around 100 of them exercised the option for a program that was offered. That's it. Those are the facts.”
The layoff rumors, reported London shakeup and health department pink slips coincide with CNN moving into a posh new facility in the Hudson Yards area on the West Side of Manhattan. The brand-new, state-of-the-art headquarters is part of a luxurious complex that also features condominiums which start at $4.3 million, high-end restaurants and stores such as Cartier, Rolex, Louis Vuitton and Neiman Marcus.
CNN has struggled in the ratings department and is regularly trounced by Fox News and MSNBC among total viewers. During the primetime hours of 8-11 p.m. ET from May 13-19, CNN was the No. 16 most-watched network on basic cable. During the timeframe, CNN averaged only 693,000 viewers compared to Fox News’ average viewership of 2.3 million.