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Revolving Door

CNN’s ‘Unguarded’ Canceled

nicholsAs part of the cuts at CNN, “Unguarded” has been canceled, TVNewser has learned.

Host Rachel Nichols (right) will continue on with CNN as sole sports anchor for the network and host the occasional special as well as continuing her role with Turner Sports. It’s not known how many staffers have been cut as a result of the cancellation. The half-hour Friday night sports show never caught on with CNN viewers since its debut in October, 2013.

CNN is trimming its staff by about 8% or roughly 300 positions. Following voluntary buyouts, a round of layoffs began yesterday. HLN’s Jane Velez Mitchell and her staff were let go, as were about two dozen positions in the Washington Bureau.

NABJ Concerned Over CNN Cuts

DariusWalkerCNNA week after the National Association of Black Journalists expressed its concern “about the atmosphere for African Americans at CNN,” the network has laid off one of its highest-profile black executives.

Darius Walker, (right) an 18-year CNN veteran, is among the hundreds of employees cut as the network trims its workforce. Walker was a VP and the Northeast Bureau Chief based in New York.

NABJ president Bob Butler said its examination, even before the cuts, found “only two African American executive producers” at CNN.

“I’m shaking my head,” Butler told us by phone Tuesday, saying he’s heard from several NABJ members who were among the 170 laid off.

“When you talk to people there, we hear, ‘yeah, we’ve hired your members.’ But it’s about more than that. It’s about them getting some kind of meaningful job and getting promoted.”

Butler expressed his concerns during a meeting with CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker last year. He says he’ll continue to press the NABJ case at CNN and other news networks.

“I find it hard to believe that in 2014 that this network, or any other network, can’t find qualified candidates of color. I find it hard to believe. That’s an excuse.”

Jane Velez Mitchell Show Canceled

JaneDon2Breaking: Jane Velez Mitchell‘s nightly HLN show has been canceled, part of deep cuts at CNN today. Velez Mitchell will be leaving the network, as will the staff of the show. In all about 15 HLN employees, we’ve learned.

Velez Mitchell was a contributor to the network even before she got her own show which launched 6 years ago this week. Velez Mitchell was thrust onto the HLN schedule Oct. 17, 2008, when Glenn Beck abruptly departed for Fox News Channel.

As it turns out, Velez Mitchell’s final episode last night finished as the No. 1 HLN primetime show in the demo, even beating Chris Matthews on MSNBC. “Forensic Files” will air at 7pmET tonight.

Layoffs at CNN Begin

CNNLogo_11.24Layoffs have begun at CNN.

As many as 300, or 8%, of CNN’s workforce is being cut in Atlanta, Washington, D.C., New York and Los Angeles. About 130 staffers have taken a voluntary buyout, other open positions are not being filled. The remainder, about 170 positions, are the result of layoffs which are happening today and tomorrow.

One of the most high profile departures is Darius Walker, VP and Northeast Bureau Chief based in New York. Walker has been with CNN since 1996, beginning as a senior editor on the international desk in Atlanta. He’s also had stints in the Washington bureau and at CNNfn.

We hear up to 28 jobs are being cut in Washington, D.C., many are news-gathering positions.

The CNN entertainment unit is also being disbanded and staffers in New York, Atlanta and Los Angeles are departing. (Correspondent Nischelle Turner left the network last week for “Entertainment Tonight.”)

Mashable reports Christiane Amanpour‘s New York-based staff has also been cut.

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

CNN is just one of the Turner networks facing cuts that are part of CEO John Martin’s goal to create what he describes as a more “streamlined, nimble and efficient company.”


More: Jane Velez Mitchell‘s HLN show has been canceled. All staff will be departing.

Lisa Desjardins Joins ‘NewsHour’

LisaDesjardinsLisa Desjardins, a former Capitol Hill correspondent with CNN, who produced the best exit video in recent memory, is joining PBS NewsHour as Politics Reporter and Editor. And she produced an equally awesome new job video.

Desjardins, who starts Monday, was laid off from CNN in August after 9 years with the network. She worked first with CNN Radio and later CNN TV. Before CNN, Desjardins reported for the AP, Reuters and WIS-TV in Columbia, SC.

