CNN’s new owners have just dealt a crushing death blow to former Fox News host Chris Wallace and will be shutting down his failed streaming service just one month after it was launched.
The network will cease all operations of CNN Plus on April 30th.
CNN employees were informed of the decision Thursday by incoming CNN CEO Chris Licht.
Andrew Morse, the digital executive who led the launch of CNN+, will leave the company.
CNN executive Alex MacCallum, who had been CNN+’s GM, has been tapped to lead CNN Digital in his place.
Licht said in a statement: “As we become Warner Bros. Discovery, CNN will be strongest as part of WBD’s streaming strategy which envisions news as an important part of a compelling broader offering along with sports, entertainment, and nonfiction content.
“We have therefore made the decision to cease operations of CNN+ and focus our investment on CNN’s core news-gathering operations and in further building CNN Digital.
“This is not a decision about quality; we appreciate all of the work, ambition, and creativity that went into building CNN+, an organization with terrific talent and compelling programming. But our customers and CNN will be best served with a simpler streaming choice,” he said.
— The Verge (@verge) April 21, 2022
— VA Patriot (@VA_Patriot1) April 21, 2022
YIKES: CNN’s new parent company set to shut down #CNNPlus just weeks after rolling it out. Wonder what happens to all the talent they hired for this project. #StreamingWarContinues #Media https://t.co/bgy74Ix7lx
— Stephon Dingle WLKY (@Stephon_Dingle) April 21, 2022
This is the company’s first significant move since completing the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery less than two weeks ago and the experts expect more heads to roll.
CNN host Brian Stelter’s days are reportedly numbered and Jim Acosta is said to be nervous after the new owners said they will take the network in a less partisan direction.
There has been no word on what will happen to the talent hired specifically for CNN+, like Wallace, though reports claim he desperately wants Chris Cuomo’s old spot and he was threatening to leave if he didn’t get it.
Axios reported earlier:
Warner Bros. Discovery has suspended all external marketing spend for CNN+ and has laid off CNN’s longtime chief financial officer as it weighs what to do with the subscription streaming service moving forward, five sources tell Axios.
Why it matters: Inside CNN, executives think the launch has been successful. Discovery executives disagree.
CNN+ has roughly 150,000 subscribers so far.
Warner Bros. Discovery wants to eventually build one giant service around HBO Max.
New leadership has replaced CNN CFO Brad Ferrer with Neil Chugani, Discovery’s current CFO for streaming and international, as part of a broader finance team restructuring.
Other high-level positions at WarnerMedia across different business functions are likely to be eliminated to cut costs and streamline leadership in coming weeks.