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Posts Tagged ‘John Martin’

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.”

Developing…

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

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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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CNN Responds to Reese Schonfeld’s ‘Cratering News Network’ Criticism

ReeceCSPANReese Schonfeld has not been shy in his criticism of CNN, a network he worked for in the 1980s. With the byline ‘Founding CEO of CNN,’ Schonfeld has, for years, written critical pieces for Huffington Post, including one yesterday titled, CNN: The Cratering News Network.

Now, CNN is firing back.

An CNN executive tells TVNewser, “Reese Schonfeld, who didn’t create CNN but happened to work there when it went on the air, hasn’t been involved with CNN since he was let go over 30 years ago. Holding him out as having insight into CNN is like seeking travel advice from someone who still thinks Yugoslavia and East Germany are countries.”

Okay then.

Schonfeld’s most recent piece was about this week’s NLRB decision compelling CNN to rehire 100 people it laid off in 2003. “CNN disagrees with the NLRB decision and we are evaluating our options,” a CNN spokesperson told us Tuesday. As for Schonfeld, author of “Me and Ted Against the World,” he surmises:

It’s time for Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, Turner CEO John Martin, and CNN President Jeff Zucker, to find their way out of this mess, lest they face another buy-out threat from Rupert Murdoch or someone else while their stockholders are still reeling from CNN’s latest screw-up.

Turner Offers Buyouts to Hundreds of Employees; Will Also Seek ‘Additional Reductions in Staffing’

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Breaking: CNN and HLN are beginning a process of offering buyouts to hundreds of employees today. The Turner networks are among those feeling the effects of plan laid out by Turner CEO John Martin in a memo to all employees last week. More specifics came from CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker who told told employees last Tuesday they would hear from their managers about cutbacks. This morning, a note from Turner’s Chief Human Resources Officer arrived. The note, obtained by TVNewser explains that even after buyouts “Turner will also undertake additional reductions in staffing.”

To support the company’s stated focus on programming, monetization and innovation, we are identifying cost savings and shifting capital allocations to high-growth areas where investment will drive growth and profitability. As part of these efforts, we are offering a Voluntary Separation Program to regular status Turner Broadcasting employees on Turner’s U.S. payroll working in the U.S. and who are at least age 55 and have 10 or more years of service as of December 31, 2014, excluding on-air talent and employees covered by a written employment agreement.

Today, employees meeting these eligibility requirements will receive a confidential, personalized email detailing the program, its benefits and deadlines for acceptance, which is strictly voluntary. This enhanced benefit offering is just one vehicle the company is implementing as part of a comprehensive plan. Given the current focus on reducing costs and prioritizing investments to maximize company performance, Turner will also undertake additional reductions in staffing.

We are grateful to the tenured employees whose service and dedication to Turner Broadcasting have made an indelible mark on our business success.

This is all part of Martin’s goal to create a more “streamlined, nimble and efficient company” as part of his “Turner 2020″ plan.

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Jeff Zucker: ‘We Are Going to Do Less and Have to Do It With Less’

JeffZuckerCNNThe Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker shared grim news with some staffers this past week.

On the same day Turner CEO John Martin sent a memo to all Turner Broadcasting employees hinting at layoffs to help create a more “streamlined, nimble and efficient company,” Zucker told employees CNN will be affected.  “We are going to do less and have to do it with less,” he said in a Tuesday morning call with employees. The Journal-Constitution has a partial transcript.

“We now have a sense of what Turner is expecting from CNN. I am working with the senior management team at CNN to figure out what this means for us. This will result in changes and what we do and what we stop doing.  We need to continue to protect what we’ve been doing so brilliantly for the last few months. We need to have the ability to do what we’ve been doing. On the other hand, we are faced with reality, we are going to have to do what we do with less. As a result, that means there will be changes. No final decisions have been made. I will be meeting with senior management of CNN. You will hear from your manager in the next week or so.”

Zucker will certainly want to protect CNN’s investment in original series and documentaries; the type of programming he’s gone all in on since taking the reins last year. Which departments and programming are affected by cuts remains to be seen.

We’ve reached out to CNN on reports of impending layoffs, but haven’t heard back yet.

The Evening Ticker: 2020, Food, Mind…

  • Turner Broadcasting, which includes CNN, is embarking on “Turner 2020.” As explained by CEO John Martin, the goal is “to ensure [Turner] is optimized” against strategic priorities, “reducing spending and maximizing growth and profitability.” CapitalNewYork has more.

  • “Restaurant Startup,” the newest addition to CNBC’S reality lineup, features restaurateur and TV personality Joe Bastianich and chef and restaurant operator Tim Love who vie to invest their own money in restaurant concepts. The first of eight one-hour episodes debuts July 8.

  • NBC News’s Peacock Productions has signed a deal with forensic mind reader Colin Cloud to develop a series. Cloud, the self-proclaimed Sherlock Holmes of entertainment, has left people convinced he can read minds and influence outcomes.

Phil Kent’s Turner Exit Interview: Jeff Zucker ‘Rebuilding’ CNN Fan Base

philip_kentIn an exit interview with Jack Myers, outgoing Turner Broadcasting Chairman Phil Kent credits current CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker with rebuilding the network, which Kent once ran, from 2000-2001. “Jeff brings an expanded vision of the network and it’s still the early stages,” Kent says. “He’s rebuilding the fan base and knows it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

“Jeff believes the role of the network is still to capture the middle, but to do it better. He has re-energized the core of the journalistic force who believe in his leadership. CNN is better today on breaking news [ratings increased with the recent Malaysian aircraft disappearance and Russia's incursion into Ukraine], has hired more producing talent, and expanded the documentary business…

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The Time Warner Ticker: Averill, Cabrera, Lemon

  • CNN anchor Don Lemon will host the 2013 ADCOLOR Awards Sept 19-21, which honor “professionals of color, diversity champions and companies who work together to further diversity and inclusion efforts in the advertising, marketing, media and public relations industries.”

Phil Kent To Step Down as CEO Of Turner Broadcasting, John Martin To Assume Top Role

Phil Kent, John Martin

Breaking: The chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting, Phil Kent, will step down from the CEO role when his contract ends next year, he announced in a memo to staff today.

Time Warner CFO John Martin will take over as CEO of the unit on January 1, 2014, with Kent staying on as chairman for a transition period. Time Warner owns Turner Broadcasting, a unit that includes the CNN networks, TBS, TNT, Turner Sports, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim.

“A dozen years is a long run in a top leadership position, particularly in such a dynamic and fast-changing industry as ours,” Kent wrote in a memo to staff today, obtained by TVNewser. “I’m very proud of Turner’s business results over the past decade. But I’m equally proud of the culture that we have built together to foster creativity, collaboration and risk-taking in the pursuit of excellence.”

Martin, like Kent, will report to Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes.

“John is one of the most capable and strategically-minded executives I know,” Bewkes said in a statement. “As CFO, he led the design and implementation of our financial strategy that has helped Time Warner deliver superior shareholder returns. But he is also a broad and thoughtful business thinker whose inclusive management style and focus on driving the business forward will fit well with the Turner tradition. I have great confidence he will build on the success Phil has achieved to take Turner to even greater heights.”

More below, including Kent’s letter to staff.

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