×

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.

More TV

  • Tiger King

    'Tiger King': Where Everyone in the Series Is Now

    (Warning: Spoilers ahead. Do not watch if you haven’t seen all seven episodes of Netflix’s “Tiger King.”) Like a stealthy tiger padding through the jungle, no one saw Netflix’s “Tiger King” coming until it was too late to un-see the questionable conditions the animals were kept in, and the questionable taste in tattoos of nearly [...]

  • Jameela Jamil attends the NBC and

    Jameela Jamil Admits She Could Have Picked a Better Time to Come Out as Queer

    Jameela Jamil isn’t interested in being perfect.  “Sometimes, I do f— up, but I always apologize when I’ve gotten it wrong,” she told said in a candid interview on “Variety Live,” which streams via Variety’s Instagram account. “I learn, and other people learn with me.”  And she definitely isn’t afraid to back down from a [...]

  • THE BLACKLIST -- "Cornelius Ruck (#155)"

    'The Blacklist' Bosses on 'Clue' Inspiration for Standalone Whodunnit Episode

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Cornelius Ruck (No. 155),” the 12th episode of “The Blacklist” Season . Viewers that needed a bit of a respite from the real world on Friday night probably embraced the light-hearted nature of “The Blacklist’s” “Cornelius Ruck” episode, a concluding installment to the previous week’s [...]

  • APA Logo

    APA Sets Salary Cuts and Furloughs in Wake of Covid-19 Pandemic

    Following in the steps of several agencies dealing with the coronavirus, APA has informed all offices of upcoming salary cuts along with possible suspensions and furloughs for employees due to the pandemic’s economic effect on the industry. APA board of directors will make the largest financial sacrifice. The move has been made to avoid layoffs [...]

  • SAG-AFTRA HQ

    DGA, SAG-AFTRA, WGA Scramble to Keep Residuals Flowing During Coronavirus Pandemic

    Hollywood’s creative guilds have been working overtime to keep residual checks going out to members during the coronavirus crisis. Even though most of the staff members of the Directors Guild of America, SAG-AFTRA and the Writers Guild of America West have been working remotely, the guilds have stepped up efforts to maintain the flow of [...]

  • Steven Universe Series Finale

    The Radical Empathy of 'Steven Universe' (Column)

    The last epic battle of “Steven Universe” isn’t one between friends and foes, but between Steven Universe and himself. After six years and nearly 200 episodes, both the show and character took the time to ask themselves some crucial, existential questions: What happens to a hero after they’ve already saved the day? Who is Steven [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content