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As part of a corporate restructuring, more than 100 CNN employees have left the company through voluntary buyouts, according to recent reports.
CNN, which is a division of AT&T’s WarnerMedia, said that despite some initial reports that the employees were being laid off, all separations were voluntary, Deadline reported.
There's a rumor making the rounds today about big impending layoffs at CNN. A CNN spokeswoman is knocking it down on the record: "No layoffs." There WERE voluntary buyouts throughout the organization, and about 100 people opted for it.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) May 6, 2019
The reported buyouts come as AT&T is looking at all of its operations, including HBO and Turner Broadcasting, to restructure operations and reduce its net debt, which stood at $170 billion at the close of 2018.
Some of the changes impacted Jeff Zucker, the president of CNN, who also became chairman of WarnerMedia News & Sports after the head of Turner, David Levy, stepped down after 32 years.
Some suggested the buyouts were not the end of the story.
The website FTV published unattributed and unconfirmed speculation that by the time all of the departures are done, CNN will have shed 300 employees, with an estimated 200 of those departures to come from layoffs.
A CNN spox tells me there are no layoffs at the network, but more than 100 staffers took part in a voluntary buyout program https://t.co/Z6bie8WPgi
— Aidan McLaughlin (@aidnmclaughlin) May 6, 2019
CNN is also transitioning its broadcast headquarters from the Time Warner Center in midtown Manhattan to WarnerMedia headquarters at the Hudson Yards complex on Manhattan’s West Side.
— Javi Morgado (@javimorgado) May 6, 2019
The employee reductions come as CNN suffered a poor ratings month in April, Forbes reported.
April’s prime time ratings were down 26 percent compared to April 2018. Overall, it was the network’s lowest-rated month in terms of total viewers since October 2015.
CNN’s “Cuomo Primetime,” which often led CNN’s shows in the ratings, averaged an April audience of 917,000 viewers, its worst showing ever.
Although the show was CNN’s highest-rated show for the month, it only made it to 26th place overall in the ratings.
The ratings showed that among viewers aged 25-54, CNN had a 41 percent decline from April 2018. CNN drew 198,000 viewers in the 25-54 age range, behind MSNBC at 255,000 and category-leading Fox News at 389,000.