CNN Cancels ‘Crossfire,’ Other Shows in Wake of Turner Cuts

CNN has quietly cancelled “Crossfire,” “Unguarded With Rachel Nichols,” “Sanjay Gupta, M.D.” and “CNN Money” in the wake of cost-cutting by parent company Turner Broadcasting, according to people familiar with the situation.

Turner announced last week that it would eliminate approximately 10% of its 14,000-employee workforce, a number expected to total around 1,475 positions. The move comes as owner Time Warner is under investor scrutiny following its rejection of an unsolicited bid from 21st Century Fox. At an investor meeting held Wednesday, Time Warner executives described plans to invest in CNN’s new spate of original series and documentaries for primetime as well as in increased digital distribution of the cable-news outlet’s content.

“The changes this week are difficult yet necessary,” CNN said in a statement.  “Out of respect for our colleagues directly impacted, we won’t be commenting on specific people or programs.”

In nearly all cases, CNN is ending programs that have not gained much ratings traction, either due to failure to catch on with audiences or because of haphazard scheduling and multiple pre-emptions due to breaking news.

One of the programs affected is “Crossfire,” which has been placed on hiatus two different times in the wake of news coverage.  The four hosts of “Crossfire”  – Newt Gingrich, S.E. Cupp, Stephanie Cutter, and Van Jones –  are expected to remain for the time being as political commentators. Some “Crossfire” staff have already been absorbed by other parts of the network, while the remainder have  been encouraged to apply for open positions within the bureau.

Rachel Nichols will also remain with CNN as the network’s sole sports anchor and maintains the role she has with Turner Sports.

Sanjay Gupta and his team will continue to be involved in breaking news, long-form reporting and documentaries. Elizabeth Cohen,a medical correspondent with the network, will also remain, though the unit that covers medical news at CNN is being restructured, according to the people familiar with the situation.

Christine Romans will continue to serve as CNN’s chief business correspondent and the co-anchor of “Early Start.”

Some U.S. staffers who worked on chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour’s program for CNN Intl. have left the network, though the show – and its staff in London – remain with the network.

At sister network HLN, Jane Velez-Mitchell’s show has been canceled and the anchor will leave that network after a run of about six years.

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