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CNN Announces New Programming Plan, And Elon Musk Is On Board

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


CNN is making major changes in the network and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has taken notice.

CNN’s new chief executive Chris Licht, who took over after CNN merged with Warner Bros./Discovery, appears to have a new plan going forward.

According to a New York Times report, Licht wants the cable news giant to focus more on “nuance” rather than “hype.”

“A month into his tenure as the new leader of CNN, Chris Licht is changing the news network from the Jeff Zucker days, encouraging less hype and more nuance. Some at the network are skeptical,” The New York Times tweeted.

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“CNN’s ubiquitous ‘Breaking News’ banner is gone, now reserved for instances of truly urgent events,” the NYT reported. “Snarky onscreen captions … are discouraged. Political shows are trying to book more conservative voices, and producers have been urged to ignore Twitter backlash from the far right and the far left.”

But while those inside the network may have their doubts, Elon Musk appears to believe it’s worth a shot.

CNN is undergoing a major shake-up of programming and personalities amid its tanking ratings.

A report from TVNewser reveals that Warner Bros. Discovery has begun laying off staffers less than a month after pulling the plug on CNN’s failed streaming service.

“It is unclear how many people are affected in total, but approximately 23 staffers in CNN’s Hudson Yards offices were told today that their positions were being eliminated, according to a source. Another source confirmed that layoffs had occurred, but noted that the company is still trying to place those impacted CNN+ staffers in other positions around CNN and Warner Bros. Discovery,” TVNewser reported.

Licht said in an internal memo that “all CNN+ employees will continue to be paid and receive benefits for the next 90 days to explore opportunities at CNN, CNN Digital, and elsewhere in the Warner Bros. Discovery family.”

“Staffers who aren’t absorbed in the new Warner Bros. Discovery will receive a minimum of six months of severance, Licht told CNN staffers at a separate town hall,” TVNewser reported.

“Last month, Warner Bros. Discovery shut down the highly-publicized subscription-based streaming news service CNN+, less than a month after it launched. That decision came less than two weeks after WarnerMedia and Discovery formally merged. Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav has pledged to find $3 billion in cost savings, raising the likelihood of significant layoffs as the companies combine,” the report added.

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It was reported earlier this year that, “Discovery chief David Zaslav – who is widely expected to assume stewardship of CNN after its merger with WarnerMedia is complete – has kept his public comments on the failing news network close [to] the vest.”

“But according to Jon Nicosia – former Mediaite and IJR managing editor (and former breaking news editor at the DC Examiner) – CNN is going to revert to a 100% news channel, and a “good number” of CNN’s “talent/staff” will be fired as part of a major shakeup,” the report added.

In addition to that bad news, Chris Wallace’s now-defunct CNN+ show is reportedly headed to HBO Max.

“Chris Wallace will get a second chance for his interview show after CNN+ was pulled off the air, with the series reportedly moving to HBO Max. Wallace’s show Who’s Talking To Chris Wallace will move to the HBO streaming service, where new owners Warner Bros. Discovery are focusing their cord-cutting investments,” the Daily Mail reported.

“Meanwhile, the fate of other talent recruited for CNN+ remains up in the air, including food-media star Roman, former NPR host Audie Cornish, ex-NBC News host Kasie Hunt, and sports commentators Jemele Hill and Rex Chapman. Monday marked the first official workday for new CNN boss Chris Licht, who suggested he will move the network away from opinion-led shows that have dominated over the last few years,” the report added.

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After investing $300 million in the failed streaming service, CNN+ shut down within weeks of its launch date.

CNN+ is facing extreme cuts and reviews by incoming corporate parent Warner Bros. Discovery after it was a total disaster.

The new owners are reportedly not happy with the Chris Wallace-led streaming service, suspended all external marketing spending for CNN+, and laid off CNN’s longtime chief financial officer.

The new owners at Discovery have replaced CNN CFO Brad Ferrer with Neil Chugani, Discovery’s current CFO for streaming and international.

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Sources say corporate parent Warner Bros. Discovery executives are planning to dramatically shift the network’s primetime shows back to hard news and away from partisan politics.

The new bosses are aiming to spend money in order to get the cable news side back to straight news reporting.

They are essentially abandoning the streaming service, which leaves Wallace holding the bag and potentially without a show to host.

CNN executives initially wanted to have 2 million subscribers for the streaming service in the first year, but only managed to get around 150,000 subscribers.

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