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

Another wave of Warner Bros Discovery layoffs after the merger coming.

We hear several divisions of the merged company will be affected, including Warner Bros. Television Group considered as a main goal. The staff reductions are expected this week, as early as Tuesday. Speculation about the pending cut began to spread like wildfire on Monday morning. Reps for WBD and WBTVG declined comment.

The number of layoffs is unclear, but it appears to be significant. The HBO/HBO Max programming operation in August dismissed 14% of staff – about 70 people – the vast majority of them on the Max side, with the areas of Max Non-Fiction Originals, International, Acquisitions, Casting and Live-Action Family Originals the hardest hit.

As with HBO/HBO Max, the WBTVG cuts are expected to be accompanied by structural changes spearheaded by chairman Channing Dungey.

Another round of WBD layoffs was expected this fall, as the goal has been to have the cuts completed by the start of the holiday season, so this is not a surprise.

“Everybody got financial targets during Q4,” a company insider told Deadline. “Those targets include head counts, and October was always the expectation for the ax to fall.”

Content-wise, the most significant overlap between Discovery and WarnerMedia is in the unscripted TV space, so there were rumors of potential further cuts beyond the HBO Max layoffs. WBD’s unscripted studio company, part of Warner Bros. TV Group, run by Mike Darnell, who has been president of Warner Bros. Unscripted and Alternative Television since he joined in 2013. We hear the veteran reality exec is likely to stay at the studio , which runs three companies that could undergo some form 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 closed a few years ago, with former boss 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 Bachelorjust resigned and is leaving the company. David McGuire heads current programming and oversees development at Telepictures with Lisa Shannon and Dan Peirson running development and programming at Shed Media.

Other areas rumored to be potentially affected include television animation following HBO Max’s recent decision to cut back on the genre, which triggered the cancellation of several Warner Bros.-produced series. On the live-action side, Warner Bros. is preparing TV itself on the impact of the CW’s changing ownership, which is expected to significantly reduce the studio’s output to the network.

In addition to WBTVG, WBD Streaming Marketing and wider IT operations are rumored to be affected.

The latest big layoffs hit Warner Bros.’ production divisions came in 2020, when 600 employees at then-AT&T-owned WarnerMedia were affected, a significant number of them at Warner Bros Entertainment. Along with the cuts, Warner Bros. Television and Warner Horizon Scripted TV combined. There was also consolidation on the unscripted side under Darnell, resulting in a number of layoffs. All of this happened before Dungey took over Warner Bros. Television Group as chairman of the board and succeeded Peter Roth. The studio comes with big Emmy wins for Ted Lasso and Abbott Elementary.

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

The pending layoffs are part of WBD management’s pledge to find at least $3 billion in savings. The process started 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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