Warner Bros. Discovery braces for another round of layoffs this week – Deadline

Another wave of Warner Bros. Discovery post-merger layoffs is coming.

We hear that multiple divisions of the combined company will be affected, with Warner Bros. Television Group considered a primary target. The workforce reductions are expected this week, as early as (and likely) Tuesday. Speculation about the impending downsizing began to spread like wildfire on Monday morning. Representatives for WBD and WBTVG declined to comment.

The number of layoffs is unclear but appears to be substantial. The HBO/HBO Max programming operation in August laid off 14% of the staff – around 70 people – the vast majority of them on the Max side, with the Max Non-Fiction Originals, International, Acquisitions, Casting and Live- Action Family The originals are the most affected.

As with HBO/HBO Max, the WBTVG cuts are expected to come with structural changes led by Chairman Channing Dungey.

Another round of WBD layoffs was expected in the fall, as the goal was to have the cuts completed before the holiday season started, so that’s no surprise.

“Everyone has been given financial goals for the fourth quarter,” a company insider told Deadline. “Those goals include the number of people, and October has always been the wait for the ax to fall.”

When it comes to content, the biggest overlap between Discovery and WarnerMedia is in the area of ​​unscripted TV, so potential further cuts beyond the HBO Max layoffs had been announced. WBD’s unscripted studio venture, part of Warner Bros. TV Group, is led by Mike Darnell, who is chairman of Warner Bros. Unscripted and Alternative Television since joining in 2013. We hear the veteran reality executive will likely stay at the studio. , which operates three companies that could undergo some sort of consolidation, Warner Horizon Unscripted Television, Telepictures and Shed Media. (The Discovery side essentially doesn’t have a production side, other than its stake in British production group All3Media. Discovery Studios was shut down a few years ago with former head Sandy Varo Jarrell now running All3Media label Bright Spot.)

Brooke Karzen, head of development and programming for Warner Horizon Unscripted Television, which makes shows such as The single person, has just resigned and is leaving the company. David McGuire leads current programming and oversees development at Telepictures with Lisa Shannon and Dan Peirson leading development and programming at Shed Media.

Other areas likely to be affected include television animation following HBO Max’s recent decision to scale back the genre, triggering the cancellation of several Warner Bros. produced series. On the live-action side, Warner Bros. TV is preparing for the impact of the CW’s change in ownership, which is expected to significantly reduce the studio’s output for the network.

Beyond WBTVG, WBD Streaming Marketing and broader IT operations would be affected.

The most recent major layoffs to hit Warner Bros. the production divisions arrived in 2020 when 600 employees of WarnerMedia, then owned by AT&T, were affected, including a significant portion at Warner Bros. Entertainment. Along with the cuts, Warner Bros. Television and Warner Horizon Scripted TV were combined. There has also been a consolidation on the unscripted side under Darnell, resulting in a number of layoffs. This all happened before Dungey took over Warner Bros. Television Group as chairman, succeeding Peter Roth. The studio is coming off some big Emmy wins for Ted Lasso and Primary Abbott.

Warner Bros.’ film studio also has new faces in Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy. Rumor has it that theatrical distribution and marketing would not be significantly affected; the studio has 14 theatrical releases next year.

The ongoing layoffs are part of WBD executives’ commitment to find at least $3 billion in savings. The process began with several high-profile executive departures, led by WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar and like Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff in the first three months after the Discovery-WarnerMedia merger was completed. .

Dominic Patten and Anthony D’Alessandro contributed to this report.

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