Warner Bros.’ television division cuts 25% of its workforce.
By Vic Medina | Published
The merger between Warner Bros. and Discovery are once again driving major cuts at the newly formed media giant. According Deadline, the new cuts are coming to Warner’s television division, which will see more than 25% of its workforce laid off this week. It’s the latest killer, cost-cutting move from Warner Bros.’ new CEO. Discovery (WBD), David Zaslav, who previously pledged to cut the conglomerate by $3 billion.
Warner Bros. Television president Channing Dungey made the announcement in an email to staffers on Tuesday afternoon. “I write to you with sad news and a heavy heart,” she wrote. “Some of our valued colleagues will be leaving the company due to restructuring and realignment within our group… This was strictly a business decision, made in the most thoughtful and thoughtful way. sympathy as possible by the management of the studio.”
While Warner Bros. TV cuts. will include some reshuffling of department heads, Deadline reported that many of the job cuts (about 125 jobs in total) will come from lower positions, employees who could ill afford to lose their jobs right now. WBD will also completely shut down a production arm that creates digital content (Stage 13) and the Warner Bros. Television Workshop, which worked to find, mentor and develop diverse minority talent.
Warner Bros. Television will also combine the responsibilities of multiple departments into one department to streamline costs, while moving away from broadcast TV content and focusing its efforts on streaming content.
The cuts will come from Warner Bros. Animation, Scripted TV and Unscripted TV divisions. Despite record profits and a streaming video boom — including the launch of HBO Max — Zaslav seems determined to shrink the very divisions his new conglomerate will need most: the parts of the business that create content. He also cut a number of individual projects, including TV and film projects that were already in production, including the film bat girlthe DC movie that was almost done and was supposed to be released on HBO Max.
Although it has already spent $90 million on production, bat girl will never be released in any way, despite the appeal of being a DC movie starring Michael Keaton reprising his iconic Batman/Bruce Wayne role. Instead, Warner Bros. Discovery will take a tax deduction, which will likely be far less than the income it would have earned from a release. However, other reports refer to the cancellation of bat girl was also motivated by the realization by studio executives that the film was “unwatchable” and should not be released.
In August, HBO and HBO Max suffered their own round of cuts, laying off around 14% of their total staff. Many anime shows and series were shelved in the process, and a number of anime series were removed from the HBO Max streaming service, ostensibly to avoid paying residuals. Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios will also combine their creative teams, to cut costs.
The layoffs are the latest move to save a merger that seemed like a dream couple: TV giant Discovery (home to the Discovery Channel, Food Network and HGTV) and WarnerMedia (home to the film and TV divisions of Warner Bros. , as well as like HBO). The merger plans were first announced in May 2021, but since becoming official on April 8, 2022, it has turned into an absolute economic and public relations disaster. Zaslav has implemented a series of cost-cutting measures since taking over the new media giant, in an effort to satisfy shareholders.
Rather than bolster the company, however, the decisions angered TV and movie fans, and Warner Bros. Discovery lost nearly $20 billion in a few months, going from a total value of $49.5 billion in April to a value of $31. billion this summer.