“Lisa is a talented and deeply-sourced political reporter with experience in television, both on and off air, radio, digital and print,” writes PBS Newshour EP Sara Just in a note to staff.


Turner to Cut 10% of Workforce

cnn304As part of Turner 2020, the cost-cutting and reorganization plan announced earlier this year, the parent company of CNN, HLN, TBS and others, just announced it plans to cut 1,475 jobs.

The cuts, first announced in August, will come from across the company’s networks and corporate functions and will include layoffs, buyouts and unfilled positions. Turner says it will also add 150 new jobs.

“Employees whose positions are directly impacted will be advised over the next two weeks and will be offered severance pay for transition,” CEO John Martin writes in a note to staff.

Turner Broadcasting was founded in Atlanta by Ted Turner in 1970. Turner merged his company with Time Warner in 1996. Atlanta will continue to house the largest employee base, currently at 5,500 full-time employees.

Read Martin’s note after the jump…

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Layoffs at the Weather Channel

the-weather-channel304x200TVNewser hears as many as 40 staffers were cut at Atlanta-based Weather Channel today.

Most come from the product and technology group which was created in July as part of a larger reorganization at the company. “That effort to find the ideal structure to best position this team for future growth concluded today and did result in the elimination of some positions,” Weather Channel spokesperson Shirley Powell says.

Bloomberg recently reported that two of the three owners of the Weather Channel — private equity firms Blackstone Group and Bain Capital — may be looking to sell their interest. The third owner is NBCUniversal. The three acquired Weather in 2008.

News of cuts at Weather Channel come on the same day the New York Times looks to cut 100 newsroom jobs.

NBC’s Katy Tur Named London Correspondent

KatyTurKaty Tur has been named a correspondent for NBC News London. We hear the announcement was made this morning by NBC News president Deborah Turness during a visit to the London bureau.

Tur has been with NBC for 5 years, starting at the Weather Channel, then reporting for WNBC in New York before joining NBC News as a correspondent in 2012. Tur has TV news in the genes. Her father Bob Tur is a former local news chopper pilot in Los Angeles and her mother, Marika Gerrard, was a news photographer, who captured the iconic Reginald Denny footage during the 1992 LA riots. The couple co-founded Los Angeles News Service.

Turness also announced that longtime NBC News producer Paul Nassar has been promoted to London Bureau Manager, tasked with overseeing day-to-day editorial operations.

Roxanna Sherwood Named EP of ‘Nightline’

SherwoodRoxannaRoxanna Sherwood has been named executive producer of “Nightline.”

It’s an internal move. Sherwood, a 19-year ABC News veteran, was most recently a senior producer on “20/20.” “Whether delving into major investigations, traveling to all corners of the world, or covering big entertainment stories, Roxanna is a superb storyteller,” writes ABC News president James Goldston in a note to staff. Like Goldston, Sherwood was part of the relaunch of “Nightline” in 2005.

Sherwood’s move is the last in a series of recent executive producer changes at ABC News. She replaces Almin Karamehmedovic, on “Nightline” following Karamehmedocvic’s move to “World News Tonight,” which followed Michael Corn‘s move to “Good Morning America.” At “GMA” Corn replaced  Tom Cibrowski who was promoted to senior VP of programs, newsgathering and special events.

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Andy Lack Leaving Bloomberg for U.S. Government Media Agency

Andy Lack, BloombergAndy Lack, the chairman of the Bloomberg Media Group, is leaving the company and has been named the first CEO of all U.S. government funded international media.

Lack was tapped by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio and TV Martí and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks. A new agency which would replace the BBG recently passed by the House of Representatives but still needs to clear the Senate.

Lack has been with Bloomberg Media since 2008. Before that he was chairman and CEO of Sony Music. Earlier in his career, Lack was a producer for “60 Minutes,” and head of “CBS Reports.” He moved to NBC where, from 1993-2001, he was president of NBC News, and, later, president and COO of NBC.

Rick Stengel, the former managing editor of TIME, now Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, says Lack is “the perfect person – and I really mean the perfect person – to be this organization’s first CEO.”