Turner Broadcasting to Cut 10% of Staff


Turner Broadcasting, the parent company of some of the nation’s best-known cable TV networks, will  cut nearly 1,500 jobs or 10% of its 14,000- person work force as part of a broader move by parent company Time Warner to streamline operating costs.

In a statement, Turner said approximately 1,475 positions will be eliminated through a mix of buyouts, layoffs and elimination of unfilled slots. Approximately 300 jobs will be eliminated at CNN, or 8.5% of its staff, according to a report posted on the cable-news outlet’s CNNMoney. Turner also operates TNT, TBS, TruTV, HLN and Cartoon Network, among other holdings.

The cuts “will come at all levels from across the company’s news, entertainment, kids, young adult and sports networks and businesses, as well as corporate functions, in 18 Turner locations around the world,” the company said in a statement. In 2013, Turner was responsible for the bulk of Time Warner’s operating income – about $3.5 billion, compared with around $1.8 billion from HBO and about $1.3 billion from Warner Bros.

Turner Broadcasting has been under the scrutiny of Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes for months. In April, Bewkes told investors that performance at outlets like TNT and TruTV had experienced “a significant drop-off” and that TNT had “lost ground with younger viewers” because its programming was not as edgy as fare that has turned up regularly on competing outlets such as FX and AMC.

Since that time, Turner has lost two of its top programming executives, Steve Koonin and Michael Wright. Koonin left to run the Atlanta Hawks while Wright has taken over the chief executive position at DreamWorks Studios.

Time Warner has also moved to reduce headcount at its Warner Bros. studio. The company has been under some pressure to demonstrate growth prospects in the wake of an unsolicited bid by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox. Murdoch said in August he would abandon his efforts to buy Time Warner for $80 billion, a move that sent Time Warner shares soaring when first made public in the summer, then had them settle back down to earth.

Turner has made a number of moves aimed at adding spark to its holdings. Under Jeff Zucker, CNN has charted a course of adding more nonfiction programming to primetime that is not based on current events, while sister network HLN is attempting to tie its shows more closely to topics trending in social media. Time Warner had mulled a deal that would give upstart outlet Vice Media some say over HLN programming before scuttling the idea.

At its entertainment networks, Turner secured a nine-year renewal of its deal with the National Basketball League Monday and in May renewed its deal with TBS late-night host Conan O’Brien.

In coming days, Turner is expected to name Kevin Reilly, the former programming chief at 21st Century Fox’s Fox Broadcasting, to oversee the content efforts at its entertainment networks. It is not clear whether Reilly will report to David Levy, president of Turner Broadcasting or if he will report directly to John K. Martin, the unit’s chief executive, though that has likely been a significant part of the discussions.

Turner said employees whose positions are directly impacted would be advised over the next two weeks and offered severance pay for transition.

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  1. mary says:

    I love my TNT and TBS and turner movie classics and hln and cartoon network and I wish there put it back on TV because this is my favorite channels to watch so plz bring it back on dish TV thank you

  2. Oh, look! Here’s something worth noting from the NYT 10/3/2014:
    “And despite its challenges, CNN earns hundreds of millions of dollars and is on track to have its most profitable year ever, network executives said, though analysts forecast a falling growth rate.”

    Don’t be suckers. Organize!

  3. Paul says:

    “Streamline operating costs” means respond to declining demand.

  4. Realist says:

    How sad for the people who lose their jobs. I wonder if everyone took a 10% reduction in pay, if everyone could keep their jobs? Of course with the cost of benefits and insurances, the reduction is likely needed around 20%. Good luck finding a job in this economy. Fortune 500 are booming (offshore that is).

  5. Gas Passer says:

    Cut Baby Cut!!! I’m glad to see the news media get cut like the rest of the American population!

  6. Bill Wilson says:

    Yeah, that’s a shame. Boo-hoo. I wonder who they vote for?

  7. Jeff Sherman says:

    Starting to think the only viewership CNN enjoys are airport televisions, where you’re forced to watch it.

    • Bill Wilson says:

      Good point. Even then, it’s disappearing; everybody waiting at the gates is staring at their phones or laptops, not looking for a TV on the wall praising democRats.

  8. TimC says:

    Mainstream Media is Dieing. Alternative Media IS the New Mainstream.
    If you want to be brainwashed by the state run TV, by all means continue. Those who know what is going on in the world watch Alternative News and site linkers like The Drudge Report.

    Infowars has now surpassed viewership over most television state run news organization. And they are internet based.

  9. Gee cutting another 10% of their viewers.

  10. Mark Cooper says:

    Koonin left to run the Atlanta Hawks, not Braves. Though both teams have separate ownership now, they were once Turner properties.

  11. Malificent says:

    Zucker needs to go. And they need to invest in making CNN better at news gathering not closing the news hole so that we get less news. And when they get rid of Zucker can they please send Wolf Blitzer out too? I’m shocked that Turner has so many employees. Getting rid of 1,500 is a start, but they need to look at their entire corporate structure to determine how to institute economies and efficiencies and quality. Long past due.

  12. GeorgiaYankeesFan says:

    Koonin left for the Atlanta Hawks, not the Braves

  13. Alex says:

    1,500 being laid off and 300 just at CNN? They better not give Zucker a bonus this year…or ever again. I bet everyone at Time Warner now wish Murdoch had bought the place, but then again, how many people do you need to run endless repeats of NCIS, Law & Order and Castle on TNT and TBS.

  14. snailmailtrucker says:

    …. and the liberal morons still think the economy and jobs are improving !

    What a collection of fools !

  15. Bruce says:

    Yet Zucker is still employed at CNN. Go figure.

  16. Todd says:

    Koonin left to run the Atlanta Hawks, not the Braves

  17. Marie says:

    They should have done it a long time ago instead of holding on to a network that is not profitable. You have got to report the news and stop report what benefits your agenda.

  18. Charles Chapel says:

    Exactly how many people does it take to show cartoons all day on cable TV anyway?

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